Date of Publication: 2007, Warner Books
Number of Pages: 385
“FBI Special Agent Pendergast is taking a break from work to take Constance on a whirlwind Grand Tour, hoping to give her closure and a sense of the world that she’s missed. They head to Tibet, where Pendergast intensively trained in martial arts and spiritual studies. At a remote monastery, they learn that a rare and dangerous artifact the monks have been guarding for generations has been mysteriously stolen. As a favor, Pendergast agrees to track and recover the relic. A twisting trail of bloodshed leads Pendergast and Constance to the maiden voyage of the Britannia, the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner—and to an Atlantic crossing fraught with terror. ” ~from Amazon.com
I had been eagerly anticipating this book all year, since I read the last book in the Agent Pendergast series, The Book of the Dead. Although this is obviously not a continuation of the Diogenes trilogy, there are some signs that Diogenes’s evil legacy is alive and well, especially in the fragile character of Constance Greene. She keeps her secret until the very last page of the book, which leaves a very welcome opportunity for another sequel. This book is different from many in this series, as it does not take place in New York City, so many of the regular characters are missing. But, like Still Life With Crows, it remains very much connected to the overall story of Agent Pendergast and stands very well on its own. There is also a further exploration of the mind-bending meditation practices that Pendergast uses, and it becomes the central theme of this book: when you leave your mind open, what evil is allowed to enter? And once it’s there, how can you conquer it?
In the “basics”, this book has intriguing characters, some of whom I hope to see in future novels, and a climax that kept me riveted to each page. The setting on board the Britannia is wonderful and gives an eerie sense of how isolated the characters are. The Wheel of Darkness reads quickly (I read it in two days), which is a shame, because it’s one story you wish would just go on and on. There are many surprises in store, even for readers experiencing the partnership of Preston and Child for the first time. For long-time fans, like myself, this books was a superb introduction to life after Diogenes. The only thing left to do now is wait impatiently for the next one!