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The Book of the Dead Hardcover – May 30, 2006

432 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestsellers Preston and Child have come up with another gripping, action-packed page-turner in this concluding volume to a trilogy pitting their Holmesian hero, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, against his Mycroft-turned-Moriarty—his younger brother, Diogenes. Picking up shortly after the events of 2005's Dance of Death, the book opens with the arrival of a package of fine dust at the Museum of Natural History; Diogenes has returned the diamonds he stole earlier. Meanwhile, Aloysius is in prison, having been framed for a number of murders. As his friends plot to spring him, his adversary lays the groundwork for a crowning criminal achievement. A mysterious benefactor funds the restoration of an ancient Egyptian tomb at the museum, but the work is beset by the mayhem Preston and Child's readers have come to expect—gory murders and suggestions of the supernatural. This entry, tying up many loose ends from its predecessors, is less likely to work as well for first-time readers, but followers of Aloysius Pendergast's previous exploits will find it a satisfying read with a tantalizing, ominous twist at the end. 10-city author tour. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


James Gale's gravelly voice is ideal for the cinder-lunged Rebus, and he manages somehow to lubricate out some of the harshness for cleaner living characters. Meanwhile, Gale's accents are superb , as he handles a spectrum ranging from overweening English toffee-nose to malicious Edinburgh corner boy. All in all, this narration adds another degree of atmosphere to a novel that is already redolent of the city it sprang from. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446576980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446576987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (432 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

203 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Colin P. Lindsey VINE VOICE on May 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Preston and Child are so much more than the sum of their individual parts when they collaborate. This is so evident yet again in Book of the Dead. This novel finishes with a bang what is an informal trilogy revolving around Aloysius Pendergast and his brother Diogenes. This trilogy is populated with many of their previous characters and protagonists serving in supporting roles to the brothers, and is a very satisfying novel and a truly enjoyable read. How do I know this was a trilogy? One of the best things about this book is a brief two page note from the authors at the very end where they explain in which order to read their works and why.

I have to give one warning though about what is otherwise a terrific book. I'm not a professional reviewer, as are the writers of the two reviews which have already appeared here, but I have to say I disagree with them that this can be truly appreciated as a stand alone novel. If you have not read any of the previous works then do yourself a tremendous favor and take the recommendation of both the authors and myself: go back and start with Relic and work your way forward from there. There is so much pleasurable reading you have missed and there is simply too much going on in this book which, without the knowledge of the previous stories, you will not fully appreciate. So, with that one warning, on to my verdict.

I loved this book. It was everything I could hope for in a denouement and so much more. I, like so many others, have been waiting impatiently for a year for the answers and resolutions to the many apparently insoluble issues and problems created by the authors in their foregoing works.
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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Wiley VINE VOICE on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The board members of the New York Museum of Natural History just don't seem to learn. After experiencing the terrors of THE RELIC and THE RELIQUARY, one would think they would be concerned about reopening the Tomb of Senef, particularly since two men have experienced unexplained neurological damage while working on the project. However, the board is determined to pursue the project to deflect attention from their attempts to cover up the return of their entire stolen diamond collection- returned as diamond grit, that is.

Diogenes Pendergast has put into motion the perfectly orchestrated crime. This crime is an attempt to recreate the work of his ancestor, Comstock Pendergast, and will affect all who enter the Tomb. Nora Kelly, William Smithback, Viola Maskelene, Margo Green, and Constance Greene are all returning characters from previous Preston and Child books and they too are part of Diogenes' diabolic plan.

Meanwhile, former Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is incarcerated at Herkmoor Penitentiary, as part of Diogenes' twisted plan (see DANCE OF DEATH for details). Herkmoor Penitentiary is considered impossible to escape but that is before Eli Glinn employs his agency's technical expertise. Pendergast, Vincent D'Agosta, and Captain Laura Hayward will have to work together yet again to stop Diogenes from wreaking destruction on their friends and the entire city of New York.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child demonstrate once again why they are the masters of this genre. THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is a cleverly crafted thriller with enough twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages well into the night. While the returning characters provide a sense of familiarity, Preston and Child do not sacrifice the plot by any means.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Emanuele Sacchi on November 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
As usual, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child confirm their great ability in writing cool, well-conceived page turners.

In this book in particular, a lot of details about some of the characters are unveiled, and the "Pendergast Trilogy" featuring Aloysius vs. Diogenes finally comes to an end... and what an end!

Apart from the praises for the writing style and action scenes, for the characters and the mood, another point I found particularly strong in this book was the obvious amount of research the authors did. I am Italian, and the small details, for example the streets of Florence, or the cuss exclamation of a Carabiniere, or even the cell number of a bus driver (which uses a correct prefix for an Italian cell phone, no fake "555" number) all prove that they really went into research for the book.

Also, the frequent sentences in Italian are correct and do make sense this time (unlike some of their previous books where the sentences were dictionary-translated and light-years from what a "real" Italian would say).

The only quirk I found was with the audio book itself - while the guy who reads the book has a fantastic voice and a clear, perfect tone, it's also very clear he is not at ease with the Italian language.

Some accents he uses while reading Italian words range from mildly amusing to utterly ludicrous, but then I guess it's something only a native Italian speaker would notice.

All in all, a fantastic book, definitely well worth it!

If you appreciate Preston and Child's novels, don't miss this one, with a single caveat: for maximum enjoyment you will need previous knowledge of facts and characters, so reading the other books (at the very least Brimstone and Dance of Death, ideally quite a few others) is *strongly* advised.
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