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The Obsidian Chamber (Agent Pendergast series) Mass Market Paperback – April 25, 2017
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"The latest novel in Preston & Child's Pendergast series picks up from the cliffhanger-ending of CRIMSON SHORE and doesn't let up. The authors keep readers guessing... The crisp writing and exemplary stories are still in abundance in this consistently exciting and never predictable series."―Jeff Ayers, Associated Press
"As any reader of suspense knows, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child write a series of books featuring one of the best characters in the history of suspense literature: Aloysius Pendergast. [THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER is] an excellent story by these two unbelievably talented authors. A page-turner, a deluxe suspense, a perfect mystery--Preston & Child remain the best of the best and never let their huge fan base down!"―Suspense Magazine
"Rivetingly superb ... great fun ... thriller-writing of the highest order. A lavish, brilliantly conceived puzzle that pieces together neo-gothic plotting with splendidly rich tones."―Jon Land, Providence Journal
"Keep[s] the excitement meter pegged ... Action-adventure with a macabre, sometimes-fantastical flair."―Kirkus Reviews
"It's like Christmas for lovers of suspense when the words Preston & Child once again appear on a book cover. It's a truly great Christmas when the main character of that novel is Aloysius X.L. Pendergast. For those who have read these books voraciously, it's not a surprise to learn that this latest tale is one that will keep you riveted until the very end...Preston & Child continue to make these books the absolute best there is in the suspense realm."―Suspense Magazine on Crimson Shore
"New readers will be hooked...Die-hard fans will add this to their must-read lists."―Library Journal (Starred Review) of Crimson Shore - November 2015 LibraryReads Pick
"Fast-moving, sophisticated and bursting with surprises... If you're willing to surrender to Preston and Child's fiendish imaginations, you might devour the Pendergast books the way kids do Halloween candy...There's nothing else like them."―The Washington Post on Blue Labyrinth
"Preston & Child once again bring A.X.L. Pendergast to life and offer up a host of thrills, heart-pumping action, and an intricate plot that pits a vengeful killer against (still) the most interesting character in fiction."―Suspense Magazine on Blue Labyrinth
"These dynamic authors' best thriller to date."―White Fire was one of Library Journal's Top 10 Thrillers of 2013
"The best Pendergast book yet - a collision between past and present that will leave you breathless."―Lee Child on White Fire
About the Author
The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.
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He isn’t the only one to rise from the dead for this farce as the authors dig up Diogenes to make mischief. Forget, if you will, that the last time we saw him, he was shoved into a volcano. He creates a seduction to marry Constance and fabricates a ludicrous ruse to throw Procter off the trail. Pendergast returns from the dead and, with the help of a compatriot from some black ops group of the past, takes pursuit.
That’s the nub of it without spoilers. If you don’t mind them, continue reading. Diogenes stages a false abduction of Constance that has Procter off and running after it, only to be marooned deep in Africa. There, he is stalked by hungry lions so he does the only logical thing. He goes to sleep.
In the meantime, Diogenes persuades Constance to accompany him to a private island in the Florida Keys where they can live happily ever after. The fact that she killed him (or, supposedly did) upon their previous encounter does not make him at all suspicious when she readily agrees to go. Part of his plan is to update the Arcanum that has preserved her youth. To do that, he requires fresh human body parts. To acquire there, he’s established an identity as a doctor which works well because, of course, no hospital or similar institution ever verifies credentials. Right.
The last we saw Pendergast, he was in a life and death struggle with a superhuman creature that took the combatants into the frigid waters of the Atlantic off New England. Hypothermia would claim a healthy specimen in a matter of minutes, much less an exhausted one. But, not so for him. He bobbed around long enough for a ship full of drug runners to fish him out. They hit upon the brilliant plan of contacting the FBI to demand a ransom. And, of course, the depleted Pendergast dispatched the boatload of armed criminals before that concluded. This reunited him with a compatriot from an old special ops unit with a common goal. Diogenes had killed a member of their clan and it was their sworn oath to avenge him in kind.
They track him down, at the expense of the deaths among those in their strike force, and manage to capture him. He is already devastated because Constance had decided to raise his hopes on the island with an ethereal night of sex and then dump him. Like, she couldn’t have done that back at the Pendergast mansion? Diogenes has killed many people, including their fellow agents, so what do they do? Kill him per their oath? Not a chance. Arrest him for his litany of crimes? Child, please. They simply let him go because he’s a “changed man.” Absolutely ludicrous.
In the end, Constance decides to go off and live with monks because Pendergast won’t agree to a relationship with her. Gee, do you think she and Diogenes might reappear in a later book? Oh yes, and Procter shows up on the doorstep encrusted in dried blood (from the lion attack) and caked with mud, as a result of his misadventure. You are to believe that, in his two-day (give or take) journey home, he didn’t encounter one water faucet.
The bottom line is that, instead of crafting fascinating new characters, the authors simply brought some back from the dead and forced them into an unimaginative plot that was simply a pedestrian extension of the beat-to-death sibling rivalry. It has all the earmarks of something that was done for a paycheck, not the art.
That's it... That's all. After the whole book is said and done, this is the biggest development that occurs in the lives of the three romantics. Oh, and a bunch of innocent people die with no justice and we're expected to just say "Oh, that silly Agent".
This is the first review I've written for one of these books, and it should stand for something that I've gone out of my way to finally write one.
From Relic to at *least* Wheel of Darkness, perhaps even Cemetery Dance, the authors could write immersive, thrilling mysteries. Reliquary ruined the NYC subway system for me (but I was excited!). Still Life with Crows ruined cornfields (but I was gleefully unnerved!). They could instill anxiety and fear. Brimstone remains my favorite, and the Diogenes Trilogy generally was a rush, and I couldn't get enough of it. In those three books, Pendergast was pushed by those who were his equals. And yet, he remained graceful, cool, intelligent, never one to rush, perceptive, deducing, and most importantly, interesting. Wheel of Darkness and Cemetery Dance also had their merits, but I was still riding high on the Diogenes Trilogy.
But from Fever Dream to this wretched, pitiful, soulless book, the steady erosion of quality and the maddening changes to characters *scream* that the authors willingly or unwillingly lost control of their books. Pendergast now becomes a bland Jason Bourne style action hero who lost almost all the qualities we most enjoyed, and those around him become their own kinds of action heroes, with the concept of 'compelling storytelling' falling by the wayside. The depth of each successive book from Fever Dream on becomes shallower, and shallower, and shallower, until we stand in the evaporating puddle of The Obsidian Chamber and wonder where it all went.
The absolute worst aspect of this enraging time-waster book The Obsidian Chamber is that almost nothing important happens, except for tasteless drama. There is no real mystery to be solved. There is nothing touching on the supernatural. There is no real anxiety-inducing rush or fearfulness. There is nothing to distinguish this book as a Pendergast book. Honestly, replace the main characters' names with other random names and it will read as a somewhat action-y soap opera episode with no relation whatsoever to the older Pendergast books, with such a horrible use of the 'let my enemy live because maybe he's going to be good now' trope. In the world of literature, this book cannot even be considered to be heavy lifting. All the authors ask of you is to waste your time and money on a story that could be summed up in a paragraph, with absolutely nothing lost. The quality of this story is akin to the quality of online fanfiction, and it is nauseatingly disappointing.
And please don't get me started on this juvenile reliance on colors in titles. White Fire, followed by Blue Labyrinth, followed by Crimson Shore, followed by Obsidian Chamber, and, honest to God, the next book has 'Green' in the title.
If you are a fan of what the Pendergast books once were, and not a shambling Smithback-ian fan plodding along in the hopes of returning to the glory days, or a reader who is not looking for something so simplistic that it can be read in one day without any effort whatsoever, do NOT even consider purchasing this book. Do not contribute one cent to this collapsing book series, only to fill the pockets of who knows who to fund yet more disappointing ventures into a world you once cared so much about.
SPOILER FOLLOWS BELOW (But honestly, I would no doubt be doing you a favor)
If you enjoyed Diogenes as much as I did... Friend, comrade, brother or sister, walk away. Walk away now, and cherish the memories that you have. Hold them close and let not one word of this earth-shatteringly embarrassing display by these authors take that all away from you. At the end of the Dark Tower series, Stephen King warns you. He warns you to read no further, for you may likely not enjoy what you read. He stops you dead in your tracks. Let me be this person for you. Let me stop you, bar the door with my body, scream madly at you to not enter, to not go further, to not read what comes next.
Here I leave you, with one last, hopeful plea: Wait until these authors care enough to write well once more, before giving them any more of your hard-earned money. You worked hard for your money; let the authors work hard for theirs.
Spoiler Alert. How many times in recent novels are we going to bring back people from the dead? Can we not come up with new protagonists. The very thought that Prendergast would release a serial killer (Diogiones) who supposedly is reformed by love and is family ( even though his kills 3 more people) is ridiculous. The epilogue tries to hastily tie all loose ends.