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More Preston & Child

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Review, Techno-Thriller
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

More Preston & Child

"Beyond the Ice Limit"Well, they keep putting them out, so I’ll keep reading and reviewing them. I have previously posted about the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I have been enjoying their long-running Pendergast series, and the more recent Gideon Cross. Now they have new novels out in both series.

So, first up is the new Gideon Cross: Beyond the Ice Limit. This one is a sequel to one of Preston & Child’s stand-alone novels, The Ice Limit.

In The Ice Limit we are first introduced to Eli Glinn and his Effective Engineering Solutions. In this 2000 novel, Eli and EES are hired to come up with a plan to remove a huge meteor from an island near Cape Horn, and return it to the U.S., where it will be the showcase for a new museum being built by billionaire Palmer Lloyd. Obtaining the meteor is not without its issues, not the least of which is an Argentinian naval ship pursuing them. Their ship is sunk, taking the meteor to the ocean floor. At which point they figure out the meteor is actually an alien seed and is growing.

This theme was shown in the background of Eli’s several appearances in both the Pendergast series as well as the Cross series. And in Beyond the Ice Limit, they go after the seed to destroy it. Do they succeed, and what about Gideon’s future? Well, clearly they will succeed as Gideon’s world is the world of Agent Pendergast. But how they get there is the real issue.

No word as yet on any future Gideon works.

For the Pendergast series, we have two new novels in the series: Crimson Shore and Obsidian Chamber. I hadn’t noticed, but the last few novels have had titles with color themes: White Fire, then Blue Labyrinth, and now Crimson Shore and Obsidian Chamber. Well, obsidian really isn’t a color, though it used as a synonym for black. Further, these two novels are connected as the first ends on a cliffhanger that is concluded in the second.

Crimson Shore teams up Pendergast and his ward Constance Greene when they travel to a small town in Massachusetts and solve a mystery. A sculptor comes with an issue. Someone has broken into his home and stolen his extensive wine collection, but left a case of very rare wine. A promise of a bottle from it brings Pendergast to solve it.

Soon it turns out to be a much bigger mystery that deals with a missing steamer from the 1800s and leads to two recent murders. Once this is all solved, a more dangerous mystery emerges that is tied to a lost colony of witches from Salem.

It’s set in the fictitious coastal town of Exmouth, which immediately made me think of H.P. Lovecraft‘s Innsmouth. Reading the story shows other links to Lovecraft’s tale. However, as the Pendergast “universe” has no Lovecraftian horrors, it’s done with more realistic elements. As I noted, this story ends on a cliffhanger, with the postscript being repeated as the prologue of the next work.

"The Obsidian Chamber"Obsidian Chamber follows directly. It resolves the cliffhanger, and has the return of a villain I think most thought was dead. Including myself. Pendergast is missing and may be dead. Then someone kidnaps Constance! Proctor, Pendergast’s driver and somewhat butler, comes to the fore here at the beginning, though sadly he’s not the main character in this work (as Corrie Swanson had been in a couple). We learn a bit more about him, which is nice.

We learn more about Pendergast’s brother Diogenes, and more importantly what the “event” was that made him what he is. And his apparently involvement in some past works that we didn’t know about. We learn more about Pendergast’s background and how he became an FBI agent, which is very cool.

And sadly, at the end, Constance decides to move to the Tibetan monastery they had visited back in Wheel of Darkness. Hopefully we’ll see her again.

The next Pendergast novel will be City of Endless Light, ending the “color” titles. Pendergast teams up with Vincent D’Agosta to hunt down a pair of dangerous killers. Almost sounds like a throwback to some of the past adventures, and this should be interesting. Pendergast is in trouble with his FBI bosses (from the last novel), so maybe this will redeem him a bit.

Also in the news is work to create a Pendergast TV series. They had done a movie version of Relic, but had left out Pendergast. Since he was more of a minor character, leaving him out didn’t affect the story. And since he is such a unique character, they would probably have messed him up anyway. So my main worry is a TV show able to capture the uniqueness of Pendergast and not turn him into a poor caricature or a joke. We’ve gotten some info on it, but not sure when it (or if) it will appear.

I always look forward to more works involving Pendergast and Gideon. Check them out if you haven’t already.

One Comment

  1. I really have to stop being lazy, sit my but down and get into the Pendergast series. You and Ron Fortier have been recommending the series for years and I’ve bought a half dozen of the books. But i just stick them in the To Read Pile and forget about them. But the more I hear about the character and the series as a whole, the more intrigued I am.