At a Glance
Last Updated -When it comes to reading the Pendergast novels in order, having read the whole series so far, I suggest you do read the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child Pendergast books in order of publication, starting with Relic. The reason is that, while most of the stories can stand on their own, there is a continuity involving the characters (especially surrounding the FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast) that you don’t want to miss.
Here are the Pendergast novels in order by the authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
New Pendergast Book
List of the Pendergast Series in Order
- Relic (Pendergast #1), 1995
- Reliquary (Pendergast #2), 1997
- The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast #3), 2002
- Still Life with Crows (Pendergast #4), 2003
- Brimstone, (Pendergast #5, Diogenes #1) 2004
- Dance of Death (Pendergast #6, Diogenes #2), 2005
- The Book of the Dead (Pendergast #7, Diogenes #3), 2007
- The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast #8), 2008
- Cemetery Dance (Pendergast #9), 2009
- Fever Dream (Pendergast #10), 2010
- Cold Vengeance (Pendergast #11), 2011
- Two Graves (Pendergast #12), 2012
- Extraction (Pendergast #12.5), 2012
- White Fire (Pendergast #13), 2013
- Blue Labyrinth (Pendergast #14), 2014
- Crimson Shore (Pendergast #15), 2015
- The Obsidian Chamber (Pendergast #16), 2016
- City of Endless Night (Pendergast #17), 2018
- Verses for the Dead (Pendergast #18), 2018
- Crooked River (Pendergast #19), 2020
The first 3 books in the series, Relic, Reliquary and Cabinet of Curiosities could be included in the New York series due to the fact that they all take place in New York (around the museum) and the characters are also present in each, including one of my favorite earlier characters, William Smithback.
Should we Read the Pendergast Novels in Order?
In the first few books of the Pendergast series, I had the feeling that the authors wanted to make the novels standalone stories, to allow us to read them separately from the rest. However, as various new characters got added in each new book – most of which would feature in subsequent novels as well, it became quite difficult to not want to read the next book in the series just to see what happened with x, y or z character next.
For example, once Constance is thrown in the mix, you will want to know about her (very odd) history, her age, her relationship with Aloysius and his brother, and what is she doing there anyway. In the latest Pendergast books, Constance’s character will be really fleshed-out and well defined.
The more books you read where Constance is included or just mentioned, the easier it will become to learn more about this very interesting and exquisite person and the easier it becomes to feel attached to her and feel compassion for her. She really grew on me over the years. Thankfully Crimson Shore, the 15th Pendergast novel, is all about Constance. And our favorite FBI agent. And did I mention…her? Yay!
Diogenes, his brother, is another of those characters that as evil as he might be, he is nevertheless a very interesting participant in the whole family story. And let’s not forget about Helen, who appears in some later novels, and her story simply continues from there on, even long after she…but I won’t spoil it for you more.
It’s not only about the characters’ backgrounds, but also the relationship that develops and grows over time, where seemingly unrelated small events in the lives of some characters will produce major ripples over time in the lives of others.
Each book reveals a bit more about Aloysius, about Constance, about Diogenes and even about his wife, Helen. While some of the main protagonists might appear in a few books only, they are always there, in the background, with the author revealing bits and pieces about them, allowing us to put a larger puzzle together.
So yes, reading the Pendergast books in order is something I’m glad I did right from the first book I have read many years ago, called Relic. It was the book that got me hooked on the entire series, making it for me one of the most anticipated mystery series every single year.
So, all in all, I highly recommend you read the series in order from the very first one, Relic, and go through the list as shown above. You will be privy to some information and clues that those who read the books out of order will likely miss, along with a lot of back-stories that makes this world as rich and interesting as it is.
Each book flows seamlessly into the next without any interruption and if you read them out of order you might feel the whole story disjointed and let’s face it, much less fascinating.
One of my favorite books in the series is City of Endless Night, available from early 2018. For those who want to start reading this wonderful and addictive thriller series, above is the order of each book to get you started with. The numbering after the book titles denotes the order of the novels.
City of Endless Night starts with the search for Grace Ozmian, the missing daughter of a billionaire who owns DigiFlood in the tech sector. Initially, it is supposed that she simply took off the way she often does, but when a decapitated body is found, things go from bad to much, much worse.
Out beloved Vincent D’Agosta takes the case, and when Aloysius wants to help, Vincent is more than happy with the additional support, especially since diabolical forces are at work here, and probably regular police work will not suffice in solving this case.
This book goes back to the traditional style of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, which I enjoy so much. There are not many recurring characters in this book, however, except for Aloysius and Vincent. Constance and Vincent’s wife only appear briefly.