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The latest book in the Pendergast thriller series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, The Obsidian Chamber, continues where Crimson Shore ended in its storyline, picking up the thread a few months after the happenings at Exmouth, in Massachusetts.
I need to warn you that there will be spoilers involving Crimson Shore, so make sure to read it before reading this review, unless you don’t care about spoilers.
So Crimson Shore left its readers flummoxed, flabbergasted and utterly confused, not to mention with their hearts up in their throats when the book ended. Pendergast has disappeared, there is no sign of him, and for all intents and purposes he is dead, leaving behind Constance, grieving for her dear lost friend and mentor.
Obsidian Chamber finds Constance back at the Pendergast mansion suffering in quiet contemplation, retreated from the world at large. Initially even eating is done with great effort, but eventually it seems that Constance has come to a major decision about her life. She tells Proctor that she will retreat to the same subterranean chambers below the mansion where she has spent all those previous years in captivity. She needs to grieve in peace and needs her own time to come to grips with what happened with Pendergast.
However things rarely turn out as intended, and shortly after Constance enters her old chambers, some odd things start to happen around her. Somebody is sending her flowers, champagne and all sorts of gifts every time the food is sent down to her. Is Pendergast maybe back? But it can’t be, this is not his style of wowing her. So who is paying her all that attention?
And so we are drawn into a web of weird interactions, a tale of revenge and an old character returning, whom we all thought dead. A long time ago. You know who that is, isn’t it? The hated, despised and loathed brother of Aloysius, Diogenes. The very one who made everyone’s life miserable over so many years, whom we all thought dead after Constance seemingly killed. But just like cats seem to have 9 lives, Diogenes seems to also have a few more that he can use.
This book is loosely split into three threads that intertwine every now and then. First we have Constance and Diogenes’ story, then we have poor Proctor traveling to far away countries in search of someone (and here I am grateful that the authors fleshed out a bit Proctor’s character, which is quite interesting), and then we have someone else coming back from the dead: the very Aloysius Pendergast, our beloved FBI agent who had his own share of adventures trying to come back to his old life.
The Obsidian Chamber is one book in the series where you realize that you have to read the whole Pendergast series in order, otherwise many things won’t make much sense, and above all, won’t make the impact the authors want us to feel when reintroducing a specific character or the other.
While some books in the series have gone a bit ‘soft’, I am happy to discover that the later books have gone back to their original shocking and strange stories, just like the way we were used to in the Relic, Reliquary and Cabinet of Curiosities initial trilogy. Obsidian Chamber is in fact just as dark as those books, although it does have some glimpses of redemption.
I was almost…almost sorry at some point for Diogenes, but the way I know this character and the way I know the authors twisted minds (hehe), I am sure he will be back at some point with some other mischievous tricks up his sleeve.
Beyond The Ice Limit by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
Series: Gideon Crew #4
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Also by this author: White Fire, Extraction, Blue Labyrinth, Crimson Shore, The Obsidian Chamber, The Lost City of the Monkey God, The Third Gate, The Forgotten Room, Full Wolf Moon