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The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel [Paperback]

Douglas Preston , Lincoln Child
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description


Perched like a black crow on a crag in the most hostile depths of the Himalayas stands a monastery. For a thousand years the monks have kept guard. Now their sanctum has been violated, the secret carried off. After a millennium of hiding from the world, the guardians of the treasure will have to turn to an outsider for help.

Luckily Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is no stranger. Having trained body and mind in Tibet, he knows the land well. But neither he nor his ward, Constance, are prepared for the truth about what the monks have been protecting.

The pursuit of the stolen artefact takes Pendergast and Constance far from the snowy wastes, to where the largest-ever ocean liner is preparing for her maiden voyage. As Pendergast and Constance board, they know they are joined by a cargo of secrets and murderers. As the ship slips into the night, it becomes a deadly race to recover the secret of the monks, or blackness to threaten to fall not just over the ship, but the wider world...

A stunning dance of death and mystery, THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS takes the most unusual investigator around on his most thrilling mission yet...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409136469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409136460
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I just loved it . . . It's suddenly like Sherlock Holmes is having thumpingly good mysterious adventures in the present day with monsters and killers in exotic locales. (Life on Magrs)

Book Description

A breathtaking adventure from the hottest names in US thriller writing.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a bit too far-fetched 2 Aug 2009
The story begins as Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast and his young side-kick, Constance Greene, climb a perilous Himalayan mountain path to an ancient Tibetan monastery where the monks need some help. Their inner sanctum has been violated and a dangerous treasure has been stolen. The artefact must be recovered before it wreaks havoc on the human race.

The trail takes the agents on a maiden voyage cruise aboard the world's newest, biggest ocean liner. The sophistication of the on-board automation both helps and hinders the pair. There are some strong personalities in this story, but the culprit has to be the weakest character. There are a lot of supernatural twists, but they are too transparent.

Reading this is quite frustrating, because I kept hearing myself say, "That could never happen that way, even in fantasy fiction." I like to be able to believe that there is the faintest possibility that some of the strange events could actually happen. I felt this way when I used to read Dennis Wheatley, and this book reminds me a lot of that style of writing; but, Wheatley out-classes Preston and Child by a long way, in my opinion.

Worth a read if you have the time on your hands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful Yet... 17 Feb 2009
This was my first novel by these authors and I approached it with little anticipation and my cool approach was justified by the start which I found more than a little risible. I read about the author's acclaimed research. It appears they use an old atlas, in a hurry, at times - their brief travelogue of England is hilariously wrong.
So there I was, reading a sub-James Bond, badly written 'thriller', prepared to give it another chapter or two before giving up, when it suddenly metapmorphosed into quite an exciting horror story, still appallingly written but a book that I juist had to finish.
The story was more than a little far-fetched, I don't know that much about steering massive ocean going liners but I am pretty sure what the captain did with that boat was impossible! Also, I may have blinked and missed that sentence, but who was the serial killer?
So, dreadful literature, entertaining quick read and I'll probably read some more from the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, if a little far fetched 7 April 2008
By Glaucon
I have a soft spot for Pendergast (the FBI agent hero of the book) and his semi-mystical slant on life and detection. He is a great character if one suspends disbelief at the range and breadth of his extraordinay talents, from card counting to fine art, from physical prowess to lock-picking. His side-kick, Constance, is less enthralling, but who knows may develop in future titles. This novel at times has the feel of a blockbuster disaster movie, but it rattles along quite nicely, as do all P&C novels. A diverting way to spend a wet afternoon or two.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wheel of 'Meh' 9 Sep 2008
I can see what Lincoln & Preston were trying to do with this novel.
They needed to get a different backdrop / setting than the New York History Museum. I have genuinely enjoyed all their novels involving this formidable location, but it was time for something fresh.
They needed to progress Constance Greene, a character that has had 5 novels of varying degrees of development. Whilst at the same time hanging on to their finest creation of Pendergast.

Those, as I see it were their main criteria. But I have to say for the majority, they failed on both accounts.

There are 2 main locations in this book (with a few travel stop offs en route from one to the other). Location A: An ancient Tibetan monastery. For me this just reeked of cliché. Maybe cliché is the wrong word, but this location has been portayed many times before, more often than not as a comedy backdrop. I mean, even Ace Ventura did it! Location B: A groundbreaking ocean liner (parallel to the Titanic). Again this venue seemed to strike me as slightly wishy washy - evocative of a Ruth Rendl whodunit mystery, crossing off suspects from a list of passengers... And for a while the story played out that way aswell. Location B only managed to redeem itself towards the end of the novel when the focus switched to the operations of said liner.

Constance Greene continued to frustrate me. She was the #2 character in the book - the other main character alongside Pendergast. But she continued to whither blandly in the background and did not fulfil this central role effectively. Maybe it is due to the eclipse effect from the main man, but thinking back to previous novels, other main characters pulled it off; D'Agosta managed to punch his weight, as did Nora Kelly, Margo Green etc (hold on...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brill 12 Jun 2013
By Jac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love these books definatley worth a read have been hooked on these ever since I read Relic. Brill Brill Brill!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A climax that sinks like the Titanic. 30 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
On a journey of discovery, FBI Agent Pendergast and his ward, Constance Green, enter a Tibetan monastery for enlightenment yet find the theft of a mysterious artifact that will have them traveling the globe once more to unravel a mystery. The trail leads them to the Britannia, the most luxurious ocean liner in the world about to make its maiden voyage from Britain, bound for New York. But there is a killer on board and madness so severe it could sink the ship in the middle of the freezing Atlantic.

Forget the obvious parallels with the Titanic, this is a story that offers so much yet fails to deliver. The plot is good, for the most part, and the characters are engaging (which is something the writing tandem of Preston and Child have a unique gift of achieving) but the climax of the novel falls flat on its face. In particular, the supernatural entity simply has no place in the book and it seems has been added as a convenient way of finding a simple solution to a major problem. Pendergast is a solid character once more, although he is starting to wear on the nerves a bit after so many novels. How can one man's luck hold this long? Constance Green doesn't offer much to the story either, other than the ability to aid the investigation by infiltrating the ship's cleaning staff. In fact, the ship's officers, in particular LeSeur and Kemper, add more to the novel than our two main heroes.

The writing is, as always, captivating, and the writers have absolutely no problems dragging the reader into a story and holding them there. The descriptions and insight to the characters and their lives and involvement in the proceedings never fail to enthrall the reader. These series of Pendergast novels do seem to be on a worrying trend of diminishing standards, however. Hopefully the slope isn't too slippery, allowing the remaining books in this series to grab a foothold and not deteriorate too much.
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