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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
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...
Published on 7 April 2008 by Glaucon

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a bit too far-fetched
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...
Published on 2 Aug 2009 by Lance Mitchell


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a bit too far-fetched, 2 Aug 2009
By 
Lance Mitchell (Hampshire, UK, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel (Hardcover)
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
By 
wilco121 (A long time ago, In a galaxy far, far away) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness (Paperback)
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... Margo Green... Constance Greene... is there a connection I've missed?)... Anyhow, Constance has never really flourished. Maybe in future novels.

Pendergast has without a doubt developed as a character. I re-read my Lincoln Preston collection every couple of years, and am amazed at his progression from distant main character role in Relic to central character in subsequent novels. Where as perfection as a character was probably reached around `Dance of Death' / `Book of the Dead', in this book he has gone beyond perfection to become almost godly in his talents / skills / ability. When characters become that perfect, they lose their credibility and believability.

And finally on to the story itself. Despite the above I was compelled to read on... and on... I can never fault Lincoln & Preston's descriptiveness, and ability to keep the reader hooked. They do really manage to conjure up magnificent imagery. Some scenes I felt were stretched out too much; a certain conversation between Constance & Pendergast towards the end for example seems to span several chapters basically repeating the same content.
The plot revolves around the supernatural. I find that where Lincoln & Preston usually excels is backing up a story with scientific fact or at least scientific theory. This one however fell significantly short of this usual pattern, and only a page or so in the epilogue was dedicated to explaining the events through science, and they turned out to be very poor, unbelievable explanations for most of it.

For me this was defiantly their weakest novel to date, but I will continue to bear with them. I hope this is a temporary blip for them. Nearly all of their work prior to this has been exquisite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brill, 12 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness (Paperback)
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
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining romp, disappoining ending, 5 July 2010
By 
N. Pearce "rastansaga" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness (Paperback)
Something has been stolen from a Tibetan monastery and Pendergast along with Constance Greene must track it down. Whatever it is that has been stolen, people are dropping dead and doing the strangest things because of it. Most of the adventure unfolds aboard a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic. I've no problem with the story being 'far-fetched', Pendergast stories are always adventure romps, with a little dash of pseudo-science or supernatural thrown in for good measure, it's just that the ending seemed a little rushed.
High point is when we see a very different (nasty?) side to Pendergast after he's come in contact with the 'object'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Nature of Sequels, 22 Nov 2008
By 
G. C. McGlothlen (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness (Paperback)
I give this one 4 stars, but maybe 3.5 would be better. I'll give it 4 because of the strength of the series in general - and because of the sub-plot I discuss below. However, this book has definitely got me thinking about the sustainability of sequels or a series. If I had picked this book up and read it by itself I would have been reasonably pleased by an interesting and fun story. I enjoyed the "Diogenes Trilogy" quite a bit and have put "Brimstone" on my list of books to try. So while this book continued that story on, and while the characters developed in a way that is almost must-read if you're a fan of the Pendergast novels, this book doesn't really bring anything new to the party. It has lost the dark, creepy Gothic feel and atmosphere of previous books. Call it "Pendergast Light". I did like the sub-plot involving Commodore Cutter and Capt Carol Mason who were very real to me and locked in a battle between youth and age, male and female where who was right and who was wrong was never clear during the plot and left me thinking after the book had finished - more so than the main plot. And maybe that tells you what you need to know. After the Diogenes trilogy the authors would have had to pull an even bigger rabbit out of their hat to keep things going and that doesn't happen here. I think the villain is particularly weak. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here, although that is foreshadowed in this book. If the authors return to what worked in previous books, can they raise the bar, or will it just be "Pendergast V"...
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4.0 out of 5 stars New slant to ancient discovery genre, 26 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. JJ Gale "jes48" (Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel (Hardcover)
My second PC book. I had given this type of book a rest as all the stories were too similar from all the variuos authors out there. This book was a present and an extremley nice one. The depth of writing I found to be most engrosing and certainly different enough to keep me captivated. I can reccomend you getting this book no matter how many books of this ilk you have read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read, 25 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel (Hardcover)
Reasonably new to Aloysius' escapades but a fast rising fan of Preston and Child, I found this book a gripping read from start to finish. Aloysius' Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes character is wonderfully written.

P&C generate a whirlwind of suspense and intrigue with this story, most of which is set upon a huge transatlantic liner, a setting that becomes increasingly claustrophobic as the mystery unfolds. P&C's research and attention to detail is well received, and only serves to heighten the enjoyment.

An excellent book, you won't be able to put it down.
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The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel
The Wheel of Darkness: An Agent Pendergast Novel by Lincoln Child (Hardcover - 15 Nov 2007)
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