The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7)

The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7)

by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

$10.00 View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, November 20


Can FBI Special Agent Pendergast stop a cursed Egyptian tomb from terrorizing New York City — or will he stay trapped in a maximum security prison, punished for a murder he didn't commit?

An FBI agent, rotting away in a high-security prison for a murder he did not commit...
His brilliant, psychotic brother, about to perpetrate a horrific crime...
A young woman with an extrodinary past, on th edge of a violent breakdown...
An ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala...
Memento Mori

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455582938
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Series: Special Agent Pendergast Series , #7
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 69,913
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Place of Birth:

Cambridge, Massachusetts


B.A., Pomona College, 1978

Read an Excerpt

The Book of the Dead

By Douglas Preston Lincoln Child


Copyright © 2006 Splendide Mendax, Inc., and Lincoln Child
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-57698-0

Chapter One

Early-morning sunlight gilded the cobbled drive of the staff entrance at the New York Museum of Natural History, illuminating a glass pillbox just outside the granite archway. Within the pillbox, a figure sat slumped in his chair: an elderly man, familiar to all museum staff. He puffed contentedly on a calabash pipe and basked in the warmth of one of those false-spring days that occur in New York City in February, the kind that coaxes daffodils, crocuses, and fruit trees into premature bloom, only to freeze them dead later in the month.

"Morning, doctor," Curly said again and again to any and all passersby, whether mailroom clerk or dean of science. Curators might rise and fall, directors might ascend through the ranks, reign in glory, then plummet to ignominious ruin; man might till the field and then lie beneath; but it seemed Curly would never be shifted from his pillbox. He was as much a fixture in the museum as the ultrasaurus that greeted visitors in the museum's Great Rotunda.

"Here, pops!"

Frowning at this familiarity, Curly roused himself in time to see a messenger shove a package through the window of his pillbox. The package had sufficient momentum to land on the little shelf where the guard kept his tobacco andmittens.

"Excuse me!" Curly said, rousing himself and waving out the window. "Hey!" But the messenger was already speeding away on his fattire mountain bike, black rucksack bulging with packages.

"Goodness," Curly muttered, staring at the package. It was about twelve inches by eight by eight, wrapped in greasy brown paper, and tied up with an excessive amount of old-fashioned twine. It was so beaten-up Curly wondered if the messenger had been run over by a truck on the way over. The address was written in a childish hand: For the rocks and minerals curator, The Museum of Natural History.

Curly broke up the dottle in the bottom of his pipe while gazing thoughtfully at the package. The museum received hundreds of packages every week from children, containing "donations" for the collection. Such donations included everything from squashed bugs and worthless rocks to arrowheads and mummified roadkill. He sighed, then rose painfully from the comfort of his chair and tucked the package under his arm. He put the pipe to one side, slid open the door of his pillbox, and stepped into the sunlight, blinking twice. Then he turned in the direction of the mailroom receiving dock, which was only a few hundred feet across the service drive.

"What have you got there, Mr. Tuttle?" came a voice. Curly glanced toward the voice. It was Digby Greenlaw, the new assistant director for administration, who was just exiting the tunnel from the staff parking lot.

Curly did not answer immediately. He didn't like Greenlaw and his condescending Mr. Tuttle. A few weeks earlier, Greenlaw had taken exception to the way Curly checked IDs, complaining that he "wasn't really looking at them." Heck, Curly didn't have to look at them-he knew every employee of the museum on sight.

"Package," he grunted in reply. Greenlaw's voice took on an officious tone. "Packages are supposed to be delivered directly to the mailroom. And you're not supposed to leave your station."

Curly kept walking. He had reached an age where he found the best way to deal with unpleasantness was to pretend it didn't exist. He could hear the footsteps of the administrator quicken behind him, the voice rising a few notches on the assumption he was hard of hearing. "Mr. Tuttle? I said you should not leave your station unattended."

Curly stopped, turned. "Thank you for offering, doctor." He held out the package.

Greenlaw stared it at, squinting. "I didn't say I would deliver it." Curly remained in place, proffering the package. "Oh, for heaven's sake." Greenlaw reached irritably for the package, but his hand faltered midway. "It's a funny-looking thing. What is it?" "Dunno, doctor. Came by messenger."

"It seems to have been mishandled." Curly shrugged.

But Greenlaw still didn't take the package. He leaned toward it, squinting. "It's torn. There's a hole ... Look, there's something coming out."

Curly looked down. The corner of the package did indeed have a hole, and a thin stream of brown powder was trickling out. "What in the world?" Curly said.

Greenlaw took a step back. "It's leaking some kind of powder." His voice rode up a notch. "Oh my Lord. What is it?"

Curly stood rooted to the spot. "Good God, Curly, drop it! It's anthrax!"

Greenlaw stumbled backward, his face contorted in panic. "It's a terrorist attack-someone call the police! I've been exposed! Oh my God, I've been exposed!"

The administrator stumbled and fell backward on the cobblestones, clawing the ground and springing to his feet, and then he was off and running. Almost immediately, two guards came spilling out of the guard station across the way, one intercepting Greenlaw while the other made for Curly.

"What are you doing?" Greenlaw shrieked. "Keep back! Call 911!" Curly remained where he was, package in hand. This was something so far outside his experience that his mind seemed to have stopped working.

The guards fell back, Greenlaw at their heels. For a moment, the small courtyard was strangely quiet. Then a shrill alarm went off, deafening in the enclosed space. In less than five minutes, the air was filled with the sound of approaching sirens, culminating in an uproar of activity: police cars, flashing lights, crackling radios, and uniformed men rushing this way and that stringing up yellow biohazard tape and erecting a cordon, megaphones shouting at the growing crowds to back off, while at the same time telling Curly to drop the package and step away, drop the package and step away.

But Curly didn't drop the package and step away. He remained frozen in utter confusion, staring at the thin brown stream that continued to trickle out of the tear in the package, forming a small pile on the cobbles at his feet.

And now two strange-looking men wearing puffy white suits and hoods with plastic visors were approaching, walking slowly, hands outstretched like something Curly had seen in an old science fiction movie. One gently took Curly by the shoulders while the other slipped the package from his fingers and-with infinite care-placed it in a blue plastic box. The first man led him to one side and began carefully vacuuming him up and down with a funny-looking device, and then they began dressing him, too, in one of the strange plastic suits, all the time telling him in low electronic voices that he was going to be all right, that they were taking him to the hospital for a few tests, that everything would be fine. As they placed the hood over his head, Curly began to feel his mind coming back to life, his body able to move again.

"Scuse me, doctor?" he said to one of the men as they led him off toward a van that had backed through the police cordon and was waiting for him, doors open.


"My pipe." He nodded toward the pillbox. "Don't forget to bring my pipe."


Excerpted from The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston Lincoln Child Copyright © 2006 by Splendide Mendax, Inc., and Lincoln Child. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 235 reviews.
anavidreaderWY More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Although it doesn't have to be read in sequence---this is the first Pendergrast novel I have read, it does have references to prior events and would probably be even better read it sequence. Characters are odd enough to hold your attention, plot with the Egyptian tomb was really good. It had enough, supernatural to keep you guessing. I'm going to order the other novels now since this one was so good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great story. It never stopped being interesting and kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. Dark, musty museum basements crammed with ancient artifacts are the perfect eerie setting for a good thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child is well written. The over all story had many twists and turns in regards to whom was Digeones Pendergast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book before knowing about all the other Pendergast novels but it's safe to say this one got me hooked! I love the character and the pace of this book, truly thrilling to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Book of the Dead had me wanting to read more and more as the action never stopped. This thrilling roller coaster ride of a story always had you thinking one thing but changed to the exact opposite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. I do wish, however, that the one character, who will remain unmentioned, that 'died' would make an amazing return in some way... and continue to taunt Pendergast. I really enjoy these outstanding novelists. Keep it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the final book of what the authors term 'The Diogenes Trilogy' I was all set for a final battle to the death between Pendergast and his very evil brother Diogenes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the book move in a very different direction. Perhaps too much time was spent in extricating Pendergast from his unjust confinement, but the detailed process was executed with fascinating and belivable precision. As with the other Pendergast books, the strange protagonist manages to carry out his plans with such amazing ability that it is a bit mystifying that Diogenes could have accomplished so much of the mayhem that he has pulled off in the past. It was painful to watch Diogenes in action as he duped the the innocent Constance, but the reversal which happens is both believable and highly satisfying. The character of Constance is one which bears even further development, which I suspect is what will happen in Wheel of Darkness. I certainly hope so!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and ordered the 8th in the series. Starting with book one and then going forward is the way to go. Each book introduces someone new but included is past characters. This makes for an easier read and quite frankly a sentimental attachment. I am attached to the older characters and their personalities and what they will contribute to the book. The introduction of a new character is just an addition to the family. Pendergrast is what holds it all together and is a must appearance in all the books. I have read 7 books of the series within a short time as I cannot seem to stop myself. Start with book one and you will find that with each book you are drawn into the world of Pendergast and the meeting of old friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book of the Dead was my first introduction to Preston and Child and the Pendergast series - and now I'm completely hooked! The plot is so intricate that we're always left guessing who is good and who is bad, and if, perhaps, there are some supernatural forces at work. A brilliant mix of suspense, crime, psychology, and history - this book won't disappoint readers of many genres - and will probably having you running into your local Natural History museum asap! Preston and Child have a wonderful writing style that sucks you in, terrifies you, and won't let you go until the final battle. Agent Pendergast at his finest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The authors have once again created a page turner that you simply cannot put down. You become engaged in the fates of all the characters. What a spectacular story they weave!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do Preston and Child come up with the plot twists, turn of events, original plot lines, unique characters and weave everything into an incredible story? I don't know, but they amaze me and I'm hooked on their books. I thorougly enjoy how not only the Pendergast character has developed, but Smithback, Nora Kelly - and of course, Vincent. The Pendergast "brain" just always amazes....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story involving a hot babe, a psychotic killer who hatches a 15-year plot to spring mass death and mayhem, and an ancient Egyptian tomb originally excavated by Napoleon's expedition and reconstructed in a sub-basement in New York's Natural History Museum seems like it should have all of the elements of a great story. This is the second Preston book I've listened to this year; the other was less disjointed. My favorite thing about this book was the reader: Rene Auberjonois of Benson and Deep Space Nine did a great, over-the-top dramatic reading that seemed more interesting than the words themselves.The strange ending makes more sense now that I know it's part of a series. There is no mention of that on the CD box.
TonyaSB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to this book by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child on my way to and from work (it's a long drive) as well as any other time I was briefly in the car. Each time I got back in, I felt as if the time between listening had been simply the intermission for the story. I was instantly drawn back in the crazy lives of these characters. I was a little confused at times when story from the characters past was brought up. It was done in such a way that made me feel I was missing a book in a series, which I realize now that I am. I had read Relic several years and vaguely recognized some of the character names from that story but it's been so long that I pretty much only remember that it was a book about a plant that turns people into monsters when they become addicted to it. Oh, yeah, I also remember that the movie changed some very important parts of the story but aside from the fact that the cop in the movie was actually two people in the book I don't remember that either! hehe, so I'm not writing about that one!Apparently Book of the Dead and it's two previous "chapters" involve many of the same characters I first became acquainted with in Relic. I am surprised that I genuinely like these novels. For the most part they mysteries in the Sherlock Holmes style, something that generally bores more. Even though I now realize that I missed two books in this series and I will probably go back and read them, I don't feel like I was left out of the loop. The writing in this book is very well done. The authors have filled in people like me on the storyline while not boring those who probably read the others books. I've read authors who go on for pages describing back story to the point that you want to rip those pages out and just GET ON WITH IT. This is not done that way. So while I was little confused at first, by the end of the story I knew all that was important without the story getting bogged down.The storyline itself is fascinating. It's like a modern day Set and Osiris, except this isn't dismembered and brought back by his wife. Or I guess you could argue that Pendergast's time in prison is a death and he is reborn when he is free. He's certainly not the same person he when he emerges. All around the struggle between brothers is the subplot (so we think at first) of the re-opening of an old exhibit at the Museum of Natural History: The tomb of Senef. This tomb is supposedly cursed and people begin dying in very strange ways...What will happen?If you're interested in listening to an audiobook, like I did, I highly recommend this one. The narrator, Rene Auberjonois, reminded me of being read to as a child. He did different voices for the characters (without getting hokey). The constant tension in the story was heightened by his reading style. There were times when I had extra time between classes and stayed in my car instead of going into the school early just so I could hear the next two minutes of story. It was simply that good.
JoAnnSmithAinsworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot that kept my attention even while the amount of detail bogged me down periodically.
tiddleyboom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first (and NOT my last) Preston/Child book. It started a little slow, but a nice build up...until I just couldn't put it down.
Grandeplease on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent reading The Book Of The Dead even though it was not the best the Preston Child team has written. If you enjoy reading a book that is part of a series and all that means, I believe you will enjoy The Book Of The Dead and maybe learn a little bit about museum operation and Egyptian artifacts. I recommend reading the books in order. Dance Of DeathThe Book Of The DeadThe Wheel Of Darkness
DanaJean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Pendergast book, this one had to do with the reopening of an Egyptian exhibit at the local museum. Mayhem follows. Once again, suspense, mystery, thriller all quickly paced. Continuing characters. I'm having a good time with all of these Pendergast stories. They are entertaining and interesting enough to keep me coming back for more. Now I have to go back and read the beginning books in this series. I seemed to have started in the middle and worked my way to the end. Try to read them in order if you can as I'm sure that will enhance the fun of the interlocking stories.
parkinglady01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book of the dead¿was dead. I just couldn¿t get into the story ¿ it was too boring for me and I had to give it back to a friend that I borrowed it from.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
decent book, although there is kind of a prequel that it would have helped to have read first. it was a good book, but there are so many characters that it took a while to get going. pretty much a standard mystery novel. but it was interesting.
whidbeysue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Too many characters and sub plots. Did not keep me riveted ; I thought the subject matter would.
burnit99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The long-laid plans of Special Agent Pendergast's brother, Diogenes, are at last brought to the stage of execution, and their breadth and ingenuity are amazing to behold. Pendergast, meanwhile, languishes in a high-security prison, charged with murder, helpless to thwart Diogenes' insidious plans - unless he can break out of prison. Diogenes, meanwhile, is at liberty to seduce and manipulate Pendergast's troubled ward, Constance. A particularly eventful and engrossing entry in the saga of Pendergast's unusual family.
goth_marionette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the final book in the trilogy of Pendergast's brother I found this a satisfying conclusion. The threads in the story were tied up in a believable manner for the series. I felt the book's pace was good and the characters were well developed. I did read through this book in record time as I just needed to know what happened next. I can blame this book for several sleepy mornings. I highly recommend this trilogy as some of the better books in the series. Enjoy!
nancnn2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An absurd plot. Absolutely preposterous. Admittedly, I have not read the other books in the series. Perhaps having read the previous installments would have helped lend some insight into the characters and the story line. However, nothing in this book sparked the slightest interest in reading any of the others.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good addition to the Pendergast series. Pendergast's brother sets up a final act of vengance involving an Egyptian tomb at a New York museum. My only issue with the book is it went on one act too many.