With their 14th entry in the Special Agent Pendergast saga, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child not only get their hero back to his prime, but they get the story back to basics. Blue Labyrinth is an extraordinarily strong entry in the series, and exactly what fans have been asking for, especially after last year's White Fire, in which Pendergast was just a supporting character.
It's impossible to write a typical review of this without getting into serious spoiler territory, so I thought I'd do something different and offer up the top 5 reasons that fans need to read Blue Labyrinth:
1. Pendergast is back - back at the forefront, back to his old ways, and back on top of his game. There's no question our hero has fallen on some hard times in recent books, but having spent much of the last book recuperating, he's once again the cunning man of thought and action that we've come to admire.
2. Vincent, Margot, and the New York Museum of Natural History are back - in an awesome wink to the fans, Preston & Child not only bring back the heroes of Relic and Reliquary, but they take us back to where it all began. It's not just a cheap cameo or token appearance either. Both have a role to play, and they follow up on how Margot has coped with the memories and the fears.
3. Pendergast is forced to be human - and he's as arrogant, irritable, and selfish as you'd expect. The cover blurb already tells you he's 'stricken in mind and body' so it's no spoiler to say he suffers a great deal in this book, but that means we get to see him lash out, express his emotions, and be honest with Constance about his feelings. The vulgar encounter over a Swiss parking ticket is worth the price of admission alone.
4. We get more of the Pendergast family history - and it's a history that's just as dark and unsavory as contemporary experiences with Diogenes and Alban would lead us to expect. While it's been hinted at before, we finally learn the truth of precisely where Pendergast's wealth and artifacts originated. It's a dark family secret, with a legacy of pain and death that, almost a century later, has come back to haunt him.
5. Constance gets to play the heroine - working alongside Margot in a frantic, desperate effort to save Pendergast's life. Constance has been something of a polarizing character since her first appearance, especially given how her eternal youth forces us so far beyond the willing suspension of disbelief, but she really gets a chance to shine here. I liked the way she was used in the story, and her scenes with an ailing Pendergast probably revealed more about him than we've ever seen before.
Blue Labyrinth isn't the best Pendergast tale, but it is the best in a long time. The story is strong, there's some real danger/suspense, and the characters all get a chance to shine. Personally, the way it brought things full circle, especially in dealing with the fallout of the original museum adventures, put it way over the top. It's a fun, frantic, can't-put-down-read that will undoubtedly go over well with fans both casual and dedicated.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2014 by Grand Central Publishing