Ok, I’m gonna stick with the Thriller tag for this one as well since it’s just as thrilling as Relic if not more so. Reliquary, again co-authored by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, is a direct sequel to Relic. Occurring just 18 months after the Museum Beast killings in the New York Museum of Natural History, this book takes off with a rush of adrenaline.
It starts out with the discovery of two HEADLESS bodies found in the Humboltd Kill. Add to THAT shock the fact that one of the skeletons is hideously malformed and you are already tensing up with the realisation that there is another Museum Beast out there.
Well, fear no more. Unlike the sequels of most creature features today, Preston and Child have evolved their villain into a new and much more dangerous foe. Ok, maybe you’d better start fearing again. And knowing the inherent “fear of the dark” most people suffer from, whether they will admit it or not, they lead us even LOWER than the tunnels under the museum. This time, we’re going down, down, down to the Devil’s Attic. As in, if you went any deeper you’d be IN Hell.
Reliquary brings back our favorite characters from Relic. Margo Green, who is now an assistant curator, Dr Frock, who is now retired, William Smithback, who is now a full-fledged reporter for the Post, Lt Vincent D’Agosta, who was passed over for promotion when the Mayor from Relic was ousted from office mainly because he was IN office when the Museum Beast killings occured. And of course, our hero, Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI.
Pendergast’s penchant for popping up during the most bizarre cases still mystifies me. He never seems to have clearance from the bureau yet he always seems to know when these cases are going to become somewhat supernatural. Sort of an X-file department, I guess. And again, Pendergast’s role in this book, although not the major player, developes over time because the next book in this series, The Cabinet of Curiosities, is his Big Reveal. The one that started everyone’s love of this character. (That review is coming up next week.)
Under Grand Central Station, there are seven stories of tunnels. That’s seven stories DOWN. Back in “the day”, the Vanderbuilts, the Astors, the Rockefellers, etc made their own railroad tunnel BELOW those used by the “unwashed masses” for their own personal use. Then flooding of the sewers ruined their plans and the tunnel was abandoned, with all it’s finery, to be taken over by the “mole people”.
In Reliquary we learn a lot about this underground world, where people actually live, work and bear children, feeling safe from the injustices of the people “Upstairs”. The leader of one of these underground societies is Mephisto. Trying to save his own people who are victims of this new foe, he ends up joining Pendergast, D’Agosta and Margo in their attempt to unravel the mystery and discover the connection between the Museum Beast killings and this new threat.
The only thing I was kinda iffy about in this book is the scene where the “mole people” get in a brawl with the high-class mob of protesters in Central Park. A bit wild for me but I guess you can’t expect anything but pandemonium when hundreds of homeless come up against hundreds of protesters.
I was quite surprised and yes, shocked by the ending of this book. Maybe I missed a clue, both times I read it, but I just never thought of this happening. Reliquary was first released in 1998 and I haven’t read it since so had forgotten the ending. After reading it last week, I wanted to start over from the beginning and try to find the clue I missed but I have at least 4 more books to re-read before the new release of Cemetery Dance on May 19th, 2009. I recommend reading these two books in order as so much of one pertains to the other. Another “thrilling” read from Preston and Child.