The Wheel of Darkness
The Wheel of Darkness

 
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Product Description

FBI Special Agent Pendergast is taking a break from work to take Constance on a whirlwind Grand Tour, hoping to give her closure and a sense of the world that she's missed. They head to Tibet, where Pendergast intensively trained in martial arts and spiritual studies. At a remote monastery, they learn that a rare and dangerous artifact the monks have been guarding for generations has been mysteriously stolen. As a favor, Pendergast agrees to track and recover the relic. A twisting trail of bloodshed leads Pendergast and Constance to the maiden voyage of the Britannia, the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner---and to an Atlantic crossing fraught with terror.

Customer Reviews:

  • Very interesting read.
    I've read virtually all of the Preston/Childs books, and every one of the Pendergast series. Why the latter has so seized my fascination to such a degree, I'm not exactly sure. In any case, while I wouldn't call "Wheel" the best book in the series, it certainly is an interesting read. It is entirely consistent with the storytelling trail left by previous books, and leaves its own intriguing trailer at the very end.

    Preston/Childs books never, ever, lack for imagination -- that is, in fact, their chief calling card. "Wheel" is no exception in that regard. However, character development definitely gets a short shrift in this tale -- much more so than the other books, wherein we got to examine Pendergast and other main characters at much greater depth. Constance, in particular, seems to have become just a bit more than Pendergast's appendage, with nothing of the remarkableness of her personal story or abilities evident. Hopefully, that will change in future books....more info
  • Abysmal!
    I found this book poorly written, lacking in character development, and utterly unbelievable. It seems that the authors did a little bit of online research about Tibet, watched a season or two of Las Vegas, rented Titanic and The Lord of the Rings, then combined them all into a terrible novel. If you're looking for a mystery set in or pertaining to Tibet, read the books by Eliot Pattison and give this one a pass....more info
  • It took me 2 years to complete
    I have read all the Pendergast books and usually eargerly await the new ones. However when this one came out back in '07 I started reading it and found it a little too out there so I put it down for a while. I kept picking it up and putting it down because I love the Pendergast character, but I hated what they did to him in this novel. If you're willing to reach and maybe have not read say Cabinet of Curiosities you may like this novel. However, if you have read the rest of the Pendergast novels be prepared to charge through this one... Hopefully their new one is better. Had Preston and Child not written a new Pendergast novel I doubt I would have ever finished this one....more info
  • Good- but not the best
    I love all of the Pendergast books - he is one of my all time favorite characters. Wheel of Darkness starts out great, but the end comes to fast. There could have been a lot more character development and back story added. I hope the next book is better....more info
  • Outstanding!
    I had been eagerly anticipating this book all year, since I read the last book in the Agent Pendergast series, The Book of the Dead. Although this is obviously not a continuation of the Diogenes trilogy, there are some signs that Diogenes's evil legacy is alive and well, especially in the fragile character of Constance Greene. She keeps her secret until the very last page of the book, which leaves a very welcome opportunity for another sequel. This book is different from many in this series, as it does not take place in New York City, so many of the regular characters are missing. But, like Still Life With Crows, it remains very much connected to the overall story of Agent Pendergast and stands very well on its own. There is also a further exploration of the mind-bending meditation practices that Pendergast uses, and it becomes the central theme of this book: when you leave your mind open, what evil is allowed to enter? And once it's there, how can you conquer it?

    In the "basics", this book has intriguing characters, some of whom I hope to see in future novels, and a climax that kept me riveted to each page. The setting on board the Britannia is wonderful and gives an eerie sense of how isolated the characters are. The Wheel of Darkness reads quickly (I read it in two days), which is a shame, because it's one story you wish would just go on and on. There are many surprises in store, even for readers experiencing the partnership of Preston and Child for the first time. For long-time fans, like myself, this books was a superb introduction to life after Diogenes. The only thing left to do now is wait impatiently for the next one!...more info
  • Something's Lacking
    Sorry guy's but "Wheel of Darkness" is just not that good. I have read all of the Preston/Child novels and must say this one is definetly not up to par with the others. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the superb writing
    these authors have produced in the past, but I can't help feeling this book was thrown together in a rush without much thought. ...more info
  • Christie meets King
    Best yet! Agatha Christie's careful detective plotting meets Stephen King's carnage and chills. Instead of Hercule Poirot, we have Agent Perdergast investigating theft and murder on a luxury liner. The pacing is superb, and the atmosphere creepy. Recommended.....more info
  • Disappointing
    Pendgergast and Constance chase after a stolen artifact with dangerous potential and end up on a cruise ship where people start dying and then a cruise ship disaster occurs. It sounds like it should be exciting, and, oddly, it's not. The plot is thin at best, and it makes the story drag. We get murder after murder after murder, but instead of heightening suspense, it just feels like padding. There were significant questions that never got answered, and I wasn't at all satisfied with explanations about what the magic artifact was. Pendergast, while an intriguing secondary character in other books, just isn't up to being a main character. He doesn't do much in the book, and the big action is left up the secondary characters of the cruise ship personnel. The book just didn't seem all that well thought out....more info
  • Fun on the Water
    I had just finished "The Wheel of Darkness", Now I have officially read every novel these two gentlemen put out there. As far as novels go this one was a good one. It had a great feeling of mystery and intrigue as all Preston/Child Novels usually do. It basically follows Constance and Predergast on a cruise ship, in search of a very mysterious and ancient artifact that was stolen from an ancient Buddhist monastery. The power of this relic is able to change the world as we know it (NO SPOILERS HERE). Prendergast is entrusted to find it and return it safely to the Monks who have lost it. Both suspect the artifact is now on board the largest and most luxurious cruise ship in the world. I enjoyed the confining and melodramatic use of the Cruise idea. This novel is not as long or complex as the other Preston/Child Novels, however there is plenty of intrigue and action to keep you going. I enjoyed this simple little novel, as I always do with these guys. Not the best of their ability but a lot of fun....more info
  • Pendergast Jumps The Shark
    This is my third Pendergast book and it is by far the worst. Pendergast is forced to carry this book single handedly and without his NYPD buds and New York support staff he just comes off as a know-it-all little twit. The book is set mostly on a cruise liner and for some reason the authors seem to really hate cruises. At one point liners are referred to as crime ridden "floating suicide palaces". I don't think NCL will be using that in their ads anytime soon. I have cruised about 15 times and didn't recognize the crew of the book's ship who are apparently held in indentured servitude by their evil bosses. In fact ship crews (my wife's cousin was on the entertainment staff of a cruise ship) work hard but make OK money (very good money if you are Filipino or Romanian) and get time off between contracts to rest up. If they don't like it they don't come back. I have no idea where this attitude on the authors' part came from but derogatory comments about cruising are a constant theme and get tiring after awhile. The story just plows lifelessly along except for about 50 pages near the end where tension actually builds but the story goes limp at the end. The plot is not layered and interesting like the previous Pendergast books, it's just dull. Constance is my least favorite character in the series and she proves once again why I dislike her. A blow up doll would be more intersting both for the reader and Pendergast....more info
  • Silly, but a guilty pleasure
    The language is arch to the point of smugness, the situations are ridiculous, and the characters are absurd, but I couldn't put it down. It's as if two writers got together and said "let's take a junior high boys' James Bond fantasy and see how far we can stretch it before it breaks."

    And, for some odd, reptilian-brain reason, it worked, at least for me. A major theme involved Tibetan mysticism, which added a fun, exotic feel. I also enjoyed the fact that much of the action took place on an ocean liner, which gave the authors an opportunity to give you an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how luxury liners work today.

    The book was silly, and it didn't make me want to read another Preston/Childs book (it got my desire to read at least one Preston/Childs book out of my system), but it was a fun guilty pleasure.
    ...more info
  • Disappointing
    This book reminded me a little of "The Ice Limit" which is a fascinating read. Unfortunately it fell flat. Three quarters of the way through, it picked up, enough so that I did not even hear the conductor on the train asking for my ticket. Still not enough for me to rate it as high as prior books....more info
  • Wheel of Darkness
    This book was impossible to put down. The authors continue to entrance with their well written novels....more info
  • Could not stop reading
    I love this pendergast saga, so everytime there is a new one a couold not wait to buy it. The problem is to get enough sleep when I took this pendergas adventures.......more info
  • PRESTON & CHILD DO IT AGAIN..WOW
    These two write good stuff. Myself and a co-worker are so hooked on the series of books both authors have published. So good and fascinating you cant put the book down. Love Pendergrast and Constance and Detective, all of the characters. Looking foward to hopefully the continuation of Constance and her new found gift. I would recommend both authors together or even the books done seperately....more info
  • Good, But Not Their "A" Game
    Loved the Eastern aspect, however, Pendergast needed some more love. I read it in a day a page turner to say the least and the best. Could/should have been better, if you love Aloysius you'll enjoy the book yet it falls short in several areas. ...more info
  • Comic Book Quality
    THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS is the 7th Pendergast novel following:

    RELIC
    RELIQUARY
    STILL LIFE WITH CROWS
    BRIMESTONE
    DANCE OF DEATH
    THE BOOK OF THE DEAD

    Preston and Child have a rare quality in their writing skill - they can draw the reader away from his/her reading chair and transport him/her into the novel. Although parts of this novel reflect their writing craft, the authors fail in the totality of their effort. In the 6 other Pendergast novels, the authors transport the reader to other places for the entirety of the reading experience. WHEELS OF DARKNESS has its moments but not with the regularity of their other works.

    I've spent a great deal of my time attempting to understand why WHEELS OF DARKNESS doesn't offer the same quality as their other work. I think I have the answer, in their other works; the authors are able to pull the reader into accepting a highly implausible (or impossible) storyline as being a scientific reality. WHEELS OF DARKNESS has more of a comic book quality. The authors cannot stretch the implausibility as being close to probable. At the end, they offer a feeble attempt to include a scientific dimension - but it is too late.

    Two last points: First, the authors contend that these seven novels can stand alone. This is incorrect. They must be read in order and, frankly, I think the publisher should offer a warning label. For example, Pendergast in WHEELS OF DARKNESS will not make sense without first understanding his personality structure. The reader needs to know his past to comprehend his actions. STILL LIFE WITH CROWS offers the best illustration of Pendergast's personality development. Second, although WHEELS OF DARKNESS represents the weakest of the Pendergast novels, it is still better than most of storylines currently available.

    ...more info
  • Winning Team
    The Wheel of Darkness has a slow start as Pendergast and Constance enter a Tibetan Monastery for time away from the world. When an ancient item is stolen from the Monastery; the monks ask Pendergast for help. He agrees, chasing down the thief to an apartment in England. However, the thief had been horribly murdered. Pendergast tracks the stolen artifact to a cruise ship sailing on its maiden voyage. He and Constance board. Soon afterwards, people are being murdered in the cruelest fashions. The Wheel of Darkness proved to be a real page turner as the suspense begins. As always Preston and Child wrote another winner.

    Lost Hours
    Friday House
    Xiii...more info
  • Another good piece from Preston and Child
    Another book by Preston and Child on the adventures of agent Pendergast. Thrilling as usual. Pendergast and Constance are tracking down a thief and stolen artifact on behalf of Tibethan monks. ...more info
  • A Weaker Pendergast Novel, but Still Entertaining
    I've read most of the "Agent Pendergast" novels by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, and find most of them to be great escapist entertainment. WHEEL OF DARKNESS is fun enough to finish, but I consider it one of the weakest entries in the series.

    The plot of WHEEL OF DARKNESS is simple. For most of the story, Pendergast and his ward Constance are on a cruise ship, hunting for an ancient Tibetan artifact stolen by one of the passengers. The artifact contains a force of ancient evil, which may be responsible for a series of murders that are taking place on the ship.

    This book is entertaining enough, and has some big plot twists that I didn't expect. Preston & Child are obviously two very intelligent men who do their research, and this book has a lot of interesting information about Tibetan culture, cruise ships, etc. I also found the action-paced finale to be quite exciting, if not particularly realistic.

    However, this novel is too short and lacks depth in its characterization. There are way too many supporting characters in this book, many of them rich passengers on the cruise. Most of them are silly, cartoonish characters that bear little resemblance to real people. Reading about all these different characters was a chore, and added little to the storyline.

    Pendergast is a great character, but he doesn't play as large a role in this novel as I would have wished. His ward Constance is something of a serious-minded bore, and I never warmed to her. Overall, I thought the duo's relationship was bland and lacked chemistry.

    In the end, I found WHEEL OF DARKNESS enjoyable, but kind of minor. I wish Preston & Child had devoted more space and time to creating characters that I truly cared for. This is the type of novel you promptly forget about the day after you finish it. That being said, it's highly readable and better than most thrillers you will find on the market.

    If you've never read Preston & Child before, my advice is to read RELIC, BRIMSTONE, CABINET OF CURIOSITIES or STILL LIFE WITH CROWS instead. Those novels are far superior, and will make you a fan of this series.

    ...more info
  • Enjoyable, if a little overly "exotic"
    I enjoyed this book, I usually enjoy anything this writing team churns out. I read mostly as a leisure pursuit and this book is definately for those kind of moments. There were some interesting plot twists and it moved at a good pace. Some slight (nitpicking) issues with the UK setting for part of the plot, I have never seen a london cab at 110 miles per hour, and I don't think anyone has asked for a taxi from "your pool" of hotel taxis for about, er, forty years.

    But thumbs up, enjoyed it and have passed it on to friends....more info
  • Pendergast Interlude
    I enjoyed the book, but was also disappointed. I'm a fan of Special Agent Pendergast so I'm pretty happy to tune in just to watch his usual antics. (P.S. Thanks for the shirtless scene, guys. Yum!) But Pendergast and his ward, Constance, seem locked in a stasis for this book when it comes to character development or meaningful conflict. Though Pendergast is theoretically concerned with his ward's mental health, and his efforts in that direction set up the plot, the book drops the ball, and if Pendergast is feeling any fallout himself from his harrowing and excruciatingly personal battle with Diogenes, we don't see it effect the course of events in any meaningful way.

    I get that the authors want each book to stand alone, but that's no excuse for zero character arc. Of course it's nice that Agent P. saves the world, but it's just a mental exercise if we can't connect to the characters. Also missing was any acknowledgment the consequences of the Special Agent's single-minded and conscienceless manipulation of others in pursuit of the greater good. While I'm making up a wish list, another thing that would be nice is if he could be thwarted once in a while by his obvious flaws.

    SPOILER! A missed opportunity was a point in the book where Pendergast becomes EVIL (!!!) Given how super human the authors have made this character, this could have, and I would argue, should have, been extremely terrifying. Instead, we learn that his big plan, now that he is a being of pure evil, is to hole up in his mansion with a few thousand good books. Which, I find kind of charming actually (see my fangirl confessions above) but still... Also disappointing was that he apparently has no romantic notions whatsoever towards Constance since he displays no sexual interest in her even when freed of all moral and cultural inhibitions. (So sue me! I like a bit of romance, and some sexual menace doesn't go amiss either.) I was so sure that Constance had a crush on her guardian, and that she would be made to painfully confront it.

    I'm thinking of this as an entertaining interlude, and hoping that the next book will hit the ground running....more info
  • Wheel of Darkness
    Aloysius Pendergast is truly a likable and brilliant character created by Preston and Child. Some of his ventures to bring about a need for information ussually bring a smile to my face.

    Even though he's one of those cliche super characters that can do no wrong (i.e. Dirk Pitt), the writers portray him in a way that avoids making him come off as irritating and obnoxious to the reader.

    This book had a good start, but falls apart, much like the luxury cruise. The premise was good, and the plot kept me interested for about 300 pages. However, most of the mysteries are cleared up sooner than you'd expect, making the final 100 pages feel like filler. ...more info
  • This ship is sinking!!!!!!!
    I have read all of the Preston and Childs novels FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. I have always found them engaging and well written. That string stops here. I found this latest installment rather weak and uninspiring. The idea of combining the search for the mysterious "Agozyen" and a nautical murder mystery was first intriguing but it never developed. I feel that Pendergast was never really used in this story outside of him showcasing his card counting skills. Too much time was spent on the situation with the crew which frankly was not very interesting. I'm not sure if this is a just a bump in the road or the end of it for Special Agent Pendergast. Let's hope it is the former....more info
  • A little tired, but effective continuation of the saga
    It still amazes me that I am so addicted to the books of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They are eons away from my usual read (literally!). I was trapped in a horrific traffic jam in Virginia's Mixing Bowl and desperate for something other than the radio. I just happened to have The Relic on tape in the car. It had been foisted on me by a wacky friend and I was going to return it unheard but a few minutes in and I was hooked. Maybe it was because the story unfolded so effectively through the spoken word, but I've listened to all of the Preston/Child books on tape (and now CD) ever since, including Wheel of Darkness.

    Yes, the series is showing some wear and tear. This book definitely suffers from the absence of Pendergast's posse; he's left to carry the story with his ward Constance who, frankly, gets on my nerves. But I was very surprised at the direction the series has now taken. Because of the plotline of The Book of the Dead, I assumed that Wheel of Darkness, which followed, would be a way to wrap up a whole bunch of loose ends involving Aloysius, Constance, and his fantastically evil brother Diogenes. Not so, mes amis! In a turn that felt like a trip onboard the Titanic to recover an artifact from a Tibetan monastery that could literally destroy the world, we are treated to a whole host of desperate characters and get to try and sort out the allies from the enemies. I think you don't go into these books expecting great literature, but you do expect a good story and I felt like I got one. Not to mention a pretty serious shock ending!
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  • Pendergast does it again!
    The Pendergast character developed by Preston and Child is amazing; I can't wait for their next book, and the audio books (unabridged) are a great listen!...more info
  • Preston & Child, what has happened?
    I am a huge fan of the Penergast novels, and always eagerly anticipate the next one to arrive in print. I will read the next one, but after "Wheel of Darkness" and the letdown and just plain old bad taste in my mouth that it left, I just may wait for the next installment to arrive in the form of paperback, as opposed to rushing out and grabbing at the first display of hardcovers.

    What is wrong with the book? For starters, I almost overdosed on Constance. Can she just disappear into those monastery walls in the future books? She was an interesting character when she was obscure and mysterious and given kid-glove protection by Pendergast and cast. But as a normal (or near-normal) human being jetting around the world and interacting with other humans, she falls flat as a flitter. I truly hope she makes no more than a brief cameo appearance in future books. And speaking of cameo appearances, is that all that Viola was in the previous two novels? I realize this is not part of the Diogenes series, yet we had other links and continuances from those books, such as the repeated mention of his death, and of Constance's pregnancy, yet not one word about the great love of Pendergast's life, other than the weak but noticeable hint that this Emily person might emerge in that aspect in the future. Please tell me it won't be, for I found her as drab as the rest of the supporting cast.

    In summary, Pendergast is a phenomenally interesting character, but only when he is intermingled with other characters who highlight how he's not one of the pack. He needs the rough edges of the Vincents of the NYPD, or the Corrie Swansons of the Kansas cornfields. Set amidst a floating ship of upper class patrons, manned by a crew of rather polished seamen, Pendergast just doesn't shine. And God knows, his only cohort in crime-solving, namely Constance, further weakens his stature.

    If the authors should happen to read this, then please know that I love your writing, and as harsh as this all may have read, rest assured that I still rank "The Wheel of Darkness" in the upper 20% of all the fiction out there today. But you guys can do better than this latest effort. I will be anxiously waiting for you to prove just that. Bring back the Pendergast that we all know and love!!!...more info
  • Frantic And Entertaining
    The Wheel of Darkness is the first Pendergast novel I've read. Thus, I approached the book with no preconceptions or comparisons to earlier novels in this series. So, how did The Wheel of Darkness resonate with this first-time reader? Surprisingly well.

    There's little question that Preston and Child have created two wonderfully realized characters in Pendergast and Green. The idiosyncrasies that the authors have imbued on these characters make them both real and memorable. The strong personalities are needed, because Preston and Child almost lose control of the story while trying to conclude several plotlines. Still, the protagonists' strength ground the frantic conclusion, resulting in an entertaining end to the story.

    With the combination of an action packed story line and vivid central characters, it's easy to see why The Wheel of Darkness would have strong appeal. Did The Wheel of Darkness' strengths compel me to rush out and buy the rest of the Pendergast novels. Well..no. But, I found enough positives that if I'm browsing the bookstore for an entertaining action/mystery story, I'll strongly consider purchasing another Pendergast story....more info
  • Pendergast is awesome
    He is one of the best fictional heroes I've come across. cold, calculating and brutally brilliant!!

    The story moves beautifully from the east to the west with a good mix of fantasy, religion, supernatural, and down to earth rotten villains. You'll love it if you are into the bizarre. ...more info
  • Aloysius Pendergast Adventures...simply good fun
    If you enjoy 'Sherlock Holmes' type stories with a modern and simplified approach, one can't go wrong with the Pendergast adventures.

    Pendergast's ward, Constance, has always brought me back to the series, as she continues to be a mystery. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, never had the chance to read the "final" confrontation between the two brothers: Aloysius and his evil brother, Diogenese, who, it is hinted, the evil brother found Constance and did terrible acts. The reason I mention this, is I could not buy this particular book, as, I surmised, it had been rejected by certain publishers. Despite not able to read this book in the series, The Wheel of Darkness appeared and has the familiar and necessary terror and melodrama (and information) to ensure a relaxing and ("fill in the blanks") read.

    The Pendergast series is pure and utter escapism.

    Pendergast is ultra intelligent, aristocratic, spiritual, and an unusual FBI agent, as he drives around the streets of NYC in a bright yellow Rolls Royce, always at least three steps in front of everyone else. He is wealthy beyond words, and has a family background that leads back to the deep South of New Orleans... he speaks several languages and has powers of persuasion and observation beyond the normal human being, to my mind, he is a "character", for Preston and Child, a work in progress...(Preston and Child have more to give us as readers and fans of this series.)

    The Wheel of Darkness includes mystery, detective themes, the supernatural and pure 'suspension of disbellef', particularly on a cold and rainy afternoon.

    In the deep recesses of a Tibetian Monastary, an object of extreme power has been stolen, and the monks ask Aloysius to find the thief and bring the object back to its rightful place, before it can possibly spread destruction through out the world.

    Their search find them on the largest ocean liner in the world: the Britania. As the voyage across the northern Atlantic proceeds, it is soon discovered that a serial killer is on board spreading havoc amongst the rich, and retired...suddenly it goes from really bad to worse in an uncanny way.

    The Pendergast adventures are pure escapism, like an old movie or a battered gum shoe novel ala, Raymond Chandler.

    As the formula of this genre developes, like the old melodramas, the reader or viewer is on the edge of their seats, waiting for the mystery and true villian to be revealed.

    One has to be in the mood for such a novel, and I havn't read one for at least a year and was one hundred percent ready for the kitsch and cliches.

    Melodramatic and cliched, the Pendergast series is simply mind numbing good fun.


    ...more info
  • The Wheel of Darkness
    Keeps you on the edge of your seat, you just can't stand to put it down!...more info
  • Pendergast Saves the Human Race
    Like all Preston and Child novels, The Wheel of Darkness takes the reader on an ever-escalating adventure, provides surprising twists, exhibits stellar writing skill, and elicits periodic trips to the dictionary. This book takes us on a wild ride on a new luxury liner through a North Atlantic storm as the passengers are beset with daily murders, runaway navigational technology, deranged captains, a dot.com mogul involved in mind-bending meditation, and a smoky demon-ghost. Yet the story is rooted at a remote Tibetan monastery, and serves another installment in the Pendergast series. The amazing FBI agent performs endless tasks of investigative brilliance, but needs last-minute help from a surprising source to save the liner from ruin.

    The characters are vivid and memorable, the scenes (apparently) well researched, and some of the murders disgustingly gruesome. It is difficult to glean whether the authors have any viewpoint on the variety of Tibetan Buddhism they portray, or only borrow it to tell an adventure story. This is not the first book by these authors that strains credulity, but we know this was by design to create a fantasy as well as a good crime story with scientific accuracy.

    Yes, it is escape literature at its best. I could divine no moral or message; no real higher purpose at all. But the book succeeds very well at what it is created to be - a fast-paced, exciting, intriguing, vivid, challenging, unique, and entertaining reading experience. Preston and Child books provide excellent examples to aspiring writers of how to tell a compelling story using a writing style that is seamless, invisible, and professional, allowing the action and suspense to command full attention.
    ...more info
  • It's okay.
    I think I've bought my last Agent Pendergast book. They're getting too bizarre and not very interesting....more info
  • THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS
    This book was an awesome buy and I received purchase within a very timely manner. Excellent reading material....more info
  • I read the series backwards
    This was the first book of Preston/Childs that I read so I did not have any expectations coming into it. I thought it was a great thriller peppered with a little science and religion that any Trevanian or James Rollins fan might like. Having thoroughly enjoyed this book, I started reading the series backwards to the beginning. I didn't give this book 5 stars because now I see that there are some exceptional books earlier in the series. The first book Relic introduces you to FBI Pendergast, the protagonist of the series; and Cabinet of Curiosities introduces you to Constance, his assistant/ward in this book. Many of the characters in this book are introduced and explored more in depth earlier in the series. Having read this one first, I think I enjoyed the earlier ones more as I looked forward to finding out more about the characters. I look forward to new installments of this series....more info
  • Preston & Child do it again!
    Every book gets better and better! I'm going to call them and tell them to hurry with the next Pendergast book! I love that guy........more info
  • slipping
    They are slipping and the magic is fading. I hope they can get it back. but this is their worst effort since they started. Silly plot,disorganized fluff....more info
  • Thrill ride!
    After a long time the Preston-Child magic illuminates the literary landscape with flashes of thrill, suspense and 'gasp'-inducing intakes, in this novel. The scope of the novel is beyond the Pendergast trilogy, and yet avid readers would find a lot to 'reload' the moments lost reading the previous books. But, after all these subjective remarks let me try to submit a concise summary (?!) of the novel.

    Pendergast and Constance Greene (his 'ward') undertakes a journey to a hidden monastery in Tibet looking for peace and solitude. There, Pendergast is approached by the monks to retrieve something that had been purportedly stolen by someone, something that is dangerous enough to destroy the world and mankind. Pendergast is accompanied by Constance in this 'investigation' that leads them to the maiden voyage of a luxury liner. It is this 'journey' that constitutes more than 65 % of the novel and is justifiably a thriller. The ending is also rather..."thrilling"!

    "But all this is for me not quite enough", and it is to be understood that the novel never reaches the astonishing height (or depth) of "Relic" or "Thunderhead", despite wilful suspension of disbelief on our part on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, enjoy the reading and wait for one more year to experience the 'Pendergast time'....more info
  • Entertaining but poorly written
    Other reviews touch upon the story line and the entertainment or fear value of this book. I have not read any of the other seven and it took me a while to figure out in which century the story was set as the speech of Pendergast is pedantic, stilted and aged. Were it not for the mention of a cell phone, I might have thought for longer that the story was set in the nineteenth century. No doubt these stories are not read for their literary value.I certainly won't actively seek out any others and am glad I did not pay for this one. Does it say anything that this is the first review I have ever posted of any book?...more info
  • A Real Good READ!
    As usual, Special Agent Pendergast led me on quite an adventure. Could not figure out where this one was going so it was most enjoyable.

    Look forward to more Pendergast novels from Preston and Child!...more info
  • They did it again!
    How do Preston & Lincoln keep coming up with these story lines?!?
    I was again kept on the edge as Pendergast once again fights evil, this time on an ocean liner. Though some of the religious and philosophical descriptions are long winded, the terror, the excitement is there and took me along with it. OK, you could look at it as unbelievable but the authors once again make me ask myself "What if this were possible?"...more info
  • Best of Preston
    This is a fact-filled thriller. I can imagine the amount of research that Preston must have done before getting the plot together.
    To anyone who thinks the Agozyen or the Tantra is anything funny, you need to learn a lot more about whats happening in the rest of the world.
    Loved the book.
    Waiting for more on the same lines.....more info
  • Hard core - don't miss it!
    A very strange chapter in the Pendergast story, The Wheel of Darkness has to do with a missing Tibetan relic that could bring about the end of the world. Pendergast and his ward Constance learn about the theft while at the Tibetan monastery to help Constance after Diogenes brought about the collapse of her delicate psyche in Book of the Dead. Pendergast believes the thief is taking part in the maiden voyage of a new super-luxury ocean liner, so he gets himself and Constance aboard and they set to work trying to discover who has stolen the mysterious relic. Forced to confront his worst fear - himself - Pendergast experiences a most dangerous journey.

    It is difficult to describe this story without spoiling it, so I have left my review vague on the plot points. However, I can heartily endorse this book as a great piece of thriller fiction and a story that gives Pendergast a most interesting ... twist. Definitely be sure to check this one out!...more info
  • Wheel of Darkness - The End of Pendergast?
    This was another excellent Pendergast mystery novel, but I almost lost hope for him during the reading of this novel. It had the requisite twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. You will not regret picking it up for a good read....more info
  • Felt like a classic movie done as a novel
    Wheel of Darkness is the latest collaboration between two exceptional authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - a duo that I've been following since their third novel, Mount Dragon.

    The novel centers on Agent Pendergast, Preston and Child's main protagonist, who's been in almost all of the novels written by these two excellent authors.

    Before I continue, this review will not contain any spoilers other than what you can garner from reading the back cover of the novel. I hate ruining things for people.

    This novel is a murder mystery that, after reading, reminded me heavily of the old film noir detective novels and movies from the forties and fifties. You know what are considered to be the classics and arguably some of the best of these types of movies and literature.

    Also, with the exception of the first portion of the book, the entire novel is set on the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise ship.

    Pendergast and his ward travel to Tibet in order to help her deal with the events that took place in the book of the Dead.

    During their time at the monastery, they learn of the theft of an ancient relic, one that was foretold to bring about the end of the world.

    The monks, who know Pendergast, ask him to help track down the thief and recover the artifact before the events prophesied come true.

    True to his word, he and Constance Greene set out hot on the trail of the thief and it eventually leads them to the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise ship.

    Here they encounter far more than they could have imagined, of the least are a series of brutal murders that quickly put the passengers and crew of the ship in a state of panic.

    This is by far the least of their worries.

    The novel really felt like the old film noir movies from the forties and fifties. Half the time I was expecting an appearance by Spencer Tracy or Humphrey Bogart. But, there was plenty of modern technology to keep me, the reader, firmly planted in the modern era.

    As per usual, Pendergast showed his intelligence and put his unique set of skills to good use at several instances during the novel. As usual I don't want to spoil things for the reader, but his interaction with some of the secondary characters was, to be honest, quite brilliant in the manner in which he dealt with them.

    And then there was the personal crisis that Pendergast is forced to face.

    If I had a complaint about the novel, it was with how it ended, and the artifact itself. Once again, I won't bother spoiling it for you. If you want to find out what I am talking about, read the book and you'll see what I'm referring to.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and it really felt like a classic murder mystery from a bygone era. Not one of their best collaborations, but definitely worth picking up to read.

    3.5 out of 5.
    ...more info
  • Come ON Guys!
    These are two of my favorite authors but I'm running low on patience after the last three less than stellar books. I don't like Constance. I'm going to come right out and say it. I saw her purpose the earlier books but couldn't she have just fallen into the volcano with Diogenes? I thought that the setting on the ocean liner was interesting but it could have been great. That's the theme of this book, "It Could Have Been Great". It took me a long time to get into this book and that in itself is very unusual for P/C books. If this is the first P/C book you have read and you didn't like it, please go back and read the earlier Pendergast novels. Specifically Relic through Still Life With Crows. ...more info
  • One more wonderful journey in to the world of Pendergast
    From the first book in this series (Relic) to this latest edition, the authors' slow and at times tedious revelation of the protagonist Pendergast is an enthusiastic adventure. At some point I was shocked to realize that I cared more about the main characters development and history than I did about the current plot. True to form, Lincoln and Child drive you through the book from beginning to end, leaving you catching your breath as you close the last page and wondering when you can get you're your hands on the next book (summer 2009).

    Though I don't feel that The Wheel of Darkness is the best book the authors have written to date, it is an intriguing look into the agent and his ward, Miss Green. The Pendergast series is not for everyone, however. The pots are complex, the main characters eccentric, and they tend to the extraordinary and/or supernatural at times. These are not books to relax into. But they are well written and well worth the time if you have it; just don't plan on putting them down after an hour or two.
    ...more info
  • Great read
    I am totally hooked on the Pendergast series and everyone that I have recommended them to is hooked as well! The Wheel of Darkness continued to the great tradition. Pendergast is a complicated and fascinating character and the anticipation now - for each new book in the series - is learning more and more about the history of the family, and particularly, of his mysterious ward. The Wheel of Darkness is fast-paced and very satisfying. I recommend that they are read in order as this helps you appreciate the building of the characters, but it isn't necessary....more info
  • A Favorite
    Aloysius Pendergast is a favorite character of mine. His adventures never get old, and regardless of the circumstances, you know he will overcome it and be ready for more action. Excellent read....more info
  • Don't bother!
    The best word I can think of to describe this book is LAME! I'm a big fan of Preston and Childs' previous works, but this one was a stinker. The other negative reviews mirror my sentiments exactly. Don't waste your time with this one, you'll end up disappointed. ...more info
  • Awful.........
    Some of the other books in this series were fun but this was so bad that I was furious that the person that got this for me as a gift wasted money on the hardcover!! This book went into the garbage! The authors have settled into the predictable routine of churning out a piece of crap every year. Yawn....more info
  • I had anticipated a good read....it was ok, just not as good as Brimstone or some of the others.
    I had anticipated reading this installment of the Pendergast saga for some time, and that is why I think I am so conflicted about this review. When I first started reading the series, Pendergast and D'Agosta were really exciting and complex to me. But in "Wheels", D'Agosta was a "no show" (and I really would have liked to see him), the mystery wasn't very compelling, and I am not sure that Pendergast showed me anything new (we all know that he has sparkling, clever silver eyes and moves graceful like a cat). We also know that Constance is going to be mysterious, pale and insightful, and will stick by Aloysius no matter what the cost. So frankly, there was nothing new and I kind of suspected what was going on most of the time.

    For the first time, this novel started off a little slow for me, but about half way thru, you started to kind of feel the old Preston & Childs magic. What I did love about the story, about all of their stories, are the undertones of supernatural phenominon and things unexplained. It always adds just the right spice, and literally carried this novel for me.

    Agent Aloysius Pendergast has taken Constance Greene (his mysterious ward)to a monastery in Tibet where she can heal from her recent mental and physical challenges, and find peace (about killing her lover and Pendergast's brother). Meanwhile, Pendergast while trying to relax and come to grips with what his brother was, finds himself sharpening his investigative skills to discover who has taken one of the monks most prized possession (which can, if it's power is unleashed, destroy the world). Following the relic on board a luxury liner, the Brittania (which is on it's maiden voyage), things quickly get out of hand. There are a series of murders, people going mad, "smoke" monsters, mutiny, and various other dramatic events that let the Special Agent know that all is not as it seems. And with his trusty sidekick, who is offended by wealth (although it is clear that neither of them are suffering in that department) by his side, Pendergast will not only uncover a murder and solve the mystery, but unmask some card counting scoundrels as well!

    With all that said, what I found to be the most interesting about the whole storyline was the transformation (and I am not going into a lot of detail, if you enjoy the series you will read it anyway) that Pendergast undergoes once his inhibitions have been destroyed by the relic. We see just who and what Pendergast would be without his strong morals!!

    If you like the series, you will enjoy seeing Constance and Pendergast again. You will also find out how they both survived the death of Pendergast's evil brother (who we saw die at the end of the last book) and how his death has impacted them. But if you are expecting the magic from Brimstone or some of the others, I am not so sure that you will get that. ...more info
  • Still searching for Preston/Child book that matches Relic
    Overall, entertaining as is most of Preston/Child books. Suspenseful and intriguing until the very end. The threat, when it's finally revealed, is a little bit of a let down.
    ...more info
  • Ho-Hum Pendergast
    The Pendergast series is by far the most intriguing and suspenseful series these days. However, this installment brimmed slightly above the low watermark. The novel at most instances felt like a Lucas Davenport novel(I love this series as well, so no disrespect intended). However, I wanted to read a Pendergast novel. The Wheel of Darkness just does not have the bona-fide feel of the preceding books of the series; which all I have read. Understandably, every book cannot be a winner. However, acquiescing to that fact does not lessen the disappointment. ...more info
  • A bit slow in places
    I love the Pendergast series. He is one of the most original characters in many years. I thought the story premise very interesting, but I felt the pacing was not as good as some of their previous work. In places they continued a scene far beyond the natural spot for maximum impact, and it felt like they were gratuitously describing something in such extended detail that they had forgotten the reader and were just amusing themselves. That said, it was a fun read and I hope for more Pendergast novels....more info
  • Fantastic!!
    Preston has continued his fast paced, horror novel style. I love being scared by his creatures and otherworldly threats. It is definitely a page turner and I would recommend it to any one who loves this genre as much as I do....more info
  • Complex and clever....
    The Agozyen has been stolen from a remote Tibetan monastery and FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast has been hired to locate it. But what exactly is this mysterious and dangerous artifact? The trail leads Pendergast and his ward, Constance Greene, to the world's largest ocean liner, the Britannia, and its maiden voyage. Danger is lurking everywhere and lives are at stake as Pendergast will face perhaps one of his toughest opponents yet.

    Every time I think that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have reached the pinnacle of their success, that they can't possibly outdo the last book, they prove me wrong! THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS is a stunning thriller that will leave readers on the edge of their seat. The point of view shifts as the story unfolds and it was all I could do to not skip ahead to see what was going to happen. Will Pendergast survive this case? He's tough and smart, but the Agozyen is unlike anything he has ever encountered.

    THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS is the eighth book in this series featuring Agent Pendergast. While it can be read as a stand alone, THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS will be better appreciated by those already familiar with the eccentricities of Agent Pendergast. In fact, there are several scenes that may leave a new reader a bit bewildered without having read the prior books. Luckily, there is enough thriller material that even a new reader to the series will still appreciate THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS.

    THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS is another fascinating and dark journey into the world of Agent Pendergast. Readers who like their thrillers on the dark side will appreciate this complex but very clever tale. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are two of the top authors in their genre, and THE WHEEL OF DARKNESS showcases their talents perfectly!

    COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES...more info
  • Never enough!
    Each new novel by messrs Preston and Child about their pale protagonist SA Pendergast leaves me with an almost overwhelming need to have the NEXT story published, and this was, of course, no exception! The coupling of mysticism and science that permeates the collected works of these two outstanding authors shines through once more in this latest collaboration.

    The novel moves at a very balanced pace, keeping the reader at once guessing who the culprit may be and then taking their breath away when it is revealed. Without revealing any plot, this story in particular reveals that Pendergast is mortal, taking him to the very limits of his abilities.

    If you are not a fan of the works of these gentlemen than do yourself a service: start reading, now!...more info
  • Holmes and the Tibet Affair
    I think that some of Preston and Child's fans are missing the whole point of the main character, Pendergast and the series framework.

    The whole formula for these series is based on Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. It's simply an updated version of a Holmes-like character functioning in a modern world. Perndergast's physical description and mannerisms are so close to Sherlock's that if they wrote like some slam-bam thriller writers, they would say he was a Basil Rathbone lookalike.

    In place of Watson, they feature various cast members from Constance to the NYPD officer. And Constance is the typical demure Victorian era damsel in distress. So the emphasis, unlike their other novels like Relic, is on Pendergast's character and how he uses his "Thinking Machine" mind to solve the crimes. So yes, at times you do get visions of Murder She Wrote because this is first and foremost a mystery rather than a thriller. It's Pendergast's unique and eccentric personality that carries the story line, and the puzzle to be deduced. And like in Doyle's work the explanation comes at the end.
    Setting this story on an ocean liner is classic; it's been done before by Agatha Christy and many others. Personally, I like the Ian Fleming like attention to details about the foods, the wines, the art etc.

    There is absolutely nothing realistic about Pendergast at all, he's an over the top mystery detective pure and simple.

    I admit that I like their action thrillers more, but they do both genres equally well. Their strongest point is their ability to carry off these cross-genre: horror, mystery, action/adventure thrillers.


    ...more info
  • give me a break
    Really guys, if you're going to phone it in, why even bother? This book should have been published as a graphic comic book...pleeeeease....more info

 

 
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