When a straightforward murder case spirals out of control, Pendergast and his ward investigate an ancient witches' colony in a sleepy New England town where a terrible evil awaits . . .
A secret chamber.
A mysterious shipwreck.
A murder in the desolate salt marshes.
A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated-and sinister-than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated.
Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.
Pendergast and Constance soon learn that Exmouth is a town with a very dark and troubled history, and this skeleton may be only the first hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years. But they will discover that the sins of the past are still very much alive. Local legend holds that during the 1692 witch trials in Salem, the real witches escaped, fleeing north to Exmouth and settling deep in the surrounding salt marshes, where they continued to practice their wicked arts. Then, a murdered corpse turns up in the marshes. The only clue is a series of mysterious carvings. Could these demonic symbols bear some relation to the ancient witches' colony, long believed to be abandoned?
A terrible evil lurks beneath the surface of this sleepy seaside town-one with deep roots in Exmouth's grim history. And it may be that Constance, with her own troubled past, is the only one who truly comprehends the awful danger that she, Pendergast, and the residents of Exmouth must face . . .
At the start of Preston and Child's solid 15th thriller featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after 2014's Blue Labyrinth), Pendergast, unusually for him, agrees to accept a private case. Someone broke into the lighthouse where sculptor Percival Lake lives in Exmouth, Mass., and cleared out his wine cellar, except for one case of a very rare vintage. For reasons that are unclear to Pendergast's ward, Constance Greene, Pendergast agrees to travel from his Manhattan home to Exmouth, where his inquiries reveal that Lake's wine cellar contained a hidden chamber and human remains. The truth behind the crime may be connected to local legends regarding a witch colony and a demonic figure known as the Grey Reaper. Meanwhile, Pendergast looks into the stabbing murders of a local attorney and a historian researching Exmouth's past, whose bodies were marked with the so-called Tybane Inscriptions. The genuine scares take a while to come, but when they do, readers will be reminded of the violent horror of Relic, Pendergast's debut.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Crimson Constance--Detective in Training?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The authors deliver their intriguing mystery along with their reputable tour-de-force of suspense and action. I thought the setting was a good change of pace, creating a vibrant atmosphere similar to that of the “Still Life of Crows” and the more recent “White Fire.” My only criticism, as the last reviewer noted, is the focus on Constance rather than the usually predominant protagonist, FBI Agent Pendergast. While Miss Greene is an intriguing character, the loss of Pendergast as the central focus in the authors’ last book “The Blue Labyrinth”, left me hoping to see his return back to the focus in this book. The ending, however, sets up for an exciting premise that will keep bringing me back as a faithful reader, once again.
Another Good Read
Goddammit on the ending though.
Absolutely one of the worst books I have ever read. I am an avid reader and would not recommend this book to anyone. I only read to the end as I hoped it would somehow get better. Complete waste of money and time. Will definitely avoid these authors. Awful awful awful. Should get a refund for this, cannot believe they actually charge money for this garbage.