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
I have read all your books and have loved them all. This one was strange as it seemed to be two books in one, the last half was very exciting and the ending, well you can imagine. I'm hoping there will be another following quickly to resolve my anxiety
This is my last try
I have always looked forward to Preston and Childs books but for the last two, they have had bizarre plots, and were not at all enjoyable. Far more sensationalist than reasonable - I won't be tempted again
Excellent take on possible events and actual figures involved and the subsequent conspiracy. Well done.