I was pretty late to the party in 2006 when I read the seventh in the series of supernatural thrillers penned by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, first. Entitled The Book of the Dead, that story followed their popular character, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, in the world of museums and ancient Egyptian artifacts.
I loved how that book grabbed me right from the first few pages, and did not disappoint me with its depictions of really brutal and scary murders. I was a little bit lost in regards to the characters, but I was able to figure them out for the most part. The setting (Egyptian mythology is one of my pleasures) was just the icing on the cake.
Therefore, I looked forward eagerly to Wheel of Darkness. I knew that the storyline and setting would of course be different, but all the best characters were back and surely there had to be a bang-up, grabber of an opening. Well… I was wrong. Starting off with all due serenity, Pendergast and his ward, Constance, are seeking peace of mind at a secluded Tibetan monastery. Nothing much happens, and the stilted, phonetic dialogue from the monk characters is a bit off-putting in the first chapter or so.
In addition, Wheel of Darkness is a let-down because it is not nearly as scary or gory as its predecessor (and, from what I understand, others in the series). Still, once it picks up, it's an absorbing story. It centers on a rare, holy artifact known as The Agozyen (the 'wheel of darkness') that's been stolen from the monastery, and follows our protagonists on their quest to locate it before its potential evil is unleashed upon the world. There are some rather tedious, overlong scenes set on an ocean liner, but if you are willing to stick with this 400 page novel to the last sentence, you will not be disappointed.
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson