Book Review: Relic by Preston and Child

Working in the library I was constantly seeing the many books Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child wrote together. I had been interested in trying them out for a while, and I finally decided to sit down and read Relic, billed as the first in a rather extensive series (yay!) featuring FBI Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast.


Relic starts out in the Amazon jungle in the midst of an expedition of anthropologists and the like from the lauded Natural History Museum in New York. After an ominous beginning, the story propels forward almost a decade to the ‘present day’ (present day 1995) happenings of the Natural History Museum.

Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human…

But the museum’s directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders.

Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who-or what-is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre?


Ph.D. candidate Margo Green and journalist Bill Smithback become the main POV, as they experience several strange murders within the museum itself. After a number of deaths, Agent Pendergast appears, not as a deus ex machina, but as a mysterious FBI agent from New Orleans who has had previous experience on a similar case.

On the cover, the novel is billed as “Alien meets Jurassic Park in New York City”, and I would say that it is an accurate description. Relic was both exciting and interesting, the science seeming to be, if not accurate, at least believable (though I am no expert) and the suspense was at times nerve-wracking – in the best sense.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have the sequel, Reliquary, already on hold at my local library.

I am also excited that there is such an extensive series featuring Agent Pendergast (as well as some of the characters from Relic). I plan on reading them all.

Low R: For some violence, descriptions of dismemberment and blood, and high suspense.



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