Past and present collide in Preston and Child's most thrilling novel ever....
Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who - with brutal precision - begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear. Her finding is so astonishing that it, even more than the arsonist, threatens the resort's very existence.
Drawn deeper into the investigation, Pendergast uncovers a mysterious connection between the dead miners and a fabled, long-lost Sherlock Holmes story - one that might just offer the key to the modern day killings as well.
Now, with the ski resort snowed in and under savage attack - and Corrie's life suddenly in grave danger - Pendergast must solve the enigma of the past before the town of the present goes up in flames.
©2013 Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (P)2013 Hachette Audio
“Narrator René Auberjonois is perfection as he portrays the rip-roaring assortment of Preston and Child's over-the-top characters…Auberjonois's cool persona is ideal for the black-suited mystery-man Pendergast. As Corrie, he's a hard-headed 20-something who won't be bullied. A sadistic serial arsonist, a beleaguered sheriff, wizened miners, and "old money" interests give Auberjonois plenty of opportunities to dazzle.” (AudioFile)
"Sherlock Holmes fans will relish Preston and Child's 13th novel featuring eccentric FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after 2012's Two Graves), one of their best in this popular series...easily stands on its own with only passing references to Pendergast's complex backstory." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
"Another highly entertaining and genuinely thrilling story from Preston & Child starring their romantic, faintly gothic, and always mysterious FBI agent, Aloysius Pendergast. As always the prose is elegant, replete with exquisite descriptions, and this time we're treated to dashes of historic characters Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, as well as a positively delicious serving of the great Sherlock Holmes. Through myriad shocks, surprises, twists and turns, the suspense never lets up. Great fun to the last page." (Anne Rice)
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
I have been hoping to learn more about Corrie Swanson. Remember, we met Corrie in Still Life with Crows (book 4). Back then she had an abusive mother and no future. Pendergast took her under his wing and placed her in boarding school. She has been in and out of novels ever since. In this novel she is grown and attending John Jay College and play the central role throughout the novel.
Oscar Wilde and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (in the 1800s) setup the intrigue; and, before you even begin Chapter 1 you are hooked and titillated with some unknown ‘story of revulsion.’ Preston and Child perform their usual excellence in descriptive phase and dialog. I simply love the how they place you in the scene.
This is book 13 of the series and comes after the latest trilogy 10-12 which was heart wrenching and left many issues unresolved. Rene Auberjonis narrates the novel in his usual excellence. He has been the voice of this series since book 8 and continues to deliver.
This book is a must read. If you are new to the series, I encourage you to read Still Life with Crows first to get a good introduction to Corrie. Though you can jump straight to this novel because it does stand on its own. This is one of my most favorite series and I cannot recommend it more highly. For us Pendergast lovers, all I have to say is ‘He is back!’
Brutal, complex, and mysterious
After the introductory set up (which is to say after Colorado came into the story), the story was seductive. There was not much tension, but, having read or listened to all of the Pendergast books, I always knew that something was coming, but rarely knew what it was.
Pendergast, of course. But of the non-obvious characters, I really enjoyed the English former classmate, with his combination of thrill and reserve as he accompanies AP
No extreme reaction after I got over the central premise surrounding the miners. (I am wording things carefully here so as not to be a spoiler.)
I thought the Holmes novel was contrived. It was too short, unlike the other Holmes novels I have been reading since I was a kid.
I am really glad to have AP back after the poorly conceived "revenge" novels which came before this one.
Audible brings the entire world to me
I recommend listening to Still Life With Crows before this novel, as it gives the necessary back story for Corrie Swanson-- other than that, this could work as a stand alone novel.
Most of this novel takes place in Roaring Fork, Colorado (Aspen-like exclusive mountain resort.) Ms. Corrie Swanson takes the spotlight, now a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is on a mission to write a thesis on some grisly deaths (murders?) which happened in the town decades ago. The deaths are supposedly revealed in a long lost Sherlock Holmes story which was never published.
As Corrie tries to investigate by examining the bones of the long dead victims, she is met with resistance from the town leaders, and must be rescued once again by Pendergast. He arrives in town with his usual flair, and then stays on to make sure things don't go awry. At the same time, a serial arsonist has started burning down the mansions surrounding the main square, leaving the owners inside. It is a particularly horrible crime, as the bodies reveal what terror they must have gone through.
Overall a pretty decent story--however, I didn't find the character of Corrie very enjoyable in this one. She has continued on with her defiant, immature nature which came out in her first appearance in Still Life With Crows --but in that story she was a teenager. Hopefully Preston and Child will give her more depth if she is to continue as a character in future novels with Pendergast.
" I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.
I am a huge fan of A.X. Pendergast ever since 'The Relic' where I don't think anyone was sure that his character was going to be continued into a series. The last few books have all been written about his ex-wife & are classified as the 'Helen Trilogy', the books were by no means 'Bad' but I was not impressed by the quality nor the tangent these books threw our usually implacable A.X.P. into a world of shadow conspiracies, getting man-handled by 'uncouth brigands', killing more than a dozen people single-handed on a large yacht, & the questions unanswered after the 'Helen Books' were done. I'd like give my opinion that our Sherlock Holmes like character of A.X.P. is getting back to 'past form' & using his ultimate hero 'Afoot'. The eccentric detective with his unconventional methods, unique persona, & unlimited resources behind his obsessions to solve crimes.
I don't want to give away too much with this book but there are more than just one story arc & although I read some reviews from people lucky enough to get the book early there were a couple reviews that mentioned how Corrie stole the spotlight from him. I clearly do not think so! I can confidently say that before this book I liked her character as a supporting character but after reading this book I did not feel the same. She was the anti-establishment type personality in 'Still Life with Crows' & even in her other candid appearances in the books after, but I found her character growth showing her in a negative light. I'm not getting too specific but although she might have aged, her maturity level & lack of 'classy behavior' have not... & I don't mean she needed to be comparable to or as worldly achieved as a character like A.X.P. but I don't see how it would be possible for her to overshadow him in any book. This book reminded me of one of my favorite books which ironically is 'Still Life with Crows'. After that the 'Diogenes Trilogy' was also fantastic & the books that were released in between that time & leading to the 'Helen Trilogy', tended to range from satisfactory to slightly above average.
In this book there is even a reference to Conan Doyle & Sherlock Holmes himself & are worked into the story. Although I was able to guess what was to happen at the end about halfway thru, which is not something I could have done with past books, the story brought the 'old school' persona of A.X. Pendergast back to the front & I am looking forward to the next story P&C write regarding A.X.P. He is back to his old ways of putting self-entitled people back in place with a sharp tongue that's laced with honey & sarcasm, his enigmatic ways of breaking down a crime scene, along with his ability to banter & return salvo's with any antagonist. I really hope they don't make a spin-off with Corrie's character because as alluded to, they didn't "work together' the same way they did in Medicine Creek but both have arcs that cross at different points. Corrie is DEF. no 'Lt. D'Agosta' lol, but she's young & still has time to develop into a better supporting character that I felt P&C took away way too early with Smithback's demise.
I tried not to reveal much in this review because with certain mysteries or crime series I believe u need to read it all & figure out if u liked or disliked it without giving away too much of the plot, its not the same as reviewing other genre's. I focused more on the characters & they're current persona's in this book compared to the past & the overall plot undertones for the protagonist(s). Renee is always a great narrator for the Pendergast books & he doesn't disappoint here, I truly think that if anyone thought the A.X.P. books were straying a bit off the 'norm' in the past, P&C have brought it much closer to the 'roots' again. Its worth strapping on ur snowshoes & take a trip to Colorado.
White Fire is one of the top Pendergast stories. It's twists and turns kept me enthralled.
I liked the inclusion of the real life character Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The shifts from past to present created an interesting twist to the story.
I really enjoy Rene Auberjonois performances. I missed him in other Pendergast stories. He does Pendergast very well.
Probably not. This book requires attention to details. So the brain needs a break from time to time. Not a negative, though. I did finish it very quickly.
If you haven't read the entire Pendergast series, I highly recommend it.
As much as I like the Agent Pendergast series I am starting to tire of his near super hero abilities. No spoilers because I do enjoy the books but really the next thing you know Pendergast is going to be hopping into phone booths and switching into his black tights with a black letter “P” on them. Come on Preston and Child please stop coming up some of his ridiculous powers and make him more human again. Still a good listen but I prefer some of the earlier books.
Superb, but I think even he is having problems believably communicating some of Prendergast's super powers over the last few novels.
Super Pendergast comes out of the closet. Again.
I love the earlier books, please go back to "Holmes"ian powers of deduction and stick with that.
There are few things better than a good story well told!
Maybe so. I do not have the print version but Rene Auberjonois' reading is so spot-on it brings something extra to the Pendergast tales.
Yes, it never lagged. A very enjoyable combination of suspense, mystery and action.
This is probably least favorite books that I've read. The Story seemed formulaic and left much to be desired in terms of pacing and surprise. It was like a made-for-TV movie. It ended soon and felt very contrived and extremely convenient. I did like the repeated tie-ins to Sherlock Holmes.
I found the dialogue to be a bit contrived and cheesy. The story kept me interested, but I only listened to it when time allowed. I was never compelled to listen to it in one sitting. This book would be perfect as a clearance purchase.
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