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Publisher's Summary

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?

Prolong the suspense: listen to the sequel, Reliquary.
©2007 Douglas Preston (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With its close-up view of museum life and politics, plausible scientific background, sharply drawn characters and a plot line that's blissfully free of gratuitous romance, this well-crafted novel offers first-rate thrills and chills." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Wildly cool....Thrill hounds couldn't ask for a creepier environment....a thriller staged in the world's scariest building, with no room for the squeamish." ( Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 05-26-10


Even thought "Relic" was published 'way back in 1994, it still delivers plenty of thrills and excitement after all these years. In my opinion, that test of timelessness indicates a good novel. The plot of "Relic" had the potential to flop, since it tells an improbable monster story. But Preston/Child's excellent writing and thorough research facilitate our willing suspension of disbelief, rendering even the most far-fetched plot concepts scientifically plausible. "Relic" grips you right from the beginning, and doesn't let go until the end. The extended sequence in the dark catacombs under New York's Natural History Museum provides unparalleled suspense. "Relic," unlike most thrillers, has no primary hero, but, rather, three or four protagonists. However, it commences a wonderful series of intelligent thrillers featuring the brilliant, erudite, albino F.B.I. agent Aloysius Pendergast, introduced in this novel. David Colacci gives us an excellent reading of this audiobook. I highly recommend "Relic" to any thriller aficionado.

87 of 96 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 08-26-08

Pleasantly surprised.

I read another Agent Pendergast novel before this one, and barely liked it. Not even sure why I bought this one, but I really liked it. The details about the museum and the research were fascinating, and the premise enjoyable. Much of the story reminded me of the old "Night Stalker" show.

Part of it you can believe, but some of it will tax credibility, and there are holes they don't even bother laying boards across, much less filling in. But overall, a good, smart, tense monster mystery that will have you deciding to drive slower or set your alarm half an hour later to fit in one more scene.

And the narrator fits the story--quick, accurate, detailed. Never trips over complicated science or academic terms. Good job.

55 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Personal Favorite

This is one of those books I have read more than once, but as soon as I saw it was available for download, I had to listen again. I love the whole series, but my favorites are the first two books, Relic and Reliquary. Although all the books can stand alone, it is particularly interesting to listen to them in order, since many of the characters are revisited as the series progresses.

If you enjoy a little science with your supense, you will definitely enjoy Preston and Child's books.

57 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Relic (Unabrigded)

This book was written in 1994. The technology is somewhat dated, but the story line was great. The narration is second to none. Like others, I bought this book because it was on sale, but it was truly entertaining. It is an early Pendergast novel, and it really sets the stage for novels later in the series. Even though the sci-fi gets a little incredible at the end, if you like a good sci-fi mystery, download this book. You will not be sorry.

56 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • Meredith
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 01-05-09

Nailbiting Thrills and Perfectly Drawn Characters

This is my first experience with Detective Pendergast and I can assure it will not be my last. I have already downloaded the sequel and can't wait to see what happens next. I was dubious of this monster type genre at first, but the museum provides such a titilating backdrop and the characters are so interesting that my preconceptions quickly fell away. You won't regret trying this one!

31 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Emiko
  • Grannis, AR, United States
  • 08-14-08

Great Book, NOTHING like the movie

I was leery of getting this book because I had seen the movie and it was HORRIBLE. However, the book is nothing like the movie. I am a big SciFi fan, and thoroughly enjoyed the twists of this book. I thought the authors did an extremely good job and the book wasn't predictable to me. I'm extremely picky about narrators and thought this one did an ok job. He didn't annoy me like a lot of narrators do.

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • 07-11-08

Excellent Listen!

This was undoubtedly an excellent listen. I have followed all the books for FBI Pendergast, and I was thrilled to see finally we have the beginning of all of the characters introduced in the later of the series. The characters are well developed and this book definetely kept me interested all the way to the epilogue... Cant wait to download Book 2.

30 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • GrandmaG
  • Kinnelon, NJ, United States
  • 10-27-12

Destined to become a classic

I am drawn to stories about the unknown - spooky stories about what lurks in the basement of a museum attract me. I had this story on my wish list for awhile, but put it on hold because I listened to another in this series - "Fever Dream", and although I liked the story, I was annoyed by the profanity (mostly from the NYC police officer) and by the attempted rape scene. However, my adult daughter read "Relic", and liked it. So I downloaded it. Yes, there is profanity in this book, too, mostly from the same Police Officer. That said, however, the authors are fantastic writers, IMO, and it is obvious that much research goes into their writing. I gave it 5 stars because it's one of those books with much suspense - you don't want to stop listening. There's no romance or sexual situations in this book. However, if you are put off by gory descriptions of decapitations and the like, you might not like this book.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Benjamin
  • Brentwood, MO, United States
  • 08-10-08

Pretty Good

The book doesn't really pick up until the second half, but when it gets rolling it's hard to stop listening. I immediately started listening to the second book in the "Pendergast series", The Reliquary, on the strength of Agent Pendergasts portrayal in, The Relic.

My main complaint is that the narrator's voicing of some characters, for example the scotsman, is annoyingly cliche. Also, some descriptions of technology circa 1996 are a tad overdone in the style of the movie "Hackers".

Finally, let me just say that there is a great payoff in the last few chapters and epilogue. I highly recommend listening all the way through this book.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Clever story; terrific narrator

I listened to Relic over a couple of long trips in the car recently. I would describe it as Michael Crichton meets Sherlock Holmes, and the story is engaging.

However, the narrator, David Colacci, turns a good listen into a great listen. He makes the characters come alive. You love Pendergast, root for D'agosta, and want to see Coffee flayed alive. Colacci may be the best Audible narrator I've ever listened to. I was crushed to see the sequel, Reliquary, is narrated by someone else. AUDIBLE, DO US A FAVOR AND BRING BACK COLACCI AS PENDERGAST IN RELIQUARY!

Last, the conclusion to Relic is clever and caught us totally off guard. As soon as the book ended, my wife and I went back to the first chapter to pick up the clues we missed the first time around. An excellent listen.

16 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • S. Brown
  • 11-19-11

Excellent book

This book was a different genre to what I normally listen to so I was unsure if I would like the book or not. However, Relic was a pleasant surprise. The story was gripping from start to finish and the final part of the book was breathtaking. I would recommend this book to anyone.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Daryl
  • 08-29-11

Gripping Plot and Gritty Characters

This is the first boom in the Pendergast series and introduces the listener to many of the characters used in future 'Pendergast' books. The plot twists and turns right from the beginning and leaves you wondering where it will go next. Gritty characters and great narration will get your pulse racing and biting your lip in anticipation of the next twist. Follow this up with Reliquary, then Preston's other 'Pendergast' books, they are all as gripping!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sondrasbooks
  • 04-07-13

Brilliant. I loved this book

This book was brilliant, with a wondefully gripping story that really draws you in. This story is so good you will want to read Pendergast book 2. Sci fi, adventure, murder, suspense, what more can you ask for. The story is also well read and this book ensures hours of pleasure.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mr
  • 02-12-13

Should have been left in the museum

Predictable, cliched "dark corridors, something down there" novel. Couldn't get in to it, didn't believe in it, bored by it and couldn't relate to the cardboard characters. Very disappointing given the quality of previous Lincoln Child output. Did he just put his name to it?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Craig
  • 09-21-12

Penderghastly at points

In the round, it's not a bad book but some parts are pretty tough to swallow. It's not until you get right to the end that there's a revelation which makes some of the more far-fetched parts of the book slightly more plausible. Not sure I'll go back for more from Preston and Child.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. M. Edwards
  • 05-14-17

Excellent thriller

I've obviously seen the film, but the book adds so many extra parts (such as Pendergast) that it's almost a different beast.
Very well researched and believably written, it is a fantastic book that flows by.
Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian Domr�se
  • 01-12-17

Sucker for stories like this.

Read the book multiple times when I was younger so one could say that it left a impression on me. Saw by chance that this was up as a audio book and got it straight away. A great find. Love the story. A bit old-school but nicely paced horror thriller. Like the voices and characters. Like the book, I will be back and listen to it every other season.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen C Cooper
  • 07-26-16

Good story, but worst Scottish accent

The story is enjoyable and in the main part well narrated. However the attempt at a Scottish accent was woeful. That said the story line and the characters shine through and make this a good companion for road trips.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vivienne
  • 02-19-16


Where does Relic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

By far the scariest.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Margot, because she made an excellent female protagonist.

What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

Clear and menacing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, if it hadn't been so long!

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. It was very scary, very compelling, and there is a high degree of plausibility about it. Who really knows what goes on with the lost tribes of the Amazon?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet Stewart
  • 07-18-13

Keeps you on the edge of seat

Would you consider the audio edition of Relic to be better than the print version?

Definitely,and narrated by David Colacci - he is just brilliant

Who was your favorite character and why?

Prendergast- I imagine him as Sherlock Holmes

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The jungle, the basement, the escape and the ending

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Excited - could wait to finish

Any additional comments?

A good action thriller - plenty of suspense and gore

1 of 1 people found this review helpful