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White Fire (Pendergast #13)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  15,548 Ratings  ·  1,765 Reviews
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, Pendergas ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing
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Lisa While you don't HAVE to, you will better understand Corrie's backstory and her relationship with Pendergast. It's not a continuation of a previous…moreWhile you don't HAVE to, you will better understand Corrie's backstory and her relationship with Pendergast. It's not a continuation of a previous book. (less)

Community Reviews

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Oct 21, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seeing Douglas Preston in person (twice) and Lincoln Child via Skype (once), I can’t help but be enthralled by the eccentricities of these two individuals, and the odd dynamic that must ensue from this powerful writing duo. So it’s hard not to see how Aloysius Pendergast might have developed from these two brilliant minds fully formed and ready for action. He’s odd and eccentric and intriguing and his dark suits never manage to get wrinkle, even when he’s bounding through snow drifts up to his c ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Steven rated it it was amazing
Preston and Child never cease to amaze and this book helps cement the fact that their Pendergast series remains to this day one of my top favorite series. do I really have to wait another year for another?

*Be on the lookout for a Q&A with the authors in the upcoming few weeks. I'll put links here, but it will be posted at Shelf Inflicted and a few other blogs! WITH A GIVEAWAY! :)


Corrie Swanson needs to make a huge splash on her thesis, as she’s competing in John Jay College’s Rosew
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
This book was really good, the story was very interesting and I love the connection to Arthur Conan Doyle. This is one of the best books in the series and I recommend it warmly!

As I never really enjoyed the Helen trilogy was I absolutely thrilled to finally read a Preston and Child book that had a really interesting and entertaining story. I was also glad that Corrie Swanson was back. She's a favorite character and I loved that she had a big part in this book!
Oct 20, 2013 Craig rated it it was ok
Not one of the better books from this team. Agent Pendergast takes a backseat to Corrie Swanson (from Still Life With Crows), his protege, and a student at John Jay College, majoring in criminology. She has to write a thesis and has stumbled on a series of grizzly bear maulings of miners in a Colorado mining camp, now turned into one of the priciest ski resorts in the country. At the same time, someone is targeting the homes and lives of these one-percenters, burning their houses down with the o ...more
Nov 10, 2013 Charleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't a huge fan of the Helen Trilogy, and I was unsure of this one in the beginning because Pendergast seemed to be very much on the periphery of the story... but in the end, I didn't have to worry. There's plenty of Pendergast to keep things feeling familiar, and I liked exploring his relationship with Corrie (makes me want to go back and read Still Life with Crows again). I was amused that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes played such a key role in the story, considering that Pend ...more
Jun 19, 2015 Carolyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
First up I have to admit that I have not read any of this series about FBI Agent Pendergast. However, I don't think that matters as it seems to be an off-shoot of the series entered on Pendergast's protege, Corrie Swanson.

Corrie is a college student who decides to enter a competition for the best forensic study by doing an in depth examination of some recently exhumed bones of a group of miners killed and eaten by a bear in the Rockies. However, when Corrie examines the bones she finds that the
Oct 09, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok
This was not a Pendergast book of note. Too much Corrie and not enought Pendergast. He's why I wait for the next in the series. Corrie pretty much annoyed me from the get go. Whiney, self-absorbed and quite stupid. There also didn't seem to be the thought, depth and layers that there normally are. I figured out who the arsonist was a quarter, maybe, of the way into the book. I realize that they can't bring back the older characters, but if Corrie is going to be a predominant character, I may dec ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Marvin rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've read the first novel of the Pendergast series, Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, when it first came out in the 90s. It didn't impress me much, at least not enough to check out another Pendergast novel. I'm assuming I didn't like it because I remember hardly any of it. I have the enviable skill of being able to mentally block out books I don't like. It is a helpful superpower in which only the political rants of Anne Coulter seem to be immune to. Anne Coulter is my Kryptonite. But ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Simi rated it it was ok
Sheesh. I have long been a fan of Pendergast. I mean, I think I may have a little crush on him- so I'm willing to suspend disbelief (he's a bit unreal) and put up with a bit of nonsense (it's genre thriller, nothing literary at all). But. This book utterly failed to live up to my expectations. I read it in two sittings and felt as it focused more on the protege than on Pendergast. The horror felt flat and the who-done-it aspect was not there. It pains me to think that this series may be on the d ...more
Nov 25, 2013 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

This story seemed--to me--a refreshing change back to the "old-style" Pendergast. His character seemed to regain much of his beloved "superiority" and unerring instincts that were sadly lacking from some previous books. Although I'm not a fan of Corrie Swanson (with the exception of her debut in STILL LIFE WITH CROWS), her character didn't bother me quite as much or "detract" unnecessarily from the overall narrative.

Also pleasant to note was that this was a stand-alone novel, and not
Oct 25, 2013 Minnette rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
This was a Pendergast novel that was not really worth the wait. I have been an avid lover of the series, but was very disappointed with this one. The story line was ok but I really missed the usual team of characters. They were all briefly mentioned but not in a way that moved the story along in any way. Pendergast himself was missing in a great deal of the book. I didn't understand why Preston and Child made Corrie the center of the book and then wrote her in such a whiny, spoiled, selfish way. ...more
Nov 12, 2013 Mihir rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: After the traumatic events showcased in Two Graves, readers were presented with a broken Pendergast (mentally, and a bit world-weary). So readers were interested to see what would happen to him post the revelations of the climax of the Helen Pendergast trilogy. What I liked was how the authors decided to side-step reader expectations.

This book is a standalone story and focuses on Corrie Swanson as she is looking for a historical project
Dec 16, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of great thrillers
Pendergast returns after the "Helen trilogy" which for me was somewhat a dip in the road in the series as written by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. For one I do not like books with open endings and reading one story over three years, one that occasionaly flirted more than any book before with an too overly amount of suspense of disbelieve.

But all is well with this new tale of Pendergast & Corrie Swanson, his protege and one of the persons he protects and stimulates. This tale of Americ
Dec 18, 2013 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Corrie Swanson has gotten herself into some trouble with the local law in a small Colorado skiing town, so Special Agent Pendergast, much to her chagrin and (quiet) gratitude, arrives to save the day. It seems Ms. Swanson’s research into some long ago “bear attacks” has the town worried about what she may uncover. Add that to some sudden mysterious cases of arson of multi-million dollar mansions, and Aloysius knows he has a little investigating to do. Coincidentally, there is also a connection w ...more
Oct 16, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
Ah Pendergast, you have returned and I am so very glad to see you are back in form. Preston & Child have also returned to form with White Fire, providing their mix of suspense and thriller with bits of historical background to support the present day story.

Another good element here is the presence of Corrie Swanson, Pendergast's very bright, but somewhat brash, protegee first met in Still Life With Crows. She has come to Colorado to work on her thesis in forensics by studying the bones of ea
Bob Milne
Oct 15, 2013 Bob Milne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's thirteenth Agent Pendergast adventure being a stand-alone tale, and one that begins with his protégée, Corrie Swanson, taking center stage, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. Fortunately, White Fire proved to be everything we've come to expect from the man in black . . . and then some.

As it turns out, having Corrie take the lead was a smart move. The events of the Diogenes Trilogy (dealing with his brother) and the Helen Trilogy (dealing with his wife) r
Dec 30, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone

White Fire is the newest book about the ever-intriguing Special Agent Prendergast.

I received a copy of White Fire from the publisher via the good graces of blogger Steven White. In return, with many thanks to Steven, I am writing my honest review of this novel.

Although I have not read the entire series, I have enjoyed several of them (and must remember to write up a few missing reviews in my copious free time). I have missed a few of the later books, so this novel picks up in unfamiliar territo
Oct 31, 2013 Lanie rated it really liked it
I read this book when it came out in November. I fell in love with it right away. A Pendergast novel is always a great gift to unwrap. He is clearly my favorite FBI agent. He's odd, he's brilliant, he doesn't like rules and he gets results. His oddities and his equally odd family are one of the reasons I will never stop reading them. Thank you, Doug and Linc, for giving us this wonderful character and his crazy family. Along with his family, there is another kind of family. His friends, colleagu ...more
John Connolly
Mar 05, 2014 John Connolly rated it liked it
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have been writing together since about 1995, I think, although I seem to remember that Relic, their first collaboration, was attributed in the UK to “Preston Child,” and only later were they surgically separated, as it were. Again, there is a slight shift in style between the writers, with Preston, I’d guess, being the denser prose stylist.

White Fire is the thirteenth of their books to feature FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast, many of which have been good fun. They
Nov 16, 2013 TJ rated it really liked it
"White Fire", the latest Pendergast novel from Preston and Child is another terrific entry in the series that won't disappoint the FBI agent's legion of fans. Pendergast actually shares center stage with his young protege', Corrie Swanson, in this adventure set in a fabulously-rich gated community near the Continental Divide.

Swanson, in attempt to finish her thesis for a law class, stumbles on to a 150-year old mystery while doing her research in Roaring Fork, CO. As she searches for answers to
Toby Tate
Nov 11, 2013 Toby Tate rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of all things Pendergast, have read them all beginning with THE RELIC, and this is one of the best. Corrie Swanson, whom we all met back in STILL LIFE WITH CROWS, is going after a career in law enforcement with the help of her mentor, Pendergast. She is trying to write a research paper that will please her asshat of a college professor, and runs across some very unusual and gruesome killings that happened a century ago and appeared to be caused by a grizzly bear. Well, it wasn't ...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 24, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5 A new Pendergast is a cause for celebrations, he is such a strange and unique character with such an intriguing back story. In this one his back story takes a back seat, so to say, and his protege Corrie, takes a much more active role.

An old silver mining town, that has now become a very expensive skiing enclave for the very wealthy. An old cemetery, old bones and a very old story Oscar Wilde told Conan Doyle, in the late 1800's when they found themselves in the same place. Now adding Wilde
Jul 28, 2013 Gatorman rated it liked it
Likeable but rather slight entry in the Pendergast series. Much more background than actual plot in the story and the character of Corrie continues to annoy. Pendergast is good as always and the story moves along nicely, but there just isn't much going on here and it pales in comparison to the prior Pendergast/Corrie novel, Still Life With Crows. I fear the series is getting tired and the authors are too afraid to shake things up or create a really intense, hard-edged story for fear that many of ...more
Mar 17, 2017 itchy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft
what joy it is to read how axl pendergast puts some unfortunate person in his/her place

p237: "...i'll remove them with a tweezers back at the connaught...."

p355: he reached into his coat, slid out his custom les baer 1911 colt, ejected the magazine, checked it, slid it back into place, and racked a round into the chamber.
some custom job, that one

p367: "...i had my bump key... picked the cuffs... just in time..."
i... don't... think... so... unless the cuffs were made by master
Amy Lignor
Nov 15, 2013 Amy Lignor rated it it was amazing
“The shudder of fear is as sensual as the shudder of pleasure, if not more so.” This is a line that speaks volumes when it comes to putting together a review of this latest incredible novel by Preston & Child.

Special Agent Pendergast is a character that has become beloved by millions. From his introduction in ‘The Relic’ to his incredible growth and presence in a score of others, Special Agent Pendergast books have literally been A+ across the board.

In this new offering, the line above is s
Nov 19, 2013 Ware rated it it was amazing
Writers like scientists, stand on the shoulders of giants. While, as Hemingway asserted, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn." all modern detective fiction owes a great debt, if not an acknowledgment of its origin to Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In White Fire Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, not only acknowledge that debt to Conan Doyle, they give us a "new" unpublished Holmes story which is key to Aloysius Pendergast solving
Stewart Tame
Nov 01, 2013 Stewart Tame rated it it was amazing
Happiness is a new Preston & Child book. Sadness is finishing a new Preston & Child book and realizing one now has to wait for the next one. While this is yet another novel featuring their series character, Pendergast, it's a fairly accessible starting point. Some of the back story is alluded to, but in terms too vague to really spoil much. White Fire is a tautly constructed thriller that grabs the reader by the neck and doesn't let go until the final page. As an added bonus, we get a br ...more
For most of the book, White Fire was a solid four stars, maybe even pushing five. Agent Pendergast gets his groove back, and it's fun to see him sassing the folks who annoy him. However, by the last hundred pages or so I was deeply frustrated with the portrayal of Pendergast's protégé Corrie Swanson. Overall, I've liked her presence in the past few stories, however, this volume frustrated me beyond all reason. During the whole story, she moved from one stupid decision to the next, ignoring her c ...more
J Stanley
Sep 30, 2014 J Stanley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
I thought this book was great. The story bringing in a tale from the 1870's told to Oscar Wylde. Then how he told it to Conan Doyle, which leads to a lost Holmes story. That lost story being key to solving the case today. One part I wish was told a bit better was the cover up happening today. It was always there but never made a big point to the story as a whole. Yet the reason why things were taking shape was because of the cover up. I'm being vague not wanting to give away the book. This story ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Skip rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
FBI Special Agent Pendergast's favorite new pet, Corrie Swanson, is attending John Jay College when she gets approval to look into a number of century-old miner deaths, supposedly eaten by a bear. The bones are disinterred a part of a plan to build a new clubhouse for an uber-rich ski area. Corrie breaks all of the rules, and gets arrested, but is rescued by Pendergast. Then a series of horrific fires starts killing off the mega-wealthy residents. A third story line, helping solve the mystery, r ...more
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Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr ...more
More about Douglas Preston...

Other Books in the Series

Pendergast (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Relic (Pendergast, #1)
  • Reliquary (Pendergast, #2)
  • The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, #3)
  • Still Life With Crows (Pendergast, #4)
  • Brimstone (Pendergast, #5; Diogenes, #1)
  • Dance of Death (Pendergast, #6; Diogenes, #2)
  • The Book of the Dead (Pendergast, #7; Diogenes, #3)
  • The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8)
  • Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9)
  • Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10)

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“A strange, pale figure emerged—Pendergast?—and she felt herself suddenly in his arms, lifted bodily as if she were a child again, her head cradled against his chest. She felt his shoulders began to convulse, faintly, regularly, almost as if he was weeping. But that was, of course, impossible, as Pendergast would never cry.” 8 likes
“Carroting, you must understand, was a process by which animal fur is bathed in a solution of mercury nitrate, in order to render the hairs more supple, thus producing a superior felt.” At this last word, he threw a significant glance in my direction. “Felt,” I repeated. “You mean, for the making of hats?” “Precisely. The solution is of an orange colour, hence the term carroting. However, this process had rather severe side effects on those who worked with it, which is why its use today is much reduced. When mercury vapours are inhaled over a long enough period of time—particularly, for our purposes, in the close quarters of a hat-making operation—toxic and irreversible effects almost inevitably follow. One develops tremors of the hands; blackened teeth; slurred speech. In severe cases, dementia or outright insanity can occur. Hence the term mad as a hatter.” 2 likes
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