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The Wheel of Darkness

(Pendergast #8)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  25,115 ratings  ·  1,205 reviews
At a remote monastery in Tibet, a rare and dangerous artifact mysteriously disappears. Aloysius Pendergast agrees to take up the search that leads him and Constance to the maiden voyage of the Britannia--and to an Atlantic crossing fraught with terror.
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2007)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Cindy Veneris You are right, it was a man. I noticed that and wondered about it too. I wish Preston or Child would answer this question!
Jenna It helps if you read the Pendergast novels in order. Here's a great site that may help:

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  25,115 ratings  ·  1,205 reviews

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Start your review of The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8)
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, buddy-read
The Wheel of Darkness was my least favorite of the Pendergast series.

"But Ginger, you still gave it 3 stars?!"
"Well, have you read any Pendergast books yet my fellow Goodreads friend?"
"Well, let me explain. So far, every book has been fun, suspenseful and entertaining. At times the books can creep you the fuck out! I mean, they can't all be 5 star books. Right?!"

Why did I give this a lower rating?

I think the unbelievability with this plot was a bit much for me along with how Pendergast and
Sean Gibson
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is calamari.

Before I explain WHY this book is calamari, it’s important to note two things: 1) in a pretty spot-on demonstration of my poor taste, going back to Relic, I’ve elected to use food metaphors to describe each book in a series that usually features serial killers; and 2) I hate seafood, with one exception.

Wheel of Darkness sees the Pendergast series careening wildly through thriller tropes and treading dangerously close to parody territory. If Sherlock Holmes, Bruce Lee, and M
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, if you thought Pendergast went odd adventures before . . . you haven't seen anything yet! 

This is a book that as I try to review I fear that anything I say will be a spoiler.  When that is the case, I find a bullet point review lets me share my thoughts without giving too much away.

- The book has a slightly different feel than any of the previous ones
- You can read this one as a stand alone. However there are a few points that tie it back into the rest of the books that will be spoilers i
Following the horrors of their last adventure, Special Agent Pendergast knows his ward, Constance Greene, needs a breather, a trip to renew her physically and psychologically. What better place to renew and become mentally stronger than a Tibetan monastery? Although the monks don't normally admit women, Constance is special. She learns much from them during her time there. Then the monks discover that a dangerous artifact that has been in their keeping for centuries has been stolen. They ask Pen ...more
TS Chan
3.5 stars.

Not as good as the last few books but still makes for a compulsive, addictive read. The bulk of the story took place on a massive luxury ocean liner; a setting which can give one the creeps when faced with mysterious disappearances, a gruesome suicide and murders while stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The plotline was a bit ludicrous, treading into the supernatural with Eastern mysticism as its basis. As much as I enjoyed the supernatural, it felt inconsistent with the series
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little different from the other Pendergast books in this series, but not to its detriment for me. It was an interesting mystery, and the resolution was certainly exciting to the end! The Preston/Child writing style certainly holds to form here as well as this was a very easy feeling book to read. I recommend as a continuation of the overall Pendergast series. 4.0/5.0 stars for me.
Tom Kouhsari
Mar 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
There are two types of people who rate this book highly. Those that have never read the rest of the Pendergast series and those whose understanding of the rest of the Pendergast series is skin deep.

This book is an insult to the rest of the series. I wonder if Preston and Child just got to the point where they said "I bet we can write any piece of garbage and put our names on it and put the name Pendergast in it and people will still love it"

Anyway, you could easily have written this book and rep
Steven Turek
Sep 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
After a leaving their last book soaked with uncertainty, Preston and Child return with a very disappointing conclusion. Many a thread are left untied with the conclusion of this book. In their past books they have treated the unknown with science and explanation, but here they delve way too deeply into the supernatural. The ending is remenicent of the deus ex machina endings of ancient Greek theatre. The authors build up the suspense, but then take the easy way out by having very improbable thin ...more
kartik narayanan
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
After the disappointing Diogenes trilogy, Agent Pendergast is back in a much better book. The story is set in Tibet & on an ocean liner which brings back the feeling of claustrophobia that existed in The Relic. In addition, Constance is now a much more involved character which brings that extra oomph that was missing.

Not everything is great though. The ending is a deus ex machina. Plus, the plot point used here is quite similar to the plot point in The Book of the Dead.

So, The Wheel of Darkness
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Another great Pendergast adventure!
Oct 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the Pendergast series
This is the latest book in the "Pendergast series" from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's their superhero FBI agent at it once again, saving lost pieces of art, relics and outwitting everyone all while making you, the reader, feel like you need to go out and start buying Hugo Boss suits and driving around in vintage luxury cars.

Actually, this book is a departure from the usual behavior of Agent Pendergast. He actually becomes a victim of sorts in this book and it's interesting to see Pres
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action, horror
It was good to read one of the Pendergast series again. These books have been consistently good, and this one was no exception . These authors know how to develop characters, which is the most vital part of a book for me. I will return to the series to see what happens to the characters- the rest of the plot is a bonus.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: neo-pulp, mystery
Pendergast brings Constance Green to a Lamasery in Tibet to learn super secret meditation techniques. It turns out to be a timely visit, as a mystic object that can bring the end of human existence was recently stolen.

Pendergast quickly tracks it to The Britannia, the biggest cruise ship in the the world. From there we get snippets of The Titanic, Cruise into Terror, The Caine Mutiny, Deep Rising,and several other ship board movies. Speed 2 was conspicuous by its absence, in a good way.

On the w
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love most of what these guys Douglass Preston and Lincoln Child write together. But I esecially love the story line of FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast and his "ward" Constance Greene.Yeah the books are a bit over the top and Agent Pendergast gets away with ALOT of stuff no Real FBI agent would, but the books are great. Always some end of the world /Crazy person with a venetta to destroy everything plot , and yet always different and fresh. This one takes place on a brand new Ocean Liner called B ...more
J.S. Bailey
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I have a hard time getting into Preston & Child novels. Their plots are interesting but we never really get to know the characters. Just who is Pendergast, and who is Constance? What are their motivations? Their hopes? Their dreams? Their fears? I gather from reading that Constance is immeasurably old but still looks very young, but I don't know what led to her longevity. These characters, as well as the "supporting" cast, seem paper-thin to me because they're really just a name and a face and n ...more
Audiobook review. Sometimes I want to give a book zero stars. This is one of those books. Having read a few books in this series and enjoyed them, I was expecting at least a 2.5-star experience. Scott Brick has ably narrated previous novels. This one is narrated by actor René Auberjonois, who’s most entertaining when reading fun, bit characters like a cranky old woman or an intoxicated man. The rest of the time, he’s rather low energy, and at times, it’s difficult to discern when he switches cha ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story is the first after the Diogenes stories. Pendergast takes Constance to a Tibetan monastery for some meditation. While there, one of the group asks Pendergast to look into the theft of the Agozyen, an artifact the monks were guarding.

Thus begins a trans Atlantic ship crossing, with the detectives on the trail of a thief/murderer.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
An entertaining audiobook read by the late René Auberjonois. The story felt limited by its ocean liner setting but the parts in Tibet were great.

Go baby Lama!
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
Oh, this was quite good. There was a stronger sense of mysticism to this novel than there have been even before, and I very much appreciated that.

The one thing that sometimes nags at me about Preston/Child books is that they go so in-depth with the detailing of certain aspects about novels. In this one, it had to do with nautical terms. They crash course you, and while I appreciate learning something new, there's no way I attained even half of the information thrown at me. Still, I am glad that
Lee Miller
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
The language is arch to the point of smugness, the situations are ridiculous, and the characters are absurd, but I couldn't put it down. It's as if two writers got together and said "let's take a junior high boys' James Bond fantasy and see how far we can stretch it before it breaks."

And, for some odd, reptilian-brain reason, it worked, at least for me. A major theme involved Tibetan mysticism, which added a fun, exotic feel. I also enjoyed the fact that much of the action took place on an ocean
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you look at this book individually, it's not entirely bad. Mystery novels are supposed to be a fun romp with a whodunit. But when you look at this book as compared to the rest of the series it belongs to, it becomes a bit worse. Nothing about The Wheel of Darkness added to the series. The plots drew from Titanic and Sherlock Holmes. And dare I say, the characters seemed to have different personalities. I just hope this book was a fluke and the rest of the series will shine.
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am in love with this series. I gobble each one up. Pendergast is one of my favorite characters in modern fiction and I can’t get enough of him.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Constance and Pendergast take on spiritual studies at a remote monastery in Tibet. While there a monk informs them of an object that has been stolen. Something powerful that is enclosed in a box but no one knows what is inside. Pendergast must find it. Constance and Pendergast trace the stolen box to the ocean liner, Britannia and end up on a cruise from hell, literally. This book also gives a bit of insight into the Pendergast in future books as he is altered in a way that will change him forev ...more
Okay, this was a tough one.

From what I’ve read so far and in my own personal opinion, within Preston/Child’s series about FBI agent extraordinaire Aloysius Pendergast the books are either very good (like, for example, Still Life With Crows) or not good at all (Relic).

Interestingly enough, “The Wheel of Darkness” was a bit in between.

Maybe I should mention that I haven’t read “Brimstone”, “Dance of Death” or “The Book of the Dead” up until now, so Constance was a new character for me, but I li
Martin Gibbs
Jan 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: zzzgarbage
I'm sorry, no. I loved the Relic and the Reliquary (there really are folks who live in the undergound subway tunnels, and it is a fascniating study). There was a possibility of truth to both, because there possibly are plant chemicals that could warp your brain and turn you into a monster.

But this?

I have never thrown out a book, until I read this. For long and long, it seemed Preston and Child wrote things that bordered on paranormal, but still had a logical explanation. They still held my inter
Rebecca (agirlirlblog, bekkilyn)
This book is one of the standalone books in the Pendergast series, though of course one will have a deeper understanding of some of the characters by having read the earlier books, particularly when it comes to Constance, Pendergast's ward, who takes a much more prominent role than Pendergast in much of the book.

One of the most interesting parts of this book is an event that shows that Pendergast is not infallible and cannot always keep himself from from harmful influence. I was uncomfortable th
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Disappointing after the thrilling Diogenes trilogy. However, still an enjoyable, quirky read.

8/11/18 Update: reading for a 2nd time with my daughter while on vacation in Seattle, WA. We'll see how I like it this time around & it will be interesting to have my daughter's experience to add to mine.
We finished listening to the audiobook on our way back home. My daughter agrees with my 3*** rating & adds that she found it had too many supernatural elements that had no basis in reality, unlike previo
Sep 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Kind of like an old boyfriend who I'm tired of but keep hanging out with out of guilt. This book had it's moments of fun, and Pendergast is always great to read about. Problem is, he didn't really DO much in this book. It had a really good premise, but just got lazy and ended with a fizzle. Did I love it? No. Will I read the next Lincoln-Child bit of fluff that comes out? You betcha.
John Inman
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. On to #9, Cemetery Dance. I guess I have to say this is my most favorite series of all time. Nine books in and I'm not the least bit bored. Not sure how many more Pendergast books there are, but I know I'll read them all. And probably more than once.

I'm not sure what was more ridiculous, a clammy, smoky, malevolent, many-armed world-destroying demon released from a Tibetan painting, or this: "Quickly, he arrayed in his mind the thousand greatest paintings of the Western tradition."

On the other hand, you have to tip your hat to the authors' mastery of the terminology of ocean liners, nauticalness, and general shippery. There was a pleasing casino scene, and there was a certain Agatha Christieness to this hybrid of locked-room-mystery-aboard-
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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

Other books in the series

Pendergast (1 - 10 of 19 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)
  • Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9)
  • Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10)
  • Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11)

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