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(Pendergast #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  99,918 ratings  ·  3,694 reviews
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 G
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1995)
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Ashlie Craig I honestly don't think reading the book will ruin the movie. Like most adaptations there are some glaring differences but the key points are the same.…moreI honestly don't think reading the book will ruin the movie. Like most adaptations there are some glaring differences but the key points are the same. I just finished reading the book and watching the movie in 2021 and have to say that I love them both(less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  99,918 ratings  ·  3,694 reviews

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Sean Gibson
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I really want a hot dog.

I don’t care that it’s filled with crunchy bits of pig hoofs or that it’s encased in a horse’s transverse colon or even that it will provide enough sodium to last me for the next 75 years. I just want to bite into that thick, juicy tube o’ meat and let the uniquely succulent flavor of indulgence course through my veins even as it drips greasy trails of superfluous yumminess down my chin.

That’s kind of how I feel about thrillers. I don’t read them all the time,
Jeffrey Keeten
”Every sixty to seventy million years or so, life starts getting very well adapted to its environment. Too well adapted, perhaps. There is a population explosion of the successful life forms. Then, suddenly a new species appears out of the blue. It is almost always a predatory creature, a killing machine. It tears through the host population, killing, feeding, multiplying. Slowly at first, then ever faster.”

 photo relic-creature_zpsnthpiyxn.jpg

The Amazon has always been an attractive source for exploration for the scientific co
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book that was so intense and absorbing in some areas you were reading so fast, and you thought, ''did I read all of that part ?'' This is one of those books.
I have to thank Matthew for his recommendation on this one.
This was an enjoyable thriller read for me. Since I had worked before in an Art Museum as security personal and then curator, I could place myself in that atmosphere.
It was a great thriller with different twists
I can't wait to read more from these authors
This is
Mike (the Paladin)
This is another book (series of books) I was introduced to by my late wife (we were married 34 years before she passed so there were quite a few books we ended up sharing, sometimes to the surprise of each of us. I introduced her to things like epic fantasy she "introed" me to things like, well Preston/Child or Koontz). I am surprised not only that I liked it (them) but that I decided to give it 4 stars.

This is a surprisingly absorbing read and the Pendergast character while he could have ended
Aug 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Days before the New York Museum of Natural History is about to have a huge gala exhibition, people are getting murdered within the museum. Is it a serial killer, or something even more dangerous?

This was an extremely enjoyable thriller, and I had a hard time putting it down. I loved the setting, in a very large museum, with tons of dark creepy rooms filled with rare artifacts, dinosaur bones, and lots of winding tunnels running underneath. I really liked some of the characters, like Pendergast,
Dirk Grobbelaar
Some thoughts.

Now, this isn’t really a review, simply because too much time has passed since I actually read the novel to form any objective and cohesive opinion on its literary merit. What I would like to focus on is what remained with me.

I’m sticking to my original rating. This novel is one of the few that my wife and I still discuss on a rather regular basis, even after all this time.

Relic ticked quite a few of the right boxes. Such as:
(1) Atmospheric setting. In this case, the museum.
A good mix of science and suspense. Reminds me of Michael Crichton. Very thrilling - lots of good twists that I did not see coming.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book, 2017
I loved Relic and definitely plan to read more books in this series. Relic was entertaining and suspenseful from the beginning to the end! It was totally riveting and the tension just builds and builds. I literally could not keep turning the pages fast enough.

What I loved about it:

The creature was intelligent, cunning and scary enough to freak you out! And the mystery behind the origin of the creature was well thought out.

The setting of the dark chambers of the museum was fantastic for a creatur
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relic is the first book in the Pendergast series co-written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I'd heard of the books and knew they were highly recommended, but I never dove into them. Recently, a blogger friend suggested I give the series a chance (thanks Mae), so I ordered Relic from the library and read this 1995 hit. Now I need to watch the movie, although I hear they dropped a key character. What!?! This first book combines a bit of supernatural/evolution with science, thriller and suspe ...more
Ashley Marie
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ashley Marie by: Steven, and Seanish
3.5 stars rounded up because I liked the characters.

Well... I started this in 2016, so it counts! Bahahaha. Slammed the last 40% last night when I got home (most of it) and finished the Epilogue this morning. Woof. Talk about action and pacing... and that revelation in the last few pages! Yikes!

Starting this, I felt like I was reading a Jurassic Park knockoff. Not in a bad way, but it was all super-sciencey and talked about a prehistoric creature from the Amazon. The museum setting was fantasti
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'll be damned! This silly book turned out to be one big, over the top, cheesy, load of fun! I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I’ve read some reviews where people called The Relic a mystery horror (and I guess in some ways it is) but I tend to look at it as a crazy, disaster, monster film. If you took The Position Adventure, threw in a furry, brain-eating, velociraptor, and then had a total nincompoop in charge of the rescue mission -- that would be this book. Yes it’s that crazy. There are lots of WTF
 Li'l Owl
He who walks on all fours.....

Upper Xingú
Sept. 17, 1987

Montague, I’ve decided to send Carlos back with the last crate and go on alone in search of Crocker. Carlos is trustworthy, and I can’t risk losing the crate should anything happen to me. Take note of the shaman’s rattle and other ritual objects. They seem unique. But the figurine I’ve enclosed, which we found in a deserted hut at this site, is the proof I’ve been looking for. Note the exaggerated claws, the reptilian attributes, the hints
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ooh, this was a perfect spooky read for October. Several of my coworkers have raved about the Pendergast series, and despite feeling daunted by the number of books on the list, I decided to check out the first one.

"Relic" is the story of a mysterious creature from the Amazon who somehow finds its way to New York City and goes on a killing spree in the Museum of Natural History. FBI Agent Pendergast has been tracking the suspicious killings and works with scientists at the museum to catch the be
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
RELIC is the book that launched the brilliant Agent Pendergast series. As with all Preston/Child books, this one offers plenty of science, adventure, and mystery. The Pendergast series is a testament to genuine genius on the part of these two amazing authors.
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange case where I’ve been taking some notes while I was reading the book, which I rarely do, and said notes were mostly negative, but I still enjoyed the book immensely.

I think this is almost a tale of two halves. In the beginning I wasn’t quite sure if I’m reading a mystery, or a thriller, or a horror novel, or maybe even science-fiction. The first chapter actually makes it quite clear what this is going to be, but then it felt a little like the authors were trying to pretend this is somet
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
This was recommended to me by several visitors to my site, but I'm sorry folks, I simply couldn't finish it. Cardboard, cliched characters and a monster on a rampage in a museum don't quite add up to a great read. I gave it a good effort, the quick readability of it got me halfway through it but I don't care how it ends or who lives or dies. I'm moving on. ...more
Gary K Bibliophile
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Relic is the first of the popular and long running Pendergast book series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. At the time I am writing this there are 19 in the series. The good news for me is that since I thoroughly enjoyed this one I’m looking forward to many more by Preston/Child.

Aloysius X.L. Pendergast is a southern FBI agent who is very well educated, courteous and well spoken, and he’s also not above breaking a few rules to get things done. He has an interesting knack of breaking th
TS Chan
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
3.5 stars.

Relic marks a promising start in my attempt to read more crimes/mysteries/thrillers aside from Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon books.

This novel has all the necessary ingredients to satisfy the requirements of a page-turning thriller. Set in the massive New York Museum of Natural History, the element of horror around the gruesome and brutal killings has just the right atmospheric tone to make the narrative creepy enough without being too cheesy.

The story started with two separate Prologues
I've never rode a rollercoaster because am too chicken to ride one. While reading this book, I said to myself, "Is this is how a rollercoaster ride would feel? The extent of thrill boderdering on... horror?"
What an adrenaline rush has been, this ride I mean read! :D
Enough said. I am off to read the sequel(s).

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

“What we have here is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

When I was a young horror-watching gal, I used to watch Relic. I didn’t know it was based on a book, but I enjoyed its fun monster movie gimmicks set in a conveniently too-dark museum. The past few years I’ve seen mention of these authors, and even had an unread book of theirs donning my shelves, yet I knew nothing about them. I wasn’t sure if they wrote horror, mystery, but knew I’d figure it out eventually. (edited to note
Re-read for the second time. I had forgotten how much action there was in this book as I hadn't read it since its first publication in 1995, when I was introduced to Agent Pendergast.

The first part of the book starts out a little slow as it provides the back drop for the story and then the last half of the story the action begins.

What better way to spend the day at a museum without a care in the world until you find out there is a creature loose in the place and no one knows where it could be o
Olivier Delaye
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some books come into your life exactly at the right time for you to welcome them with open arms. This is one of them. I wanted fast-paced action, and I got it. I wanted half-real/half-madeup pseudo-science kind of a la Crichton, and I got it. I wanted scary, and I got that by the bucketload. I wanted at least one great character to get to know and care about and have fun hanging out with, and I got him—I mean, Pendergast is amazing and his personality is so endearing I’d have a hard time finding ...more
Gianfranco Mancini

Sci-fi thriller meets creature feature horror in a page turning novel with a strong "X-Files" vibe packed with twists, action, chills and a great ending that sadly was spoiled to me by watching the 1997 movie based on it.
I used to like a lot that flick, but the book is far better and I just not understand some of the changes filmakers made like deleting agent Pendergast from the storyline and calling the monster with the name of the tribe Kothoga instead of Mbwun" ("He Who Walks On All Fours").
kartik narayanan
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whew! I just finished Relic and it was mind blowing. The pacing and atmosphere make this an intense read like nothing else. The story is simple & straightforward - in the words of Hudson (Aliens), its a bug hunt. But what a bug hunt. I am still getting over it.

I have seen the movie before and it is quite forgettable. The book is way better - in terms of characterization, the dialogues as well as the sense of creeping dread one gets as the book progresses.

In conclusion, it is a great read. Go for
aPriL does feral sometimes
I have a confession to make! Do not judge me too harshly. Although I enjoy reading classic literary novels, and respectable Pulitzer Prize and Booker Prize award-winning books, and challenging books that are taught in Great Literature classes, and informative topical non-fiction - I also am a fan of the Silly Saturday SyFy horror movies! I watch them all day and into the night! (Ok, ok, I look away a lot.) The traditional classic horror scenarios of being trapped and hunted down one by one on a ...more

3.5 stars. This was a great mystery/thriller that was raised above the norm by two elements. The first was the inclusion of a very interesting SF/supernatural element into an otherwise straight-forward crime drama.  This may have had a more positive impact on me since my reading tastes tend to run towards speculative fiction and so the "X-file" element was very welcome. 

The second was the character of Aloysius Pendergast, the charming, brilliant, FBI agent with a Southern acc
MINI REVIEW: A chilling thriller that takes place mostly in a colossal museum in NYC. Don't be fooled if you hate museums. It's still very interesting with a combination of horror, sleuthing and melodrama.

Characters are mostly vivid and while one could argue several plot points were predictable they were still satisfying. BTW, the movie is a terribly poor representation of the book.

**re-read** (third time) CD special S/L edition. My first Preson/Child novel--the one that started it all. Still a favorite after all these years!
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

My introduction to Preston and Child was unfortunately lackluster. I found Relic to be solidly okay, the literary equivalent of tuning into a television show just to let it serve as background noise. While the premise was interesting and isn’t something I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, I just couldn’t make myself care. There were two main contributors to this lack of interest: poor characterization and an overabundance of science.

Let me start w
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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 20 books)
  • Reliquary (Pendergast, #2)
  • The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast #3, Nora Kelly #0.5)
  • 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)
  • Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11)

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