Lisa Welch
Lisa Welch asked:

Do I need to have read the other books in this series first or can it be read as a stand alone?

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Mark Horner You could read it as a stand alone, however the story is so much more richer if you take the time to read the series in order.
Meredith It can be read alone. They do a decent job of explaining back history without getting too bogged down. In fact, I first read book 10, enjoyed it enough to want to start at the beginning and get all the nuance.

The one thing that might be difficult to understand without previous books is why does Pendergast have any friends? Why do they trust him even when he disappears or greys up the law? Why do they value him enough to stick their necks out for him? While he's often a cipher, due to particulars of the plot, he's even more so, including saying some cruel things (that if not for those particulars of the plot would be out of character).

To more deeply appreciate why they'll go out on a limb for him, to understand what they've been through together, go back to the beginning. But with this caveat: book one in particular is a bit of a mess. Book two is when they get their feet under them and really start rolling with the character of Pendergast. It really builds from there.
Terri Light I agree. There are so many great subplots to the characters you will meet along the way. You will be glad you took the time to start at the beginning!
Dana Agent Pendergast is so much fun, just read a standalone, by that I mean NOT one of the Diogenes Trilogy (fantastic) or the Helen Trilogy (less fantastic but good). Just get into Pendergast, and you will probably want to read them all.
Deborah Bowman I read the early ones out of order. It's best if you read them in order, but they have a complete story in each edition, which is what I look for in a series book. I am also a series writer. I write my novellas as stand-alone, but my reader reviews also say what I feel, which is, to read them in order, I only have four so it's easy to do with a novella. Of course, there are 14 in the Preston/Child series, but I must admit, other than "White Fire" (#13), all of the rest of them are worth the read.
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by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author)
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