****Four out of Five Stars
Review by: Mark Palm
By now I have reviewed enough books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child on this site that I should no longer have to tell you how I feel about them. Take my word that they are the authors of some of the best scientific and historically erudite thrillers, full of twisting plots and nonstop excitement, ever. The Obsidian Chamber is the sixteenth book in the Pendergast Series, and while they all stand alone, why deny ourselves the pleasure? If you can’t read them all, at least get the last two; Blue Labyrinth and Crimson Shore.
The latter book found Pendergast and his ward/companion Constance Green caught in an ever-widening investigation that started with a rather ingenious theft, and spread outward in many directions until in encapsulated the entire small New England town of Exmouth, and involved starvation, witchcraft and mass murder. The shocking end was a true cliff-hanger with Pendergast apparently swept away into the Atlantic along with the villain Morax.
The Obsidian Chamber begins two weeks after Pendergast has disappeared, and Constance Green, stricken with grief, is wandering the cavernous house at Riverside Drive like a ghost. Until she is kidnapped by someone who looks astoundingly like Pendergast’s seemingly-deceased and monstrously evil brother, Diogenes. Procter, Pendergast’s assistant/bodyguard follows in a wonderfully tense non-stop pursuit from Newfoundland to Ireland to Namibia.
Unfortunately for Proctor, the kidnapping seems like an elaborate ruse, and Constance is still back at Riverside, and someone seems to be entering into an unusual courtship with her and intent on drawing her out from her self-imposed exile. Constance realized that someone is living in the house without her consent, and a taut game of cat-and-mouse ensues.
Meanwhile the surprises just keep on coming, such as the discovery of a half-dead man with white hair in a shredded black suit, who was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Several other revelations that have serious ramifications for all of the characters in this series keep unfolding, and as is often the case in these books, nothing is as it seems to be. For all of the high drama and suspense never once did I feel like I was being tricked or duped in a superficial way.
The plot, well constructed and as twisted as a slinky, is full of emotional bombshells, rocking many of these characters to their core. It was wonderful to see Proctor stepping into a larger and more meaningful role, and Constance, once again has proven that she is a dominant character; even as we come to know her more and more, at her core she is still an enigma. If ever there was a character who is ready to step into a starring role in a novel of her own, it is Constance. The ending of the novel is satisfying, and yet still leaves open a seemingly endless amount of future plot-lines for the authors to develop in the future. After sixteen novels I can still say that I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next installment of this wonderful series. And if you haven’t started you better hurry if you want to catch up.