Douglas J. Preston, Author, Lincoln Child, Author . Warner $25.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-446-53143-6

Fans of cerebral action adventure novels know that, outside of Michael Crichton, no one delivers the goods like the veteran writing team of Preston and Child (Relic ; Still Life with Crows ; etc.). As if invigorated by their recent solo efforts (Child: Utopia , etc.; Preston: The Codex , etc.), the two now deliver their best novel ever, an extravagant tale of international intrigue. As their admirers know, one reason Preston and Child thrillers work is because most feature arguably the most charismatic detective in contemporary fiction: FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a wealthy, refined yet ruthless descendant of Holmes who's very much his own character. Pendergast, as well as other Preston and Child semiregulars, notably rough-hewn former NYPD cop Vincent D'Agosta, Watson to Pendergast's Sherlock, tread nearly every page of this vastly imagined, relentlessly enjoyable thriller. The body of a notorious art critic is found in his Hamptons, L.I., mansion, wholly burned, with a cloven hoofprint nearby: the devil's work? Similar killings ensue among a group of maleficent bigwigs who, as college students, once gathered in Florence for a mysterious reason. Also at that gathering was the charming yet sinister Italian Count Fosco, a wonderful character whom the authors have borrowed, with due credit, from Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White . In time Agent Pendergast ties Fosco into the killings, as well as a plot to equip the Chinese with devastating weapons and a parallel plot to recover a legendary Stradivarius violin. Erudite, swiftly paced, brimming (occasionally overbrimming) with memorable personae and tense set pieces, this is the perfect thriller to stuff into a beach bag. (Aug. 2)

Reviewed on: 07/05/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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Mass Market Paperbound - 740 pages
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-664-1
Book - 978-1-58621-657-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7595-1208-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7595-1207-8
Hardcover - 696 pages - 978-1-58724-809-2
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-0520-1
Paperback - 640 pages - 978-0-446-69650-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 740 pages - 978-1-4555-1936-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 752 pages - 978-1-4555-8291-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-75577-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0373-5
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