Book #2 Pendergast Series
Published by Tor books (1997)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Reliquary picks up eighteen months after the events that happened in Relic. During a run of the mill dive operation to find a brick of heroin that a perp tossed off a bridge, new kid on the dive team Snow, becomes tangled in a pair of skeletons. One skeleton is that of debutante Pamela Wisher who went missing months before, the other, at this stage, is unknown. When the heads appear to be missing, D’Agosta asks some old friends over that the Museum of Natural History to jump on the case and take a look as things just don’t add up. Enter Margo Green, Dr. Frock and Agent Pendergast. What they begin to uncover brings their long dead fears of the museum beast – Mbwun, back to the forefront. Things are beginning to point to the creature, and it doesn’t look good. The homeless under New York City are afraid, something is killing them and they have taken to staying away from certain areas as they appear to have been taken over by someone, or something… D’Agosta and Co. are determined to get to the bottom of it before it’s too late, even if that does mean going undercover and infiltrating the homeless population to get insider information. Is the museum beast back? And who is the second skeleton?
I was super excited to jump into this one after finishing Relic quite recently. Relic came to me as a movie on Austar many moons ago when I was an early teenager, so when I discovered it was a book, I was over the moon. When I discovered that there was a sequel of sorts? I just about burst from joy. This book picks up roughly eighteen months after the museum exhibition opening that ended up with a fair amount of lost lives and injuries thanks to the museum beast – Mbwun. The main players are back, Smithback, Dr. Frock, Dr. Green, D’Agosta, and Pendergast (of course, it’s his series after all). I loved that we got to revisit these characters and see where they were after the sanity breaking situation they all wound up in the year before. I love that we got a feel for how it effected them all, and not just a brush over of “and they worked through their problems and got over it”. We can see that Margo is still really struggling with what she went through, and I just felt that it made her way more real to me. The others, you can see it effected them, but they just try their best to get on with life, as Margo did, but we get more of an insight into her lingering problems associated with the museum beast encounter.
I found that this book actually lagged a bit for me. There’s stuff happening, and I was interested, but I just felt like it didn’t grab me as much as it’s predecessor, which was a bit disappointing. Relic I couldn’t put down, I found myself reading constantly. Reliquary was a bit different. I cared about the story, and I was dying to know the who, the what, the where and the why, but it isn’t until around the last 100 pages that these answers start coming, and the story really started to pick up the pace. That last one hundred pages nearly made me quit my job, I had to stop reading, with 34 pages to go because I had to start work, my god, I could have cried.
I found the inclusion of the underground canals and tunnels of New York City to be an awesome addition, and the fact that they are real in some capacity just makes it even better. The light brought to the homeless situation was also fantastic. It is stated in the author’s note at the end that the plight of the ‘houseless’ is real, and there is a HUGE community of them living underground. Though obviously it hasn’t done a whole lot for the homeless community as things don’t seem to be changing, I just loved that this element was brought into it and that there was a real rawness to it that gave the story that added dimension of reality.
The revelation, oh boy, the revelation. I. DID. NOT. SEE. THAT. COMING! When it happened my response was “…what?” then I had to re-read it because holy crap, that blew me away, AND IT ALL MADE SENSE TOO! I totally got it!! I could understand the motivation behind EVERYTHING! The mystery was exceptionally well written and those revelations just made it.
All in all, this was a great follow up to the first book, the pacing was lacking a bit and I felt that the story was dragging somewhat, but they came through in the end with the goods that blew my mind. I absolutely adore Pendergast’s character, so I’m looking forward to following him on many many adventures, I just hope we get some cross-overs with the other characters I’ve come to know and enjoy.