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The Cabinet of Curiosities

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The Cabinet of Curiosities Cover

ISBN13: 9780446611237
ISBN10: 0446611239
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

Weird happenings at NYC's Museum of Natural History follow the discovery of a 19th-century, mass grave. Spines cut from corpses. Impalements on dinosaur horns. It's all frightful enough to rouse the FBI's quirkiest investigator — the pale, enigmatic, ingenious Agent Pendergast. The chase is soon afoot. This fast, forensic-filled thriller blends history and horror into a perfect summer distraction.
Recommended by Mike I, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have taken us from a pirate's island fortress (Riptide) to the ancient lost city of the Anasazi Indians (Thunderhead) to the edge of the world and beyond (The Ice Limit). Now they return to the famous New York Museum of Natural History, the setting for their classic bestseller, The Relic. For the museum cloaks a terrifying secret of the past, not out of the Amazonian jungles or the depths of Africa, but from New York City itself...

In nineteenth-century New York, the public flocked to collections of strange and grotesque oddities called "cabinets of curiosities." Now, in lower Manhattan, a modern apartment tower is slated to rise on the site of one of the old cabinets. But when the excavators break into a basement, they uncover a charnel pit of horror: the remains of thirty-six people murdered and gruesomely dismembered over 130 years ago by an unknown serial killer.

In the aftermath, Museum archaeologist Nora Kelly is visited by an enigmatic, silver-eyed FBI agent who is obsessed with the mystery of the bodies. Together, Special Agent Pendergast and Nora Kelly embark on an investigation that will take them from the gleaming skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan to the crumbling archives of the Museum, from a mass grave under a Chinatown brownstone to a house of abominations on Riverside Drive. Their search unearths the faint whisper of a mysterious doctor who once roamed the city...a genius who carried out medical experiments on living human beings. But just as Nora and Pendergast begin to unravel the clues to the century-old killings, a fresh spree of murder and surgical mutilation erupts around them...and New York City is awash in terror.

Fast-paced and filled with the brilliant scientific details that have become the trademark of Preston/Child novels, The Cabinet of Curiosities presents readers with the duo's most delicious conundrum — and most gripping read — to date.

Review:

"Featuring fabulous locales, colorful characters, pointed riffs on city and museum politics, cool forensic and paleontological speculation and several gripping set pieces including an extended white-knuckle climax, this a great beach novel, at times gruesome, always fun: Preston-Child at the top of their game." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"This adventure has all the elements of the perfect summer read: the wonderfully spooky atmosphere, the dogged reporter smitten with the lovely scientist, and the mysteriously prescient FBI agent. Authors Preston and Child have been hot since Relic, and here they score another big winner." Library Journal

Synopsis:

In downtown Manhattan, a gruesome discovery has just been made — an underground charnel house containing the bones of dozens of murder victims. Research reveals that a serial killer was at work in New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood in the 1880s, bent on prolonging his lifespan by any means. When a newspaper story on the old murders appears to ignite a new series of horrifyingly similar killings, panic overtakes New York City. Now, FBI agent Pendergast, journalist Bill Smithback, and archaeologist Nora Kelly join forces to protect themselves from a vicious killer...before they become the next victims.

About the Author

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are the coauthors of the bestselling novels The Relic, Mount Dragon, Reliquary, and Riptide.

Douglas Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History, is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and in 1989 retraced Coronado's thousand-mile odyssey on horseback.

Lincoln Child is a former book editor at St. Martin's Press and has published numerous short-story anthologies.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Anne-Marie, June 11, 2013 (view all comments by Anne-Marie)
You are sucked in to the characters from the first few pages, and the descriptions of the early twenties in New York are vivid. There is thrill, mystery, science and scientific curiosity, natural history, and of course the intrigue you expect from Preston and Child. I loved it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
mazerlodge, January 6, 2012 (view all comments by mazerlodge)
Aside from being a catchy title, a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is a real thing- the term refers to a collection of, well, stuff. Usually some sort of theme was pursued- mounted animals, geological collections (aka Rocks), bones, insects, plants, etc. Along with genuine articles, fakes could be mixed in and maybe even favored. The reason for the collection could be any number of things, the book implied wealthy people might acquire things into these collections for their own amusement (and presumably to impress and entertain their friends) while other people have created collections then charged admission.

The book, the third in a series, opens with an enigmatic FBI agent enlisting the help of a anthropology professional from the New York Museum of Natural History to investigate a freshly discovered charnel house (vocabulary day- think vault full of bodies, mostly bones remaining).

A brief examination of the bodies indicates they didn’t die of natural causes. When noticing all the corpses have spinal injuries, the age of the find and the number of dead, a record breaking serial killer is suspected. It is no easy investigation though, as our heroes are sent away and prevented from preserving the site. The associated questions of who did this and why are answered through the rest of the book as our FBI agent and the good doctor from the museum are undeterred in their investigation, and motivated by a new series of killings suggesting a copycat or continuation of a hundred year old crime.

The two lead characters have a third added to their group, a New York Times reporter. This forms a character group that is manageable and yet has enough opportunity for unique interactions to keep the book moving. A roster of supporting characters are introduced as needed, serve there purpose, and the book moves on. The supporting cast stay an appropriate time and re-enter the story enough to develop and earn the readers interest in caring about their actions, but without being burdened with an overly involved back-story. This is distinct from another style of writing where a huge list of people are introduced at the beginning of a book, each developing a back story with indeterminate relevance, and then gradually converging.

This book isn’t a roller coaster, the pace of the book accelerates steadily to the finish. An epilogue provides the cool down. All together, a solid work.
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Annette P, September 4, 2010 (view all comments by Annette P)
Knowing nothing about the Pendergast series, I started with this, the third book. Mystery, action, adventure - the Preston and Child novels have it all, and this one is no exception. The vivid characters and curious plot twists are titillating and drove me forward - I hated for the story to end! I think The Cabinet of Curiosities may be my favorite in the series, maybe because it introduced me to Preston and Child and gave me an exciting introduction to a thrilling series. I would love to see this and any of the other Pendergast novels up on the big screen, that's how they read - like a fast-action thrill ride movie. One nice thing is that this book reads well as a stand-alone - you don't need to have read the series first to read this book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446611237
Author:
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Publisher:
Warner Books
Author:
Child, Lincoln
Author:
Preston, Douglas J.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Government investigators
Subject:
Serial murders
Subject:
Natural history museums
Subject:
Women archaeologists
Subject:
Five Points
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Warner Books ed.
Edition Description:
Warner Books Pb
Series Volume:
107-278
Publication Date:
20030631
Binding:
Mass Market Paperbound
Language:
English
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
6.70x4.10x1.30 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Cytology and Cell Biology

The Cabinet of Curiosities Used Mass Market
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$4.50 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Warner Books - English 9780446611237 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Weird happenings at NYC's Museum of Natural History follow the discovery of a 19th-century, mass grave. Spines cut from corpses. Impalements on dinosaur horns. It's all frightful enough to rouse the FBI's quirkiest investigator — the pale, enigmatic, ingenious Agent Pendergast. The chase is soon afoot. This fast, forensic-filled thriller blends history and horror into a perfect summer distraction.

"Review" by , "Featuring fabulous locales, colorful characters, pointed riffs on city and museum politics, cool forensic and paleontological speculation and several gripping set pieces including an extended white-knuckle climax, this a great beach novel, at times gruesome, always fun: Preston-Child at the top of their game."
"Review" by , "This adventure has all the elements of the perfect summer read: the wonderfully spooky atmosphere, the dogged reporter smitten with the lovely scientist, and the mysteriously prescient FBI agent. Authors Preston and Child have been hot since Relic, and here they score another big winner."
"Synopsis" by , In downtown Manhattan, a gruesome discovery has just been made — an underground charnel house containing the bones of dozens of murder victims. Research reveals that a serial killer was at work in New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood in the 1880s, bent on prolonging his lifespan by any means. When a newspaper story on the old murders appears to ignite a new series of horrifyingly similar killings, panic overtakes New York City. Now, FBI agent Pendergast, journalist Bill Smithback, and archaeologist Nora Kelly join forces to protect themselves from a vicious killer...before they become the next victims.
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