Reliquary. 4.5 stars (by Preston & Child)

I stumbled upon this book completely by accident one day, and though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it changed my life, it did wake me up from a 5+ year drought of not reading fiction.  The circumstances of the purchase were nice and happenstance (just the way I like it).  I took my oldest son to the bookstore to make good on a promise and get him a Star Wars clone war chapter book of his choice.  In a hurry and a rush I asked him to follow me into the ‘daddy’ books so I can pick something up to read on the subway.  I thumbed through some Dan Simmons spines, looked at a couple covers…  even handled a few nearby paperbacks – quickly scanning the back cover synopsis.  When I pulled Reliquary from the shelf, flipped it over -the deal was cinched in know time flat, with it’s promise of subterannean NYC adventures, and dark subhuman creatures.

A fast and fun read, with some fun characters – I had no idea this was the sequel to Relic.. but I’m almost glad I haven’t read Relic, as this is such a strong and fun read.  Reliquary gives you enough hints to the relevant parts of Relic, but I personally think this is a perfect entry point into the Preston & Childnovels, specifically those of Agent Pendergast.  It’s some 460 pages, and I finished it in about 2 weeks.  Aside from the normal hour of reading time on the train monday – friday, it was compelling enough to keep me up past midnight a couple nights, and actually pass on some (non-Patriots) football games on a Sunday.  Now, that’s a pretty good book in my opinion.

I’ve always been fascinated with the worlds humanity has built underneath our cities – from catacombs, caves (The DESCENT!!!) to cultures building on the ruins of those past… and this book totally indulges the mind with a perfect mix of historical fact, artistic license and boyish adventure fantasy.  Some of the recurring characters aren’t quite as polished as they wind up being in their later novels, but the imagery and scenery of digging into the deepest depths of man-mad subterranean manhattan (the Astor’s tunnels) is worth the price of admission alone.

Reliquary, by Preston and Child