The Obsidian Chamber

The Obsidian Chamber

Book - 2016
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A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.
A SHOCKING RETURN
Sick with grief, Pendergast's ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive--only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.
AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT
Proctor, Pendergast's longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance's kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.
BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late . . .
Publisher: New York :, Grand Central Publishing,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455536917
1455536911
Characteristics: 407 pages
Additional Contributors: Child, Lincoln

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j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

They reached Akjoujt— a flat, hot, desolate place, dry as mummy dust ...
===
Pendergast family crest had been carved: a lidless eye over two moons, one crescent, the other full, with a lion couchant, along with the Pendergast motto LUCRUM, SANGUINEM: “To gain honor, blood.”
===
Despite his long experience in desert ops, he was seriously taken aback by the vastness of this place. It wasn’t lifeless, exactly; he had passed a number of game animals along the way, including oryx, wildebeest, and a family of giraffes. There was bunch grass, brush, and even the occasional tree. What unnerved him was the endless immensity of it: infinity made visible.
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The image was all too clear: the dark hair, the full lips, the violet eyes wide open, the once-beautiful face frozen in a rictus of death.
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Now he scrolled down the web page until he reached the fixed-base operator information: data on ground handling, avionics service, aircraft charters. He committed all this information to memory.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

“I would tell you how much I hate you,” she said, in a low voice, “except that one does not hate the dung beneath one’s feet. One merely scrapes it off."
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The very sound of it was gall and wormwood to her; it caused an inner fury that was as physical as it was emotional.
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The guy wasn’t worth a shit dead, but he might be worth a lot alive.
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I fear that, on the off chance you survive the encounter, you’ll wish you hadn’t met them.
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You were a toy, he had written: a mystery easily solved; a dull box forced and found empty.
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Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, sitting upon a lotus throne, which in turn rested on the lunar disk. Avalokiteshvara was the god most revered in Tibet as sacrificing his own salvation to be reincarnated again and again on earth, in order to bring enlightenment to all living, suffering beings of the world.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

“The real question is, who are you? Ah, but never mind: I already know the answer.” “Oh yeah? So who am I then, you little prick?” “You’re the unluckiest man alive.”
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She preferred the shōka style, employing as it did only three branches of a plant in each arrangement, symbolizing sky, earth, and being: a Buddhist philosophy that, she felt, dovetailed with the discipline of Chongg Ran.
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SOP was for the authorities to push for more time and ask for small things, gradually piling up requirements and requests, dragging things on and establishing dominance over the hostage takers. He wasn’t going to fall into that trap.
===
They used a program similar to Tor, but more advanced. Called BLUNT, it quadruple-encrypted all Internet communications using PGP and re-routed them through myriad computers around the globe, making it almost impossible to trace the signal back to its original IP.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

“Those in love are full of irrational hope.”
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He had been merely a focus of hatred, a monochromatic being whose only interest to her was in his death.
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The simple fact is: you don’t belong in the here and now. Oh, you’ve made valiant efforts to integrate yourself into the twenty-first century, into today’s quotidian, vapid society—
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“I have no excuse. As I’ve said, my treatment of you was unforgivable.” “Then why seek forgiveness?” “I don’t seek your forgiveness. I seek your love."
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Let’s face it— we’re misfits. We’re misanthropes, cut from the same cloth.
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"You think you can seduce me a second time, with your poetry and effete aesthetics and all the rest of your intellectual ordure. And then, when the moment is ripe, you’ll slip the knife in— again.”

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

The first drug would induce unconsciousness; the second would cause paralysis, halting respiration; and the third would stop the heart. They were always introduced serially.
===
One hand was outstretched toward the open closet, pale fingers curling in midair. She was the very picture of indecision.
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Spann knew those guys: they walked fast, really fast. They knew where they were going and were the kind who worked out every day, ate quinoa and kale, and jogged twenty miles a week.
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A half-moon of lace embroidery below the throat chastely covered, but could not conceal, a most admirable décolletage.
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He sought hedonism like a penitent seeks a cilice—
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... a wasteland of boredom and ennui, sitting in the darkened library, moving between books and the harpsichord, while the well-meaning Proctor stood guard at the door and Mrs. Trask served her overcooked pasta.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

Instead, he went methodically through the steps necessary to confirm death. He did a trapezius squeeze to ensure there was no pain reflex; observed the skin color; noted there were no signs of respiratory effort; felt the carotid artery for a pulse and found none. Using a stethoscope on the chest of the corpse, he listened carefully for respiration or a heart rhythm for two minutes. There was nothing; Lucius Garey was as dead as a mackerel.
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a combination of sodium benzoate and ammonium sulfate, preservatives used— among other things— to keep meat fresh.
===

“Might as well go soup to nuts.”
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Pendergast had to admit to himself that, despite his unusual insight into the criminal side of human nature, he had frequently been at sea when it came to understanding women and the complexities of intimate relationships.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

" ... Our two souls therefore, which are one, / Though I must go, endure not yet / A breach, but an expansion, / Like gold to airy thinness beat.” Flavia said nothing. The Donne quote bounced off her like a squash ball off graffiti-covered concrete.
===
The most important point with wild animals was to give them their freedom. Never corner or cage one. The taming was imposed from within, not without. It was a seduction, not a conquest.
===
“Tholos. A circular Greek temple.”
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The morning sun was hitting one side of the temple, the light diffusing in, cool and gray, seemingly coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. The opposite side of the temple was dark, but not black. Neither pure white nor pure black was present in the room— everything was in infinite gradations of gray.
===
The sun had now vanished below the limn of the sea and a warm twilight seemed to rise up from the ocean.

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

He put on a suitable series of expressions: shock, disdain, contempt.
===
McCormick’s eyebrows shot up at this, and a mixture of amusement, schadenfreude, and pity began to play about her lips. “Ah, the old story. The old, old story.”
===
“At around sixteen, her wanderings took her to Japan, where she got involved with a yakuza gang. After some kind of violent falling-out that the Tokyo police are still investigating, she apparently went to Canton, China, where she joined one of that city’s triads. According to our intelligence sources, her natural affinity for violence helped her rise quickly through the ranks. Almost immediately, she graduated from a ‘49’ to a ‘426’— a ‘Red Pole’ enforcer, whose specialty was managing and carrying out offensive operations. By twenty-one, she was set to rise still higher within the organization, when something happened, we don’t know what, and she left China for the United States.”

j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

She saw the last, faint glimmer of hope in him, like the final coal in a dying fire. Time to step on that coal.
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It is a shrine— if you can call anything that collects those things that bring shame and pain a ‘shrine’—
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I’ll just ask it to match all the ingresses with the egresses and spit out the unique face that left but didn’t enter.”
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To most people, Metcalf had discovered, silence was even more unbearable than pointed questioning.
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“He had left the evil part of him behind— as best he could. I don’t think he’ll ever be free of it; not entirely..."
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“Where is he now? What’s his frame of mind? Will he seek out the good in life— or will he prove a recidivist?”
===
... nothing was better than a blitzkrieg of overwhelming firepower.
===

It… turned out to be a device built for one of two purposes: to drive a person mad— or frighten them to death.

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j
jimg2000
May 15, 2017

Without dwelling in any length on who let "it" out in the final chapter in the prequel "Crimson Shore 2015," butler Proctor was compelled to leave the mansion at 891 Riverside Drive to pursuit an intruder. The twists of events that soon followed were possible only within the legendary Pendergast's family. While I wish more stand alone crime cases as "White Fire 2013," it was a page turner to follow the incredible bad-ass adventure of Proctor and the suspenseful journey to the mysterious chamber(s) of agent Pendergast's intellectual doppelganger.

PimaLib_ChristineR Apr 08, 2017

Warning: Minor Plot Spoilers:

After 2015's Crimson Shore, I believe most readers were ready to see the reappearance of Diogenese Prendergast, based on some of AXL Prendergast's comments before his disappearance. How and why Diogenese reappears is the real plot twist here, and while this series has always required suspension of disbelief, I believe coming out of an active volcano with a minor scar, may have broken mine.

Good Points: 1. Terrific opener, with the usually silent butler, and factotum, Proctor, getting to pull out all the stops. 2. Constance gets main screen for a good majority of this novel, and unlike Blue Labyrinth, it isn't just her physical prowess that we get to see. Constance is often played as a cipher. We can't understand her motives or her actions (time in the nuthouse anyone?) until long after we learn of them. This novel gives us a chance to see her in action, to question and understand her motives, as well as see her kick some more rear end. 3. Another thing I choose to put in the positive category is no one goes into a Chongg Ran trance and is suddenly able to clearly see event to which they were not a party.

The Not So Good Points: 1. Corrie Swanson, love her or hate her. I happen to love her and would love to see her incorporated into the series more, especially as she seems intent on following in Prendergast's footsteps. 2. The fact that it feels like we're going in a circle. I'd rather go back to some of their crazy days of the Museum than return to a potential feud with Diogenes.

It seems no matter if one of these novels is or isn't your favorite, the team of Preston and Child write in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat, no matter what. And this novel certainly kept that streak going for me. Unlike some of the others, I do believe it would be helpful to have read most of the series for this one to make sense.

s
SandraLH
Mar 05, 2017

Although generally enjoyable and ... mostly a page-turner in the Agent Pendergast series about 3/4 through, I found a couple chapters a bit too wordy. The lengths taken over Constance, in this story, in my opinion, are quite far fetched.

w
writermike
Feb 06, 2017

Preston and Child's Agent Pendergast mystery thriller series tends to be somewhat uneven in quality, with some volumes soaring to thriller heaven, and others fizzling out on the ground. This one, alas, falls into the latter category. One must make allowances for potboilers in general, but the less-than-artful plot contrivances and coincidences in Obsidian Chamber strain suspension of disbelief to the very breaking point. Fans will be mildly diverted; other readers should start with the earlier, rather better, Pendergast stories featuring Pendergast's arch-villain brother Diogenes (Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead) to get a better idea of why you should care about what's going on in this novel.

e
Eil_1
Jan 22, 2017

Requires the ability to suspend reality! I suppose there will be a sequel based on the ending.

t
Tamalot
Oct 27, 2016

Disappointed...was looking forward to more mystical/weird mysteries and instead, a character long thought dead reappears and suffers remorse and shame for previous deeds.

outlawpoet Oct 21, 2016

REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS ONE !!!

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