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Publisher's Summary

Relic, a Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child thriller that introduces FBI Special Agent Pendergast

Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human....

But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders.

Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre?

Prolong the suspense: listen to the sequel, Reliquary.
©1994 by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. (P)1995 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"With its close-up view of museum life and politics, plausible scientific background, sharply drawn characters and a plot line that's blissfully free of gratuitous romance, this well-crafted novel offers first-rate thrills and chills." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Wildly cool....Thrill hounds couldn't ask for a creepier environment....a thriller staged in the world's scariest building, with no room for the squeamish." ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Relic

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    5,560
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    3,714
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    2,704
  • 3 Stars
    1,194
  • 2 Stars
    361
  • 1 Stars
    191

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Non-Perishable

Even thought "Relic" was published 'way back in 1994, it still delivers plenty of thrills and excitement after all these years. In my opinion, that test of timelessness indicates a good novel. The plot of "Relic" had the potential to flop, since it tells an improbable monster story. But Preston/Child's excellent writing and thorough research facilitate our willing suspension of disbelief, rendering even the most far-fetched plot concepts scientifically plausible. "Relic" grips you right from the beginning, and doesn't let go until the end. The extended sequence in the dark catacombs under New York's Natural History Museum provides unparalleled suspense. "Relic," unlike most thrillers, has no primary hero, but, rather, three or four protagonists. However, it commences a wonderful series of intelligent thrillers featuring the brilliant, erudite, albino F.B.I. agent Aloysius Pendergast, introduced in this novel. David Colacci gives us an excellent reading of this audiobook. I highly recommend "Relic" to any thriller aficionado.

152 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised.

I read another Agent Pendergast novel before this one, and barely liked it. Not even sure why I bought this one, but I really liked it. The details about the museum and the research were fascinating, and the premise enjoyable. Much of the story reminded me of the old "Night Stalker" show.

Part of it you can believe, but some of it will tax credibility, and there are holes they don't even bother laying boards across, much less filling in. But overall, a good, smart, tense monster mystery that will have you deciding to drive slower or set your alarm half an hour later to fit in one more scene.

And the narrator fits the story--quick, accurate, detailed. Never trips over complicated science or academic terms. Good job.

98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Relic (Unabrigded)

This book was written in 1994. The technology is somewhat dated, but the story line was great. The narration is second to none. Like others, I bought this book because it was on sale, but it was truly entertaining. It is an early Pendergast novel, and it really sets the stage for novels later in the series. Even though the sci-fi gets a little incredible at the end, if you like a good sci-fi mystery, download this book. You will not be sorry.

83 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Personal Favorite

This is one of those books I have read more than once, but as soon as I saw it was available for download, I had to listen again. I love the whole series, but my favorites are the first two books, Relic and Reliquary. Although all the books can stand alone, it is particularly interesting to listen to them in order, since many of the characters are revisited as the series progresses.

If you enjoy a little science with your supense, you will definitely enjoy Preston and Child's books.

80 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book, NOTHING like the movie

I was leery of getting this book because I had seen the movie and it was HORRIBLE. However, the book is nothing like the movie. I am a big SciFi fan, and thoroughly enjoyed the twists of this book. I thought the authors did an extremely good job and the book wasn't predictable to me. I'm extremely picky about narrators and thought this one did an ok job. He didn't annoy me like a lot of narrators do.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Nailbiting Thrills and Perfectly Drawn Characters

This is my first experience with Detective Pendergast and I can assure it will not be my last. I have already downloaded the sequel and can't wait to see what happens next. I was dubious of this monster type genre at first, but the museum provides such a titilating backdrop and the characters are so interesting that my preconceptions quickly fell away. You won't regret trying this one!

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

one of my favorite audiobooks ever

narration was great, felt like was really there with the characters in side the museum

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Destined to become a classic

I am drawn to stories about the unknown - spooky stories about what lurks in the basement of a museum attract me. I had this story on my wish list for awhile, but put it on hold because I listened to another in this series - "Fever Dream", and although I liked the story, I was annoyed by the profanity (mostly from the NYC police officer) and by the attempted rape scene. However, my adult daughter read "Relic", and liked it. So I downloaded it. Yes, there is profanity in this book, too, mostly from the same Police Officer. That said, however, the authors are fantastic writers, IMO, and it is obvious that much research goes into their writing. I gave it 5 stars because it's one of those books with much suspense - you don't want to stop listening. There's no romance or sexual situations in this book. However, if you are put off by gory descriptions of decapitations and the like, you might not like this book.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

absurd

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Can't think of anyone who would be able to take this series of books seriously. It is a stretch even for those more forgiving souls who enjoy complete escapism.

What could Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Don't know. Total rewrite? The characters are sadly cliche and not developed well.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narrator did what he could with what he had to work with. Pretty good reader.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Relic?

Not sure exactly - probably would have reworked the last half thoroughly.

Any additional comments?

The story is interesting at the onset, gets pretty far fetched by the end of the first book, then dissolves into complete idiocy right from the onset of the second one. Every aspect of this series is written with no concern for realism or the laws of nature. Unfortunately, I purchased 1 & 2 together. To be honest, the only reason I started the second book book was my curiosity about just how bad it could get. I put it down in disgust after the second chapter.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Listen!

This was undoubtedly an excellent listen. I have followed all the books for FBI Pendergast, and I was thrilled to see finally we have the beginning of all of the characters introduced in the later of the series. The characters are well developed and this book definetely kept me interested all the way to the epilogue... Cant wait to download Book 2.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SB
  • 11-19-11

Excellent book

This book was a different genre to what I normally listen to so I was unsure if I would like the book or not. However, Relic was a pleasant surprise. The story was gripping from start to finish and the final part of the book was breathtaking. I would recommend this book to anyone.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daryl
  • 08-29-11

Gripping Plot and Gritty Characters

This is the first boom in the Pendergast series and introduces the listener to many of the characters used in future 'Pendergast' books. The plot twists and turns right from the beginning and leaves you wondering where it will go next. Gritty characters and great narration will get your pulse racing and biting your lip in anticipation of the next twist. Follow this up with Reliquary, then Preston's other 'Pendergast' books, they are all as gripping!

23 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christian Domroese
  • 01-12-17

Sucker for stories like this.

Read the book multiple times when I was younger so one could say that it left a impression on me. Saw by chance that this was up as a audio book and got it straight away. A great find. Love the story. A bit old-school but nicely paced horror thriller. Like the voices and characters. Like the book, I will be back and listen to it every other season.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen C Cooper
  • 07-26-16

Good story, but worst Scottish accent

The story is enjoyable and in the main part well narrated. However the attempt at a Scottish accent was woeful. That said the story line and the characters shine through and make this a good companion for road trips.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vivienne48
  • 02-19-16

Chilling

Where does Relic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

By far the scariest.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Margot, because she made an excellent female protagonist.

What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

Clear and menacing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, if it hadn't been so long!

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. It was very scary, very compelling, and there is a high degree of plausibility about it. Who really knows what goes on with the lost tribes of the Amazon?

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 09-21-12

Penderghastly at points

In the round, it's not a bad book but some parts are pretty tough to swallow. It's not until you get right to the end that there's a revelation which makes some of the more far-fetched parts of the book slightly more plausible. Not sure I'll go back for more from Preston and Child.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. M. Edwards
  • 05-14-17

Excellent thriller

I've obviously seen the film, but the book adds so many extra parts (such as Pendergast) that it's almost a different beast.
Very well researched and believably written, it is a fantastic book that flows by.
Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janet Stewart
  • 07-18-13

Keeps you on the edge of seat

Would you consider the audio edition of Relic to be better than the print version?

Definitely,and narrated by David Colacci - he is just brilliant

Who was your favorite character and why?

Prendergast- I imagine him as Sherlock Holmes

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The jungle, the basement, the escape and the ending

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Excited - could wait to finish

Any additional comments?

A good action thriller - plenty of suspense and gore

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sondrasbooks
  • 04-07-13

Brilliant. I loved this book

This book was brilliant, with a wondefully gripping story that really draws you in. This story is so good you will want to read Pendergast book 2. Sci fi, adventure, murder, suspense, what more can you ask for. The story is also well read and this book ensures hours of pleasure.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wufei
  • 01-16-21

Gripping and gloomy story

This was another book that I just could not let go of. At first it felt like the narrator was mumbling, but later on it fit perfectly with the gloomy tone. The voices are varied with the delicious little effect when there is echo, radio noise, shouting or whispering. I love this book and if you have watched the film, get this one. It is somehow better than the movie, but having the visuals and the beast in your mind helps a lot to get the right ambient of the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Thackeray
  • 01-17-21

What a Surprise!

During the Christmas break, I decided to treat myself to a monster movie marathon. 

I started with Guillermo del Toro's Mimic. Then I followed it up with the cult-classic Tremors, which showed us Steven Keaton of Family Ties could be a badass survivalist.  Then the Blob (the 1988 version with Kevin Dillon. While Dreamscape is not technically a monster movie, it does have a snake man that meets the criteria and a pre-Inner Space Dennis Quaid.  The last film on this list is The Relic. 

Now I'm one of those people who likes to look in Wikipedia to see the history of a film after viewing and did just that with The Relic.  I was curious to learn whatever became of Penelope Anne Miller, an actress who seemed to be a staple of '90s cinema but faded away with the new century.  To my surprise, I came away from this bit of web surfing not only appraised on the doings of Ms Miller, who apparently had quite an interesting career but discovering The Relic was based on a book.  

Thus with more than ten days remaining in my lockdown vacation, I decided to use my Audible credits and listen to the audiobook version of The Relic,  written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. 

While the movie version kept the basic premise of the book intact, wherein a famous metropolitan museum is menaced by a prehistoric monster, I was dismayed to see the best elements of the book gutted. The film never reached the success it intended, but I do give credit to Peter Hyam's producing an entertaining film nonetheless.  Still, the elements removed from the film denied audiences a story that could have been far more interesting and complex than what we ended up viewing. 

The Relic begins in the South American jungle with Doctor Julian Whittlesey embarking on an ill-fated mission whose tragedy does not fully unfold until the last act. Those who have seen the film know what I'm talking about, but if you haven't, treat yourself by waiting to the end of the book.  The novel grips the reader right from the beginning with the mystery of Whittlesey's expedition unfolding like Japanese origami from chapter to chapter.  

Playing as large a part in the story as the creature called the Mbwun roaming its halls, is the New York Metropolitan Museum.  The institution is painted with such vivid imagery it's an exercise in world-building, from its catacombs of forgotten artifacts to the stygian tunnels connecting it to the rest of New York's underground world.  The result is a gothic, atmospheric labyrinth that provides plenty of room for Mbwun to do its worst. 

The biggest surprise for someone who discovered the film before the book, is the absence of key characters. While Margot Green and Lt. Vincent D'Agosta are constants in both versions, I can't imagine what outrage must have been felt by the book's fans to discover the omission of one Special Agent Pendergast.  As someone who has since read the other books in the series (there are quite a few), Pendergast's absence was baffling. 

Picture the movie adaptation of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon with the character of Will Graham being discarded. This is the level of disservice the film does to the book by removing Pendergast from the narrative. He arrives midway in the story but is so pivotal to the plot of The Relic, I won't be able to watch the film again without missing his presence. Worst yet, Special Agent Pendergast is one of the most interesting fictional characters I've had the pleasure to discover in recent years and since reading the Relic, I've been devouring the rest of his adventures. 

It would be a mistake to think this is just another creature feature, it isn't.  The book's science is reminiscent of Michael Crichton's work, with efforts to make the fantastic seemed entirely plausible.  The twist about the creature is hardly given any real attention in the film, but the book takes pains to reveal a picture of horrific tragedy and one cannot help but feel some sympathy for Mbwun when its all said and done. . 

So do yourself a favour if you're after a tense, exciting read with enough intelligence to elevate it beyond the standard horror fare, The Relic is just the thing.  Like Mbwun, you never know quite what you're dealing with until it has you in its grip. 

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-21

Loved it

I’ve read the book 3 times but this was the first time listening to the audiobook and I loved it just as much probably more
Don’t miss the second book reliquary it’s just as entertaining

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-09-21

Excellent

I thoroughly enjoyed this story after stumbling across this. The narration enhanced the story no end, I even had a look at the movie which loosely followed the book to some extent with the exception of the characters. I look forward to the next book. I'm hooked.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-20

.

The greatest and most suspenseful book ive ever read (or rather , listened to) ever

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kylie
  • 07-01-20

Gripping and entertaining, couldn't put it down

Child & Preston delivered a thoroughly entertaining book. Memorable characters & brilliant, interesting story telling. David Colacci's performance was phenomenal, goving the characters a life of their own. I couldn't put it down.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Larissa
  • 06-30-20

One of my favourites

Relic is one of my favourites in the thriller/adventure/action genres. The setting of the museum feels so alive, and the descriptions of the exhibition are suitably spine chilling. One I'm sure to listen to again.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 04-20-19

Fright night in a museum

An enjoyable monster story. The characters are well thought out and likeable. The mythology behind the creature is also well reasoned. This book has an excellent performance. Special vocal effects (echo/reverb/distortion) are employed to further enhance the experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 08-12-18

great story

this is a story that 'sucks you in' well told well performed. will be very interested to download the next book by this author.