'The Reliquary' is a sequel (of sorts) to 'The Relic', but you don't have to read 'The Relic' first to enjoy this associated but independent novel. It's time to get together again with Dr. Margo Green - Assistant Curator of New York Museum Of Natural History, Lt. Vincent D'Agosta - a New York City Detective, Agent Pendergrast from the FBI, Bill Smithback - crime reporter for the New York Post, and Dr. Whitney Frock - now retired Evolutionary Biologist and wheelchair bound.
It's been eighteen months since the Mbwun beast terrorized the Museum Of Natural History, when two skeletons are pulled from the Humboldt Kill canal (called The Cloaca because of its murky raw sewage). One is discovered to be that of wealthy debutant Pamela Wisher (a Paris Hilton type society girl), but the other doesn't even seem to be human. Dr. Margo Green is called in by the Medical Examiner to attempt to identify the skeleton. When the remains are identified to be those of Margo's old colleague Greg Kawakita, Lt. D'Agosta and Agent Pendergrast join her in her search to find out what Greg had been up to, and how his bones became so deformed. The answer lies in two places; the remnants of Greg's burnt out laboratory, and in the tunnels underneath New York from which the two skeletons were flushed from.
Margo's old friend Bill Smithback heads straight to Pamela's upper crust mother to get an exclusive scoop from her. Amazingly, she takes him in and obtains his help with her Take Back Our City campaign. He also manages a meeting with Mephisto, leader of the underground community called Route 666. Mephisto tells Smithback of a new group of "mole people" living deeper, below the Devil's Attic, that he calls "Wrinklers".
When Margo, D'Agosta, Pendergrast, and Smithback put their heads together, they discover a connection between the Wrinklers and what Greg Kawakita was working on before he died. They must unravel the puzzle before the city is torn apart by Mrs. Wisher's Tack Back The City campaign, the angry "mole people" who live far beneath Wisher's elegant apartments, and a police department under pressure to solve the grisly rash of murders. In order to do this, the four must travel deep below New York, into the subterranean tracks, tunnels, aqueducts, old sewers, abandoned stations, and once elegant private waiting rooms.
What really heightened my enjoyment of this book is that prior to it, I read an interesting non-fiction book called 'The Mole People' by Jennifer Toth. Written in 1993, she actually went into the tunnels and spoke with members of the underground society called "moles" or "mole people". In the author's notes at the end of 'Reliquary', Preston and Child also mention Toth's work. If you have the chance or are interested, read 'The Mole People' first and it will enhance what Preston and Child have written about the society in 'Reliquary'. It's just a suggestion, along with reading 'The Relic' first. Both books really augment the pleasure of reading 'Reliquary'. Enjoy!