I think I have to start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Preston & Child’s writing. It’s no surprise that I enjoyed White Fire, as much as I did, because of that. I had some books in the Pendergast series to read first, in order to be able to read this one (though they stand alone in ways, I enjoy the series much more by reading them in order), so my anticipation built with each closing of one of those books. That anticipation paid off.
I feel that White Fire is one of the best Pendergast novels to date. With the recent life-changing events of the Helen Trilogy, to Pendergast’s life, I thought it was great that the authors were able to make him an even more complex, mysterious, but all the more imperfect and human than has been portrayed in the past. The reader gets to see a somewhat new side of Pendergast that I have no doubt will be expanded on even further in future books.
The story itself was filled with everything that’s great with the books of this series. The mystery, combined with scenes of action and suspense, didn’t fail to keep me engrossed in the pages. I also think it was great that Corrie Swanson, only a minor and (in my opinion) almost unnecessary recurring character, was finally given the time to show her worth. I understand now the reason she was only given minor roles in the past. This book is largely about her finding her way and who she wants to become. I almost feel like she’s a little Pendergast at this point. She is picking up many of his skills even if she is not always as good in execution as he is.
It’s hard to go into review of the storyline itself when dealing with a mystery and to avoid spoiling things. Yet, I do want to make mention of one of my favorite aspects of the plot (since it’s not much of a secret due to the description). The inclusion of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde into this book added a new dimension to the series. Fans will agree that Pendergast is a somewhat modern-day Sherlock Holmes type character. While I haven’t read Holmes myself, yet, I know enough about him to assert that quality on our dear Special Agent Pendergast. I think the way Preston & Child worked these two authors and Holmes into their story was unexpected and well executed. It helped in keeping the series fresh and is one of the reasons it hasn’t become dull or repetitive to me.
These two authors have invented such an intriguing, complex, and exciting series/character, that I have no doubt that whatever they write next, after White Fire will be just as explosive as this book. I think there are some big things in store for readers soon as Pendergast becomes more and more exposed to the readers. I can only hope the fourteenth book comes sooner rather than later.