A Cyclopedia of the Cross-Correlations in the Preston-Child Universe


Manhattan, circa 1873

And what does all that verbiage mean? It means that, as the Preston-Child novels have developed, characters and situations from one book or books have begun appearing in others. This page is an ongoing roster of the growing number of ways in which the worlds of the Preston-Child novels overlap.

Lincoln Child explains how it all began:

"Ever since RELIQUARY, we've resisted the temptation to do straight-ahead sequels of earlier books. But we've nevertheless grown very attached to some of our characters.

"When we were beginning work on THUNDERHEAD, and were fleshing out a team for the expedition to Quivira, we realized that somebody else needed to be added to the group we were forming. Initially, we just added a nonentity, a young digger who was scheduled for an early demise. And then I had a peculiar idea. I said to Doug, 'What if we send Bill Smithback along on the dig?' He said, 'Yeah, that's good, the expedition could use a journalist.' And I replied, 'No, not just a journalist--Smithback himself!'

"I'd been intrigued by the idea of trying to bring--in a subtle way--the various worlds of our books into some kind of convergence. Nothing comprehensive, just tangential, so to speak. Adding Smithback to the cast of THUNDERHEAD struck us as an interesting thing to do. We'd just bring him onstage without winks or nudges to our readers, without obvious allusions to the fact that he'd already featured in two of our previous novels. Readers of RELIC and RELIQUARY would know who he was--other people wouldn't. But it gave us a 'pre-rolled' character, so to speak: somebody we already knew and felt comfortable writing about. And we both liked Smithback and wanted to see him in some more books. Going on the expedition, and meeting Nora Kelly, changed his life dramatically.

"Feedback from readers was positive. Since then, we've broadened the overlap. In some ways, our most recent book, THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, has the most cross-pollenation of all!"

Here's a list of the cross-correlations to date. If we've missed anything, please let us know. Thanks to all those who have emailed us with suggestions!


RELIC The Original
MOUNT DRAGON A distant correlation: the heroine of this book, Susana Cabeza de Vaca, is a direct descendant of the explorer who searched for the lost city of Quivira, as related in THUNDERHEAD.
RELIQUARY As a sequel to RELIC, there are numerous correlations. All the major characters--Agent Pendergast, Margo Green, Smithback, D'Agosta, Frock--return. Among various new characters are Laura Hayward of the NYPD and Simon Brambell, a medical examiner. (Even Greg Kawakita returns--in a way.)
RIPTIDE Kerry Wopner, the obnoxious systems wiz, actually made his first appearance in the unfinished Preston-Child novel, Hex, which for a long time was available for reading in the now-defunct 'web-only fiction' pages of this site.
THUNDERHEAD Bill Smithback, of RELIC and RELIQUARY, came along on the expedition to Quivira.
THE ICE LIMIT The ship's doctor, Patrick Brambell, was obliquely identified as the brother of the medical examiner in RELIQUARY.
THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES CoC (as readers have started to call it) is positively infested with correlations! To begin with, it marks the return of Agent Pendergast (RELIC, RELIQUARY), who teams up with both Nora Kelly (THUNDERHEAD) and Bill Smithback (RELIC, RELIQUARY, THUNDERHEAD). In addition, Palmer Lloyd (THE ICE LIMIT) is referred to as a would-be employer of Nora Kelly's, and the reason she originally came east from Santa Fe to New York. Bryce Harriman (RELIQUARY), Smithback's nemesis, makes a triumphant return. We also learn that Margo Green (RELIC, RELIQUARY) is now working at GeneDyne (MOUNT DRAGON) and that Vincent D'Agosta is living in Canada, writing police procedurals under the pen name Campell Dirk. And what are we to make of that ruby-colored meteorite on page 305? Or the license plate of Smithback's rented car, ELI-7734? No doubt there are others... let us know what we've missed!
UTOPIA At the Park's "pre-game show," reference is made to the CEO of GeneDyne (MOUNT DRAGON).
STILL LIFE WITH CROWS Special Agent Pendergast returns for his fourth appearance in the novels of Preston-Child: this time in the small (very small) town of Medicine Creek, Kansas, where the corn is tall and the suspicion is mutual, thank you very much. Young Corrie Swanson is found to be reading a very thrilling novel entitled Beyond the Ice Limit. Also, Mime (from MOUNT DRAGON) plays a small but pivotal role. In addition, there are several indirect references to CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, and to events common to both books. These include Wren and a certain someone else whose identity is not yet known, but who is ultimately identified in BRIMSTONE as one Constance Greene.
THE CODEX One of the characters is seen reading a thriller entitled Utopia. Comforting to know that our characters have such excellent taste in books...
BRIMSTONE Special Agent Pendergast returns once again, on what few would deny to be his most dangerous mission to date. Along for the ride in one respect or another are Sergeant (no longer Lieutenant) D'Agosta, Wren, Constance Greene (who had rather odd cameos in CABINET OF CURIOSITIES and STILL LIFE WITH CROWS), and the much-reviled Post reporter, Bryce Harriman. Bill Smithback is mentioned, but not seen on stage, being on an extended honeymoon with his new bride, Nora Kelly. And, of course, there's Laura Hayward of Reliquary, now an NYPD captain. There is further mention--and perhaps even a sighting-- of Pendergast's dreaded brother, Diogenes, who we learned of in passing in CABINET OF CURIOSITIES. Clearly, we haven't heard the last of him...
DANCE OF DEATH So many, it's a veritable reunion... Pendergast, D'Agosta, Smithback, Nora Kelly, Margo Green, Laura Hayward, Viola Maskelene, Wren, Constance, Wren, Corrie Swanson, Mime, Chief Horlocker, Director Collopy, Great Aunt Cornelia, all return, among others. And then there are a few, um, surprises that we won't spoil by mentioning here.
BOOK OF THE DEAD More to come!


And here's the cast of characters that have who have appeared in more than one Preston-Child novel:

William Smithback, Jr. 6 (7*)
Agent Pendergast 7
Margo Green 4 (5*)
Lieutenant D'Agosta 5 (6*)
Laura Hayward 4
Nora Kelly 4 (5*)
Dr. Frock 2 (3*)
Wren 4
Constance Greene 5
Bryce Harriman 3
"Mime" 2 (3*)
Gregory Kawakita 1 (2*)
Diogenes Pendergast 3 (4*)
Simon Brambell 1 (2*)
Skip Kelly 1 (2*)
Viola Maskelene 3
Corrie Swanson 2
Note: numbers in asterisks include books in which a character is mentioned, but does not appear. Both Kawakita and Brambell, alas, were deceased at the time of their second mention.

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