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Dear Reader,
As promised in our last Pendergast File, we were able (with significant cajoling) to convince Agent Pendergast to field ten questions from you, our readers. We chose these questions more or less at random from among the several thousand we received. The interview took place the other evening in Pendergast’s reception room at the Dakota. As the interview proceeded, Pendergast grew increasingly restive and testy. We feel fortunate he stayed to the last question.
There were so many excellent questions that we hope, when his irritation has abated, to convince him to endure another round and share his answers with you.
We want to thank all of you who participated. We greatly enjoyed reading your questions.
All the best,
Doug & Linc
Pendergast: I’m sorry to have kept you gentlemen waiting. (Glances at his watch.) Shall we get started? I am in rather a rush this evening.
Doug: Certainly. The first question comes from Susana from Aveiro, Portugal. “Why did you decide to wear only black clothing? I have always been puzzled by this. Surely a little note of color here and there would be acceptable.”
Pendergast: Long ago, I decided that choosing a daily wardrobe was one of the most unproductive tasks imaginable. At the same time, I appreciate comfort. I am not a masochist. And so I purchased a single hundred-yard bolt of the finest Italian wool-silk blended fabric, in plain black. I have had all my suits tailored in London from the same material. My shoes are all hand-made in the same Oxford pattern by John Lobb. As for your “little note of color,” I believe the only color seen on a man should be in his tie. Next question, please.
Linc: It’s from Lucas in Dijon, France. “What is your very favorite painting?”
Pendergast: My favorite painting, which hangs in the Tate Gallery in London, is “Regulus,” by Turner. There's a rather disturbing story behind the image. The Roman general, Marcus Atilius Regulus, was captured by the Carthaginians in war. They sent him back to Rome to try to negotiate the release of certain Carthaginian prisoners. In an act of defiance he instructed the Roman Senate not to release the prisoners and to continue the war. Then, instead of remaining safely in Rome, he chose the path of honor and returned to Carthage to meet his fate. The Carthaginians tortured him by cutting off his eyelids and facing him toward the sun. Turner magnificently captures the painful yet strangely beautiful brilliance of the rising sun as it would be endured through the lidless eyes of Regulus.
Linc: That’s…quite an answer.
Pendergast: It was a fine question.
Doug: Deb of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee asks: “Other than Linc and Doug, who are your top three most liked authors?”
Pendergast: Ah. The fact is that you two are not among my most liked authors.
Linc: Um…we’re not?
Pendergast: No. I find your stories—at least the few I’ve skimmed—to be histrionic and contrived. You gloss over the scientific aspects of the cases in favor of the sensational. And your portrayal of me is most disturbing. Now as to the second part of the question, which I find rather interesting. My three favorite authors are Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Wittgenstein.
Doug: I see. Well. Cassie in Brooklyn asks: “Where is the strangest place you have ever made love?”
Pendergast: On the carcass of a male lion, freshly shot. I wish we had known in advance that the lion was afflicted with mange. Next?
Linc: It’s from “your devoted fan Michele M. Legate.” “If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?”
Pendergast: I would dine with Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, and Hitler. I feel confident that the ruthless and power-mad Genghis Khan would dispose of Pol Pot and Hitler. I would in turn dispatch Genghis Khan, thus ridding the world of its three greatest criminals over the course of a single meal.
Doug: Kent of Webster Groves, Missouri asks: “What is your favorite curiosity in your home’s cabinet of curiosities?”
Pendergast: A 62-carat piece of painite, cut and polished, graded AAA, the hue of deep honey. Painite is the rarest gemstone in the world, and this is the only example of honey-colored painite known to exist.
Linc: Next question. Kathy in Maine wants to know: “Did you ever meet John Lennon or Yoko in the Dakota?”
Pendergast: Who?
Doug (exchanging glances with Linc): Lena Kendall asks: “How have you been able to stave off the madness that afflicts your family?”
Pendergast: My dear Ms. Kendall, what makes you think that I have been able to?
Linc: And the next question is—
Pendergast: Surely you have already asked more than ten.
Linc: Actually, this is number nine. Fabio from Italy wonders: “Since you have visited Italy, I’d like to know your favorite bit of the land, the little place you love. It could be a piazza, a church, a restaurant, a bar, a park.”
Pendergast: A charming question, thank you. My favorite place would be the dark chapel deep inside the Badia Fiorentina, the ancient abbey in the heart of Florence, across the lane from Dante’s boyhood home. It is a mysterious place, resinous with candle smoke and incense. A very great Renaissance painting hangs in the dimness, overlooked and scarcely visible: Filippino Lippi’s Apparition of the Virgin to St. Bernard. And if I may recommend another 'little place', it would be the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, with its underground collection of mummified, dehydrated, and embalmed corpses. A lovely, practical reminder of our common destiny.
Doug: And for a final question, which comes from Meghann in the Philippines: “What is the most bizarre case you’ve ever come across and how were you able to solve it?”
Pendergast: Two cases vie for that honor. The first remains highly classified. The second has recently been chronicled by you two Boswells—the one you’ve told me will be published later in the year. The title escapes me.
Doug: Blue Labyrinth.
Pendergast: Yes, of course. As you both know, that case was the most painful and distressing I ever endured, and I hope never to see its like again. I am still feeling the effects.
Linc: I know that we’ve reached the tenth question, but there are some really interesting additional questions here, and we were wondering—
Pendergast (rising): I’m sorry, gentlemen, but I’m afraid I cannot indulge you further in this exercise. Now, will you see yourselves out, or shall I summon Proctor to—
Doug (hastily): That’s all right, we know the way.

P. S. Just a little more on Blue Labyrinth: the book is finished and will, as Pendergast alludes, be published this fall. Our editor, Mitch Hoffman, has very kindly said: “Blue Labyrinth is the perfect Pendergast story.”


And now for some random (but we hope entertaining) Preston & Child links:
For a personally autographed copy of THE KRAKEN PROJECT, Doug's new novel.
And here's Doug's tour schedule for April and May
Doug wrote the introduction to a horrifying new guidebook to Florence, Italy, called The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence: From the Monsters of the Past to the Monster of Florence, available here




© 2018 Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child