The Cabinet of Curiosities Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Cabinet of Curiosities

    Before there were museums in New York, there were personal oddities put on display by private collectors, these displays were called cabinets of curiosities. When a construction crew uncovers 36 bodies, all with parts of there spine removed, burried in the basement of what was once a cabinet of curiosity display 130 years ago, it draws the interest of special agent Pendergast, who with archaeologist Nora Kelly, discover that Enoch Leng, in the late 1800's used the missing spinal parts in an attempt to produce an elixer enabling him to prolong his life.
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    Shortly after an article in the paper appeared, discribing the murders and the theory behind them, new murder victems, all killed in the same fashion as those first discovered, start appearing.
    While the police are searching for a copy cat killer, Agent pendergast and Nora Kelly, convinced the key to the new murders lay burried in the past, try and find out as much about the mysterious Enoch Leng and his work as they can in order to determine if these new murders are the work of a copy cat killer or the work of Leng himself.
The review of this Book prepared by James S Turner

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Warner, Jun 2002, 25.95, 466 pp.
ISBN: 0446530220

In lower Manhattan, the construction crew is excavating the site so that a high rise could be built. As the team digs deeper, they uncover something macabre. The location once held a nineteenth century CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, but the “time capsule” legacy left behind for the present to discover is dozens of skeletal remains of obvious victims of a serial killer. The media learns about the 1880s homicides and enflames a public feeding frenzy.

However, someone goes further than just shock. Abominable copycat murders occur, sending the locals into panic. FBI Special Agent Pendergast, New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr., and New York Museum of Natural History employee Nora Kelly join forces to search for the modern day culprit. The evidence points towards the same person who committed the gruesome crimes over a century ago still operating today as it appears a nineteenth century scientist may have unleashed Frankenstein's monster while unlocking the puzzle of immortality.

Instead of seeming like old relics, the return of characters from previous novels enhances the latest Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child horror thriller. The story line is exciting, as the action never slows down and readers will feel the Son of Sam grip on the city. The good guys are strong and resolute though they face a formidable opponent. However, the key to why THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is worth reading is the villain who seems so genuine in spite of the aura of immortality surrounding him. This is another thunderous triumph for this awesome author duo.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Cabinet of Curiosities

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 25%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 15%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70%    -   90% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   solving long-past murder    -   Big focus on forensic evidence    -   Big focus on autopsies Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Horror Story?    -   Yes Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Horror plotlets    -   the mad stabber chased me! Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   government investigator    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Super genius


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--swords/knives Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Cabinet of Curiosities

Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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