Characters: Agent Pendergast
This is the Character Sheet for the Agent Pendergast
series of novels.
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Special Agent Aloysius Xingu L. Pendergast
Eccentric FBI Agent
with a keen interest in Serial Killers
. Originally from New Orleans, he spends most of his time in New York where he owns a luxury apartment and inherited an old mansion. Was the Only Sane Man
of a rich and unusual family, which has almost died out. Doesn't have much regard for his superiors - or conventional investigative methods.
Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Still Life with Crows, Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, The Wheel of Darkness, Cemetery Dance, Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, White Fire, Blue Labyrinth
- All a Part of the Job
- Awesome McCoolname: Aloysius Xingu L. Pendergast
- Awesomeness by Analysis
- Breakout Character: The main character in The Relic and Reliquary was anthropology post-grad Margo Green, with FBI Agent Pendergast being a supporting character alongside Lt. D'Agosta. Indeed, in the movie version of Relic the Pendergast character was removed completely to focus on Green and D'Agosta instead. However, Pendergast proved so popular that the authors made him the focus of the following books in the series, so much so that the series of novels has become informally named after him.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: An FBI agent who spends almost zero time working on actual FBI cases.
- Busman's Holiday: In both The Wheel of Darkness and White Fire Pendergast starts out taking some time off away from his usual haunting grounds to recover from stressful events, only to be roped into some new case.
- Cain and Abel: The Abel; his brother Diogenes is, unusually for this trope, the younger of the pair
- Catch Phrase: "A very bad habit, but one I find hard to break."
- Crazy-Prepared: Agent Pendergast takes this to Batman-like levels.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Mostly talks in a Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness fashion, drives a Rolls Royce, has a Zen garden inside his apartment, and looks like an undertaker. He gets along with competent people, but he is most definitely eccentric and old money rich.
- Expy: Described by the authors as a modern-day version of pulp-hero The Shadow.
- Fish out of Water: Almost anywhere he shows up. And he loves it.
- Gentleman Detective: From Louisiana.
- Guile Hero
- Gray Eyes: The description varies from time to time between pale blue and silver.
- Heroic Albino: Played with. He looks like an albino, but he's just incredibly pale.
- I Work Alone: Generally averted as he is willing to accept help, but during the events of the second two books in the Helen Trilogy he's much more insistent on handling matters on his own due to how much of a personal impact it has on him.
- Implacable Man: When he has an objective in mind, he will not stop until he carries it out. He's even actually called such in Cold Vengeance.
- Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Pendergast is improbably well versed in a wide array of fields.
- Last Name Basis: Pendergast does not like to be called Aloysius.
- Limited Wardrobe: Pendergast has three dozen identical suits made out of the same antique bolt of fabric. The only times he's not wearing one of them is when he's in disguise.
- Major Injury Underreaction
- Manly Tears: He actually sheds a few tears of relief after discovering that Corrie survived her apparent death in White Fire.
- Martial Pacifist: Who sometimes uses all kinds of weird Tibetan martial arts.
- Master of Disguise: Which is a real feat, considering his very distinguishing looks.
- Non-Idle Rich: Pendergast certainly doesn't work for the money.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught
- Not So Stoic: In Cemetery Dance and the Helen Trilogy.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: On occasion.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Though he still enlists the help of Nora, or others, if he encounters problems.
- Parental Substitute: To Corrie.
- Playing Drunk: Pendergast does this a lot, mostly amongst the homeless.
- Pragmatic Hero
- Sanity Slippage: The entire Pendergast family line is known for this trait, and Aloysius begins going through a nasty case in later books, particularly in The Wheel of Darkness and the Helen Trilogy.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: All the time. What's more, he pulls his friends and helpers into it.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Hell, he even gets manicures.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Pendergast is reminiscent of Atticus Finch. He sports a strong New Orleans accent paired with a razor sharp wit and legal mind. He's so good at solving the bizarre crimes he comes across that he's been accused of being a Mary Sue.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As a part of said Sanity Slippage, Pendergast's demeanor has gradually been becoming more... unpleasant to say the least, so much that even his usual friends like D'Agosta have started having trouble working with him.
- Ultimate Job Security: Pendergast has been threatened with getting fired countless times for unorthodox and occasionally downright illegal procedures, but still retains his job at the FBI.
- Weapon of Choice: A .45 Les Baer.
- What You Are in the Dark: A theme examined over the course of the books. Pendergast starts out (apparently) excelling at everything he does, but some Moral Dissonance begins popping up around him by the time of Dance of Death, and then he comes close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in Fever Dream. He's definitely moving deeper into Anti-Hero territory the longer his story gets.
Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta
Pendergast's friend on the NYPD
who helps and serves as a sidekick on most of his cases. He was first introduced in The Relic
when he was the investigating officer for the Museum Murders.
Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary, Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Cemetery Dance, Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth
Dr. Nora Kelly
An archaeologist with the New York Museum of Natural History. She first gets involved in a case with Pendergast when he consults her for her expert opinion in The Cabinet of Curiosities
. She stars in the prequel, Thunderhead
Appears In: Thunderhead, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Cemetery Dance
Funny, he tends to make a bad first impression, until you realize he's got a heart of gold... and the courage of a lion to match.
The Intrepid Reporter
who injects himself into most cases in search of the next big scoop. He first appeared in The Relic
, working within the museum on a book about the Superstition exhibit that was in the works.
Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary, Thunderhead, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Cemetery Dance
Dr. Margo Green
An anthropologist with the New York Museum of Natural History. She stars in the first two novels in the series (The Relic
) before the focus switches to Pendergast.
Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Blue Labyrinth
- The Bus Came Back: After a making a few brief appearances in some of the Pendergast books that have come out she finally returns in a prominent role in Blue Labyrinth, a whopping 17 years after the events of Reliquary.
- Demoted to Extra: Margo Green was the original main character of The Relic and Reliquary, but after that the focus of the series switch from her to Agent Pendergast, and she pretty quickly faded into the background, being promptly replaced by Thunderhead's heroine Nora Kelly as the series's main female supporting character.
- Seems to have been inverted recently; while Nora was Put on a Bus after the events of Cemetery Dance several books prior, Margo recently returned with a major role in Blue Labyrinth.
- Hot Scientist
Captain Laura Hayward
First introduced in Reliquary
, Hayward is a tough as nails NYPD
officer who works her way up through the ranks by sheer skill and tenacity.
Appears In: Reliquary, Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Cemetery Dance, Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth
You are unique[...] I know you've been blessed and cursed with a strange and terrible burden. How many would wish for such a gift as you were given[...]—and yet how few could understand just what it would be like. Not liberation, not at all. So many, many years of childhood...and yet, to be deprived of being a child...
A Mysterious Waif
who shows up as Pendergast's ward in Brimstone
. She has a very
long and convoluted past.
Appears In: The Cabinet of Curiosities (cameo), Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, The Wheel of Darkness, Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth
The Pendergast Family
Penderast's brother and nemesis. He blames his brother for his insanity and lives his life to enact revenge upon him.
Appears In: Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, The Wheel of Darkness
Helen Esterhazy Pendergast
Pendergast's late wife.
Appears In: Fever Dream (flashback), Cold Vengeance, Two Graves
One of the few remaining members of the Pendergast family, Cornelia is as mad as she is old. Fiercely intelligent and cunning. Pendergast still refers to her when he needs advice.
Appears In: The Cabinet of Curiosities, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Cemetery Dance
- Axe Crazy: She spends most of her time strapped to a wheelchair and it's still mentioned that she regularly puts orderlies in the hospital.
- Evil Old Folks: Cornelia was locked away at Mount Mercy after poisoning her entire family.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies behind the scenes from health complications early on in Fever Dream.
Great-grand uncle to Diogenes and Aloysius. He made his living as a magician, but the family madness caused him to put sinister and deadly twists into his tricks. His legacy figures prominently in Book of the Dead
- Fright Death Trap: Comstock's magic lantern show was designed to scare the victim to death, cause them to go insane or commit suicide.
Antoine Leng Pendergast Enoch Leng
Great-grand uncle of Diogenes and Aloysius. He was expelled from the family and disappeared with his personal fortune.
- Dead All Along: The Cabinet of Curiosities plays Leng up as the killer for the entire novel, only for him to turn out to have been murdered shortly before the book's events started.
- So You Want to Live Forever: Antione spent his time in New York devising an immortality serum. He realized his life's work would take more than a lifetime, and so prolonged his life to accomplish his goals.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His aforementioned life's goals. He ended it not because of a Heel-Face Turn but because the first successful test of the Hydrogen Bomb convinced him mankind would do a fine job killing itself.
Aloysius' brother-in-law and the brother of Helen.
Appears In: Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves
Alban One of Aloysius and Helen's twin sons, he spent his entire life being raised by the Nazi organization Der Bund, or "The Covenant".
Appears In: Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth
- Antagonistic Offspring: He's the main character's son and one of his deadliest enemies. The fact that someone was successfully able to kill him is the driving mystery behind Blue Labyrinth, since Pendergast notes that someone able to easily capture and kill someone as Dangerously Genre Savvy as Alban is a force to be reckoned with.
- Bus Crash: At the end of Two Graves he manages to successfully escape and appears to be a Karma Houdini - then at the very beginning of Blue Labyrinth his corpse turns up on Pendergast's front doorstep.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Tristram's Abel.
- Facial Horror: At the end of Two Graves when Pendergast destroys the main compound of the Covenant he doesn't escape and gets over half his face mutilated and burned in the explosion.
- The Heavy: Wulf Fischer is the mastermind of Der Bund, but he gets a lot more appearances throughout the book, and is even the one to finish Fischer off.
- Tykebomb: Raised by Der Bund to be a ruthless killer.
- Walking Spoiler
Tristram One of Aloysius and Helen's twin sons, he spent his entire life being raised by the Nazi organization Der Bund, or "The Covenant". While Alban was considered the "perfect" twin and bred to be one of their soldiers, Tristram was viewed as inferior and genetic waste, and spent his entire life in their care being mistreated.
Appears In: Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth
A protege of Pendergast's. Corrie first appeared in Still Life with Crows
and Pendergast took an interest in her future and sent her to the best boarding school in the country.
Appears In: Still Life with Crows, Dance of Death, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, White Fire
- The Bus Came Back: Returns in Cold Vengeance.
- Cute Bookworm
- Fingore: Gets one of her fingers shot off when she's attacked by a hitman. Unlike D'Agosta, it doesn't get reattached.
- Perky Goth: Though she's recently dropped the goth part.
- Same Character, but Different: As of White Fire she's dropped her gothic appearance as well as the more rebellious nature she had as a teen. This is due to the line of work she's trying to get into, as she notes that it's hard to take someone getting into law enforcement seriously when they have dyed purple hair and piercings.
- Supporting Protagonist: In White Fire, which primarily takes place from her perspective.
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: A side character laments the loss of her apparently naturally blonde hair in Still Life With Crows. As of White Fire she's quit dyeing it and it's back to her natural color.
The man was no mere chauffeur—D'Agosta had figured that out as soon as he saw him break down and stow away a CAR-15/XM-117 Commando in less than sixty seconds—but he could never seem to penetrate Proctor's Jeeves-like opacity.
Proctor is Pendergast's chauffeur and confidant. He is likely the only person to know all the intimate details of the agent's secretive life.
Lady Viola Maskelene
First introduced in Brimstone
, Viola is a European noblewoman who is as intelligent as she is beautiful. She falls in love
with Pendergast the first time they meet.
Appears In: Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Two Graves
- Damsel in Distress: Once Diogenes learns about his brother's feelings for her, he delights in putting her in danger.
- Love at First Sight: With Pendergast.
- Punny Name: In a novel that focuses greatly around the intrigue of a priceless missing violin, the female lead, with connections to said violin, is named Viola.
- Reckless Sidekick: Describes herself as "impulsive", which the Big Bad uses against her (and Pendergast).
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite enough wealth to let her sit on a beach for the rest of her life, Viola is an accomplished Egyptologist and works her own vinyard.
With his luminous eyes and almost translucent skin, the man looked like a cave creature, paler even than Pendergast...if that were possible.
A friend of Pendergast's who is a superb researcher and a complete book-ophile. First introduced in The Cabinet of Curiosities
, he works the night shift at the library, restoring antique books that would otherwise fade to dust.
Appears In: The Cabinet of Curiosities, Still Life with Crows
Owner of Effective Engineering Solutions, Glinn is a "problem solving" genius who guarantees his work on any level (boasting he's never had to give a refund). His first encounter with Pendergast is in Dance of Death
when Pendergast consults him for a predictive psychological workup of his brother. He made his debut as one of the main characters in The Ice Limit
, and has since become a recurring character in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Gideon Crew
Appears In: The Ice Limit Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, Gideon's Sword, Gideon's Corpse
- The Chessmaster: Glinn makes it his career to provide absolute success in any problem presented to him. He calls his precautions "double overage" and has contingency plans for his contingency plans. He is rarely, if ever, caught off guard.
- Eye Scream: Has lost an eye in between the events of The Ice Limit and Dance of Death.
- Genius Cripple
Rival agent to Pendergast, and an inferior one at that. Coffey first appeared in The Relic
as the agent in charge of the security and rescue operations at the museum during the Superstition exhibit opening. His botching of the assignment and Pendergast's heroism during that night nearly ruins his career. He blames Pendergast for his misfortune.
Appears In: The Relic, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead
- It's Personal: Agent Coffey's hatred of Pendergast goes far beyond professional rivalry. He's gleeful when he finds out Pendergast has become a fugitive in Dance of Death and tries to have him raped and murdered in prison in Book of the Dead.
- Never My Fault: Coffey blames all his professional misfortunes on Pendergast, dismissing his own incompetence as cause.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: His right hand man, Rabiner.
Bill Smithback's main rival in the reporter field. Harriman eventually gets a job at the New York Times
just to spite Bill. He's first mentioned in Reliquary
and later makes his first appearance in a brief cameo in The Cabinet of Curiosities
. He finally properly appears in Brimstone
Appears In: The Cabinet of Curiosities, Brimstone, Dance of Death, Cemetery Dance
- Evil Counterpart: While "evil" is a stretch, he has Smithback's ego and drive but possesses neither his strength of character or his loyalty to his friends.
- It's All About Me: He only cares about one person: himself.
- Jerk Ass
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: After Smithback's death, at one point he can be seen starting a riot, demanding justice be done in his memory. Then after his comments start a frenzy, he can be shown smirking, revealing that all he was doing was starting things up to create some news.
- Smug Snake
Mime is a friend of Pendergasts who is also a brilliant hacker and researcher.
Appears In: Mount Dragon, White Fire, Blue Labyrinth
The department head at the American Museum of Natural History in The Relic
and Margo Green's friend and mentor.
Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary