Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Agent Pendergast

Go To

This is the Character Sheet for the Agent Pendergast series of novels.
    open/close all folders 

     Main Characters 

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, Crimson Shore

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

Bill Smithback

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

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Smithback is very skilled at these. It serves him well in gaining exclusives and access to important people who refuse to see the press.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Occasionally gives off this vibe.
  • Chew Toy: Smithback gets mangled quite often. By The Cabinet of Curiosities, he seems upset and nervous just to see Pendergast again. He's probably anticipating what horrors he'll get into thanks to his involvement with the FBI agent this time around. Sadly, this comes to its ultimate apex and becomes no longer an issue as of Cemetery Dance.
  • Constantly Curious: And it does come back to bite him.
  • Distressed Dude: He tends to be held as a hostage frequently, often after he's been caught snooping (see Constantly Curious), and takes a lot of physical punishment.
  • Going for the Big Scoop
  • Happily Married: To Nora Kelly.
  • Intrepid Reporter
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Smithback is described as egotistical and careerist by most of the other characters when they first meet him, but usually manages to prove himself a worthy sidekick. Although he can be cocky, he's also courageous, protective of people he cares about, and reliable in a pinch.
  • Messy Hair

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 and Reliquary) 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.
  • Hot Scientist
  • Tsundere

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

Constance Greene

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), Still Life With Crows, Brimstone, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, The Wheel of Darkness, Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, Blue Labyrinth, Crimson Shore

Agent Armstrong Coldmoon

A Special Senior Agent and fellow FBI Agent who is teamed up with Pendergast in later novels.

Appears In: Verses for the Dead, Crooked River


     The Pendergast Family 

Diogenes Pendergast

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 (as a vision), Blue Labyrinth (ditto) Crimson Shore (not as a vision), The Obsidian Chamber

Helen Esterhazy Pendergast

Pendergast's late wife.

Appears In: Fever Dream (flashback), Cold Vengeance, Two Graves

Cornelia Pendergast

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.
  • Bus Crash: Dies behind the scenes from health complications early on in Fever Dream.
  • Evil Old Folks: Cornelia was locked away at Mount Mercy after poisoning her entire family.

Comstock Pendergast

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. He changes his name to Enoch Leng, and his actions and whereabouts become relevant in The Cabinet of Curiosities. Aloysius later inherits Leng's mansion.

  • 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.
  • The Ghost: Due to being a Posthumous Character, almost nothing is known of Enoch Leng besides his history and motivations. We get a glimpse of his personality in Blue Labyrinth.
  • Kill All Humans/Misanthrope Supreme: 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.
  • Like Father, Like Son: As explained in Blue Labyrinth, his father was also a sort of chemist - and may have been the reason he turned to chemistry in the first place.
  • 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.

Hezekiah Pendergast

The father of Antoine and Comstock Pendergast, and Alyosius's great-great grandfather. A seller of patent medicine who restored the Pendergast family fortune. His legacy plays a role in Blue Labyrinth

  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied he killed himself after failing to save his wife.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He refuses to accept that his Elixir has side-effects until his wife is affected. He then dedicates the rest of his life to finding a cure...because he fails and kills himself.
  • Retcon: In The Cabinet of Curiosities his wife was named Carlotta. In Blue Labyrinth his wife is now named Constance.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Played with. Patent Medicine is where the trope name comes from, but Hezekiah genuinely believed in the efficacy of special Elixir. Unfortunately, his Elixir is an addictive poison that causes a long and painful death.

Judson Esterhazy

Aloysius' brother-in-law and the brother of Helen.

Appears In: Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves


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.
  • 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. Curiously, this isn't mentioned when he appears in Blue Labyrinth.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Blue Labyrinth shows that he actually seemed to have made a genuine change of heart in Brazil, and died trying to stop the plan he enacted against Pendergast.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: When he escapes in Two Graves he suffers little repercussions for his actions. Karma catches up with him big time by Blue Labyrinth: not only was his wife killed in an unrelated attack, but his attempt to stop Barbeaux from seeking revenge against his father backfires horribly and results in his death.
  • Love Redeems: While recuperating in Brazil and waiting for his plan of using Barbeaux to kill his father, he winds up falling love with a woman for real and marries her, and her influence winds up turning him into a better person. This winds up ending horribly for him.
  • Must Make Amends: He actually apologizes to Tristram in Blue Labyrinth, and tries to call off his plan to kill Pendergast.
  • Psychic Powers: Thanks to LEGO Genetics Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything, he possess the ability to anticipate future events before they happen. It's not perfect precognition though.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Although unconfirmed, it feels like this happened to him. The ending of Two Graves builds up Alban to be the new villain in Pendergast's life, replacing Diogenes. He next appears in the beginning of Blue Labyrinth...dead on Pendergast's doorstep. As Pendergast investigates his death, he learns (to his own disbelief) that Alban gave up his evil ways and was strangled to death by a shoelace of all things. The point is driven home by the next two books Crimson Shore and The Obsidian Chamber which feature the return of the aforementioned Diogenes.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Raised by Der Bund to be a ruthless killer.
  • The Worf Effect: 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 savvy as Alban is a force to be reckoned with.
  • Walking Spoiler


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

     Other characters 

Corrie Swanson

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
  • Delinquents
  • 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.

  • Battle Butler
  • The Chew Toy: Ever since Smithback was murdered he seems to have taken up this position in recent novels, amassing some sort of injury per book. So far he was shot near the end of Cold Vengeance, knocked out by Alban in Two Graves, injured in a car crash at the beginning of Blue Labyrinth, attacked and sent unconscious at the end of Crimson Shore, and was then stranded in a desert with minimal supplies in Central Africa and left to fight three young male lions prior to making his way back home in The Obsidian Chamber.
  • No Name Given/Last-Name Basis: D'Agosta tries to get Proctor to be less formal with him, but he won't even give him his first name.
  • No Sense of Humor: No matter how hard D'Agosta tries to joke or talk with Proctor during their stakeout of the prison, he flatly replies with a word or two at a time.
  • The Stoic

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 bibliophile. 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

  • Bookworm
  • The Nicknamer: He calls Pendergast hypocrite lecteur, a reference to a poem by Charles Baudelaire

Eli Glinn

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 regular character in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Gideon Crew novels.

Appears In: The Ice Limit, Dance of Death, Book of the Dead, the Gideon Crew series
  • 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.
  • Determinator: This is presented as a character flaw. The man refuses to accept failure, even when it's obvious he should just give up. Also when things don't go according to plan he often persists in his belief that the plan has to be correct (until he realizes he missed something).
  • Eye Scream: Has lost an eye in between the events of The Ice Limit and Dance of Death.
  • Genius Cripple: Not originally, but the events of The Ice Limit left him in a wheelchair. This is fixed in the Gideon Crew novel The Lost Island.
  • Sole Survivor: Almost. His backstory, explained in The Ice Limit, is that he was part of a US Special Forces team. When his team was almost completely wiped out in a bad op, Glinn and the only other survivor left the military and started Effective Engineering Solutions
  • Transplant: First appeared in a stand-alone novel, reappeared in two books of the Diogenes trilogy, and then became a regular character in the Gideon Crew series when it began. It then went full circle with the fourth Gideon Crew book, which was also a sequel to the aforementioned stand-alone novel.

Agent Coffey

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

  • Hate Sink: He's intentionally written as one of the biggest Jerkasses in the entire series.
  • 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.

Bryce Harriman

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.
  • Jerkass
    • 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 an associate of Pendergast who is also a brilliant hacker and researcher. His first appearance was the otherwise unrelated novel Mount Dragon, and his first mention in the Agent Pendergast series was Still Life With Crows

Appears In: Mount Dragon, Dance of Death, Cold Vengeance, White Fire, Blue Labyrinth

Dr. Frock

The department head at the American Museum of Natural History in The Relic and Reliquary and Margo Green's friend and mentor.

Appears In: The Relic, Reliquary


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: