Cold Vengeance
Goodreads ratings
4.07 / 5

"Cold Vengeance" Summary

By Douglas Preston

thriller | 457 pages | Published in 2011


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A vengeful FBI agent teams up with a mysterious woman to track down the man responsible for the murder of their loved ones.


In the thrilling novel "Cold Vengeance" by Douglas Preston, readers are taken on a heart-pounding journey filled with mystery, danger, and revenge. This gripping tale is the eleventh book in the popular Pendergast series, following the enigmatic and brilliant FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast as he unravels a dark conspiracy that threatens everything he holds dear.

Brief Synopsis

"Cold Vengeance" picks up where the previous installment, "Fever Dream," left off. After discovering that his beloved wife Helen was not killed in a tragic accident as he had believed, but rather murdered as part of a sinister plot, Pendergast embarks on a quest for vengeance. Determined to uncover the truth behind her death, he sets out on a dangerous journey that takes him from the desolate landscapes of Scotland to the treacherous terrain of South America.

The story is set in various locations, including the rugged Scottish Highlands, the vibrant city of New York, and the remote wilderness of the Amazon rainforest. Each setting adds a unique atmosphere to the narrative, from the haunting beauty of the Scottish moors to the oppressive heat and dense foliage of the Amazon.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Aloysius PendergastAn eccentric and brilliant FBI Special Agent who is determined to uncover the truth behind his wife's murder. He possesses a sharp intellect and a deep knowledge of various fields.
Helen PendergastAloysius Pendergast's late wife, whose murder sets the events of the novel in motion. She is revealed to have a mysterious past and connections to dangerous individuals.
Constance GreeneA close friend and confidante of Pendergast, Constance possesses a unique set of skills and knowledge. She aids Pendergast in his quest for vengeance.
Diogenes PendergastAloysius Pendergast's estranged brother, who was thought to be dead. Diogenes is revealed to be the mastermind behind Helen's murder and seeks to destroy his brother.

Summary of Story Points

Chapters 1-5: Uncovering Clues in Scotland

Pendergast travels to Scotland to investigate a lead on Helen's murder, following a cryptic message left behind by her. He discovers a hidden cave with ancient artifacts that hint at a grand conspiracy.

Chapters 6-10: Pursuit in New York City

Returning to New York, Pendergast delves deeper into the secrets surrounding his wife's death. He encounters dangerous adversaries and uncovers a vast network of corruption.

Chapters 11-15: The Trail to South America

Driven by his thirst for revenge, Pendergast follows a trail that leads him to the dangerous jungles of South America. He faces perilous challenges and encounters new allies and enemies along the way.

Chapters 16-20: Confrontation in the Amazon

In the heart of the Amazon rainforest, Pendergast confronts his brother Diogenes, who reveals his true intentions and the extent of his twisted plot. A deadly battle ensues between the brothers as they fight for their lives and for justice.

Main Events

  • Pendergast discovers a hidden cave in Scotland containing ancient artifacts that hint at a grand conspiracy.
  • Pendergast encounters dangerous adversaries and uncovers a vast network of corruption in New York City.
  • Pendergast follows a trail that leads him to the dangerous jungles of South America.
  • Pendergast confronts his estranged brother Diogenes in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, leading to a deadly battle.

Themes and Insights

  1. Revenge: The theme of revenge runs throughout the novel, as Pendergast seeks justice for his wife's murder. It explores the lengths one is willing to go to avenge a loved one and the consequences that come with seeking vengeance.
  2. Family and Betrayal: The complex relationship between brothers Aloysius and Diogenes Pendergast is a central theme. It delves into the notions of loyalty, betrayal, and the impact of family dynamics on personal identity.
  3. Corruption and Power: The story uncovers a vast network of corruption that spans across different locations and influential individuals. It highlights the destructive nature of power and the lengths people will go to protect their interests.
  4. Redemption and Sacrifice: The characters in "Cold Vengeance" face moral dilemmas and must make choices that involve personal sacrifice and redemption. It explores the idea that redemption can be found even in the darkest of circumstances.

Reader's Takeaway

"Cold Vengeance" is a thrilling and suspenseful novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. With its intricate plot, engaging characters, and thought-provoking themes, this book offers a captivating reading experience. It explores the depths of human nature, the complexities of familial relationships, and the pursuit of justice. Fans of the Pendergast series and lovers of gripping mysteries will find "Cold Vengeance" to be an exhilarating addition to their bookshelf.


In "Cold Vengeance," Douglas Preston delivers another masterful installment in the Pendergast series. With its fast-paced action, intricate plot twists, and compelling characters, this novel keeps readers hooked from beginning to end. Pendergast's quest for revenge takes readers on a thrilling journey through various locations, uncovering a web of conspiracy and deception. As the story unfolds, themes of revenge, family, corruption, and redemption are explored, leaving readers with a sense of satisfaction and anticipation for the next installment in the series.

Cold Vengeance FAQ

  1. Who is the author of Cold Vengeance?

    The author of Cold Vengeance is Douglas Preston.

  2. Is Cold Vengeance part of a series?

    Yes, Cold Vengeance is the second book in the Pendergast series.

  3. Do I need to read the first book in the series before reading Cold Vengeance?

    While it is recommended to read the series in order, Cold Vengeance can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

  4. What is the genre of Cold Vengeance?

    Cold Vengeance is a thriller and suspense novel.

  5. What is the main plot of Cold Vengeance?

    In Cold Vengeance, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast seeks revenge against his wife's killer while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the world.

  6. Where does Cold Vengeance take place?

    Cold Vengeance primarily takes place in the United States, including locations such as New York City and the American Southwest.

  7. Are there any recurring characters in Cold Vengeance?

    Yes, several recurring characters from the Pendergast series make appearances in Cold Vengeance.

  8. Is Cold Vengeance suitable for young readers?

    Cold Vengeance is intended for adult readers due to its mature themes and content.

  9. Is Cold Vengeance a fast-paced novel?

    Yes, Cold Vengeance is known for its fast-paced and gripping narrative.

  10. Are there any supernatural elements in Cold Vengeance?

    While the Pendergast series often includes elements of the supernatural, Cold Vengeance primarily focuses on crime and suspense without overt supernatural elements.