Douglas Preston

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Douglas Preston (born May 20, 1956 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is an American author who has written twenty-six popular techno-thriller and horror novels, five alone and the rest with Lincoln Child. He also has authored a number of non-fiction books on history, science, exploration, and true crime.


A graduate of the Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, Massachusetts, and Pomona College in Claremont, California, Preston began his writing career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.[citation needed] In addition to his collaborations with Child, he has written several novels and non-fiction books of his own, mainly dealing with the history of the American Southwest. He has two brothers: David Preston (a medical doctor) and Richard Preston, also a best-selling fiction/non-fiction author.

Many of Preston's seven nonfiction books and twenty-six novels were bestsellers and have been translated into several dozen languages. With his frequent collaborator, Lincoln Child, he created the series character Agent Pendergast, who appears in many of their novels. Together the Preston and Child team have published such bestselling thrillers as The Cabinet of Curiosities, The Ice Limit, Thunderhead, Riptide, Brimstone and White Fire. Several of their novels have reached number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.[citation needed] Preston writes about archaeology and paleontology for the New Yorker magazine and he has also been published in Smithsonian magazine, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Natural History, and National Geographic.[citation needed] He is the recipient of numerous writing awards in the United States and Europe.[citation needed] He has created the character Wyman Ford, an ex-CIA agent who appears in many of his solo novels.

From 1978 to 1985, Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as a writer, editor, and manager of publications.[citation needed] He served as Managing Editor for the journal Curator and was a columnist for Natural History magazine.[citation needed] In 1985 he published a history of the museum, Dinosaurs In The Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History, which chronicled the explorers and expeditions of the museum's early days.[citation needed] The editor of that book at St. Martin's Press was Lincoln Child.[citation needed] They soon collaborated on a thriller set in the museum, entitled Relic. It was subsequently made into a motion picture by Paramount Pictures starring Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, and Linda Hunt.

In 1986 Preston moved to New Mexico and began to write full-time. Seeking an understanding of the first moment of contact between Europeans and Native Americans in America, he retraced on horseback Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's violent and unsuccessful search for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. That thousand mile journey across the American Southwest resulted in the book Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest. Since that time Preston has undertaken many long horseback journeys retracing historic or prehistoric trails, for which he was inducted into the Long Riders' Guild.[citation needed] He has also participated in expeditions in other parts of the world, including a journey deep into Khmer Rouge-held territory in the Cambodian jungle with a small army of soldiers, to be the first Westerner to visit a lost Angkor temple. He was the first person in 3,000 years to enter an ancient Egyptian burial chamber in a tomb known as KV5 in the Valley of the Kings.[citation needed] In 1989 and 1990 he taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University.

In May, 2011, Pomona College conferred on Preston the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).[citation needed]

Involvement in the "Monster of Florence" case[edit]

Main article: Monster of Florence

Preston moved to Florence, Italy with his young family and became fascinated with an unsolved local murder mystery involving a serial killer, the Monster of Florence case. Both the case and his problems with the Italian authorities are the subject of his 2008 book The Monster of Florence, co-authored with Italian journalist Mario Spezi. The book spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and won a number of journalism awards in Europe and the United States.[citation needed] It is currently being developed into a movie by the studio Fox 2000, produced by George Clooney, in which Clooney will play the role of Preston.[1][not in citation given]

Involvement in the Amanda Knox case[edit]

Preston has criticized the conduct of Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini[2] in the trial of American student Amanda Knox, one of three convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007. In April 2009, Preston appeared in a segment of 48 Hours on CBS, in which he argued that the case against Knox was "based on lies, superstition, and crazy conspiracy theories".[3] In December 2009, after the verdict had been announced, he appeared on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN and described his own interrogation by Mignini. Preston said of Mignini, "this is a very abusive prosecutor. He makes up theories. He's ... obsessed with satanic sex."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Preston counts in his collateral ancestry the newspaperman Horace Greeley, the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough, the sexologist Robert Latou Dickinson and the poet Emily Dickinson. He and his wife, Christine, live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.[citation needed]

Solo works[edit]



Online Media (Opinions)[edit]

  • 2013 "Burn Her at the Stake"[10]
  • 2014 "The Dalai Lama’s Ski Trip"[11]

Novels with Lincoln Child[edit]

The Pendergast novels[edit]

The Gideon Crew series[edit]

Other novels[edit]

Works with Mario Spezi[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Tales from Italy’s Dark Side: Interview with Douglas Preston
  3. ^ American Girl, Italian Nightmare from CBS News
  4. ^ American Student Convicted of Murder in Italy; President Obama's Approval Numbers Sliding, Anderson Cooper 360° transcript
  5. ^ a b "The Lost Island". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Kraken Project". Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Death Trap Defies Treasure Seekers for Two Centuries; Douglas Preston, Smithsonian Magazine, June 1988.
  8. ^ Douglas Preston (1992). Cities of Gold: A journey across the American southwest in pursuit of Coronado. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 480. ISBN 0-671-73759-7. 
  9. ^ Wabbel, Tobias Daniel (ed.): Im Anfang war (k)ein Gott - Naturwissenschaftliche und theologische Perspektiven, Patmos Publishers, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2004, ISBN 3-491-72477-5
  10. ^ Preston, Douglas (19 April 2013). "Burn Her at the Stake". Slate. Slate. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Preston, Douglas (26 February 2014). "The Dalai Lama’s Ski Trip". Slate. Slate. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "White Fire". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Grand Central in New Deal with Preston/Child". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz LLC. February 1, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 

External links[edit]