A temper tantrum with airport security gets journalist Tom Langdon a one-year suspension from airline travel. He's forced to hit the rails this holiday season. Tom views the cross-country trip as an extended obstacle between him and his casual girlfriend.
Just as the Capitol Limited leaves the station, life aboard the train gets interesting. Tom meets a colorful cast of characters who take his mind of his troubles. An incredible coincidence places Tom in the direct path of a long lost love. What starts as a simple rail trip for Tom Langdon turns out to be a life changing experience aboard The Christmas Train.
David Baldacci must have had a great time researching this novel. It reads like a nostalgic Amtrak ad:
It's not from getting from A to B. It's the ride in between.
This train is alive with things that should be seen and heard. It's a living breathing something you just have to want to learn its rhythm.
The passengers on the Christmas Train are a small sample of society complete with gossip and cliques. The cast includes a young eloping couple, a jolly priest, a big-shot director and his entourage, and several helpful, friendly Amtrak employees.
Baldacci compiles years of train stories for use on this single trip. Certain events are predictable, but there's plenty of humor in this generally upbeat tale. Even with the plot's path carefully laid out, Baldacci provides readers with the greatest reading gift of all: a surprise ending. The Christmas Train is a simple, poignant tale of holiday cheer.