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Nora Kelly, a young archaeologist in Santa Fe, receives a letter written sixteen years ago, yet mysteriously mailed only recently. In it her father, long believed dead, hints at a fantastic discovery that will make him famous and rich---the lost city of an ancient civilization that suddenly vanished a thousand years ago. Now Nora is leading an expedition into a harsh, remote corner of Utah's canyon country. Searching for her father and his glory, Nora begins t unravel the greatest riddle of American archeology. but what she unearths will be the newest of horrors...

Customer Reviews:

  • Ugh, my least favorite.
    I've read all of the Preston/Child books and I've loved them all. . . except this one. I'm over halfway finished with the book and I'm thinking of putting it down. It's just boring. Read one of their other books. ...more info
  • Another exciting adventure from 2 great authors !
    When I pick up a book from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, I know it will be a great adventure, full of action and suspense. This book as always delivers. It is well -researched ( check out Preston-Child's website ),and well- written. It would make a great action movie. I'm surprised that not a lot of their books made it to the big screen except " The Relic ". I also recommend " The Cabinet of Curiosities ". Can't wait for " Brimstone "...more info
  • Thunderhead
    It was a great Book!! I highly recomend. Authors manage to capture your attention early on and keep the suspense going through the whole book....more info
  • Thunderhead
    Preston/Child did their research on this one! It is so real you might be scared to go to sleep at night!...more info
  • 3.5 stars--A decent horror-thriller
    Nora Kelly receives a letter from her father who has been dead for 16 years. In it, he claims to have found an ancient lost city of the Anasazi indians. The same night she finds the letter she is attacked by men dressed in wolfskins called skinwalkers. With the backing of the university she works for, Nora heads an archaeological expedition to follow her father's directions and find the lost city of Quivira. She has to deal with a myriad of problems, between the clashing personalities of her group of scientists and the obstacles nature puts in her way at finding the ruins.

    Once they find the city and begin exploring, a member of the group dies of a mysterious illness, some of their horses are slaughtered ritualistically and the skinwalkers Nora thought she had escaped

    Thunderhead is an entertaining read, if not altogether original. The pace is brisk and a few twists you won't see coming. There are others you will anticipate, the ending is a let-down and the characters aren't especially deep. I would hope real archaeologists don't act this way, because this group aren't very professional. This is a decent horror-thriller....more info
  • Terrible
    This is the first book by this author that I have not really liked. Not only did it take a long time for the book to get interesting, but just about the time it did they started talking about witchcraft and curses. Not my cup of tea guys....more info
  • Thunder Head
    The book was shipped on time as stated, it was packaged well. The book was in great condition. I am very pleased with my purchase....more info
  • More Genius From Preston/Child
    I've never been disappointed with a Preston and Child book. As a matter of fact, I've thoroughly enjoyed all that I've read. Thunderhead is no exception. It is what I have come to expect from the pair: a fast-paced story with vivid characters and a cool plot.

    The plot this time deals with a lost city in the desert southwest. Preston and Child are very talented in describing areas that few people have seen; the hidden valleys and mesas in Thunderhead, the polar ice cap in The Ice Limit, New York's underground in The Relic, and underwater tunnels in Riptide. In Thunderhead, the authors describe the area where the lost city is, and the reader can visualize it.

    I loved the characters in this book. The actions and thoughts of each are well defined, and the reader learns to love the good guys and hate the bad guys. As with several other novels by these guys, there's a touch of the supernatural. This adds to the mystery that kept me turning the pages late into the night.

    When I finished Thunderhead, I wanted to read another book by Preston and Child. To me, that is a sign of good authors. If you're into fast-paced stories with cool premises and great characters, pick up Thunderhead and give it a read. You won't be disappointed....more info

  • Great Read
    I can't get enough of this team of writers. Their books grab you right from the start and keep you hooked. I'll be reading all they can write....more info
  • Another fun book
    They have done it again! This book has everything we've come to love about our authors. It is intelligent, well-written, and full of adventure. A great read! I love how they overlap their characters throughout their different books. We get more of Smithback and are introduced to Nora Kelly in Thunderhead....more info
  • Highly Recommend
    Excellent book. Enjoyable beginning to end. Author is very descriptive with scenery and cultural impact. Also recommend Riptide....more info
  • Made me sad...
    Did anyone notice that this is simply a remake of Riptide in the desert with anthropologists? At the beginning of Thunderhead, I seriously feared this was going to be an academic "Scooby-Doo" adventure with Nora as Thelma and Smithback as Shaggy (or Scooby?) with pothunters dressed up, trying to scare off the Scooby gang. Instead, the plot takes a very dark turn. I felt that there was gratuitous violence and death that wasn't central to the plot. I am bit surprised that Preston, being such an avid horseman, would see fit to include the violent deaths of so many horses--in multiple scenes (horse lovers be forewarned). While I appreciated the academic bent and extensive research on the Anasazi, the ending was emotionally and intellectually disappointing. Preston and Child are still my favorite authors but this book left me feeling dissatisfied and sad....more info
  • Great Page Turner
    This is my idea of the PERFECT beach book. I took it with me in Feb, 2009 to Kona Hawaii and it was almost enough to divert my attention from the beautiful scenery. If you are looking for a rip roaring good time there is not a better pair of writers then Preston/Child any of their offerings together are a hoot to read. Everytime I finish one, its almost sad to know its finished. Avid book readers will know what I mean on that one!!!...more info
  • Crazy fun
    THUNDERHEAD is a great summer read, just don't read it on a camping trip. The disaster-plagued expedition goes through some disturbing stuff, and the gore factor is pretty high. Still, the plot, if a bit far-fetched(what Preston-Child book isn't?), is action-packed, the research into Native American culture is impressive, and the characters are enjoyable. I personally was pleasantly surprised at the return of Bill Smithback, the obnoxious but endearing journalist from RELIC and RELIQUARY. Say what you want about his lack of investigative principles, but Smithback is one of the funniest characters in all of Preston and Child's books, and clearly a favorite of the authors. All in all, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves being creeped out....more info
  • A Great Adventure Into the Wilds of Southern Utah to find a Lost Civilization
    Note: Your "helpful" votes are appreciated. Thanks, and note that a short review is not necessarily a bad review if it leads you to a good story.

    "Thunderhead" is a great adventure set in the wilds of southern Utah. Some anthropologists have a map and set out to find a lost Anasazi city. The bad guy was not as believable as I would have liked, but set that aside and get lost in this wonderful adventure.

    I would also recommend, "Tyrannasaur Canyon," a new novel set in the same area.
    ...more info
  • Genuine Mystery mixed in with fiction
    This book has a great combination of adventure, mystery and menace, from mysterious "things" in the night at a remote ranch, to the immanent threat of a flash flood roaring from nowhere down a slot canyon. Though there was a large cast of characters, I felt that they all were developed and had believable interactions. I am interested in ancient Indian culture, and it was fun to read about a possible lost city of the Anasazi since they are so mysterious and little is known about them. The pictographs adorning each chapter also seemed to add a little bit of spookiness to the narrative. If you decide to read this book, set aside some time because you won't want to put it down....more info
  • Takes you along on the adventure of your life!!
    All Preston and Child books are great but this is by far the best.Having an intense interest in Anasazi archaeology and a love for this area of the four corners the story took me right along with the expedition! I have never read another archaeology novel which seemed so real! I've read this book 3 times and enjoy it even more each time.With their knowledge of this subject and area of the southwest I can only hope they will write another similar story before I wear my copy out!!!...more info
  • I entered the world of the treasure hunter and the hunted
    This is my favorite of the Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston books...I loved the concept of the treasure hunt...and the persistant lurking monsterous something that was always just one step ahead or behind them. The atmosphere of the desert ..and the ruins themself were so real that it made me feel like I had visited them myself when I saw pictures of the actual site..Now that is a great book that does that...but don't get me going on Preston and Child..I haven't read one yet that I would give less than 4 stars and the rest are all fives!!!...more info
  • Page Turner!
    One of the best books I've ever read, Thunderhead is a constant page turner fuill of mystery and intruiging characters....more info
  • Desert Super Thriller
    This is the book that started my reading of all Preston & Child Books, Thanks for ALL THE GREAT BOOKS ***** , Gary...more info
  • What they do best
    Like most of Preston's and Child's books, this is a very entertaining read. In addition to presenting an adventure with a mysterious twist, Preston and Child do what they do best--take interesting modern discoveries in science and make them the cornerstone of their adventure. I remember reading just a few years ago a controversial article that posited cannibalism by ancient peoples by the condition of excavated human bones (burnished on the ends by "pot polish"), and darn if that article doesn't fuel one of the twists in this book!

    It really is a pleasure to see how these writers come up with wild and innovative ideas that are grounded in science. What fun! I can also recommend another of their books starring Smithback and Nora--"Cabinet of Curiosities"--for another fun read....more info

  • another ripping page-turner
    As I have said before, these two writers know how to tell a gripping tale. This one is a ripping yarn about the search for a lost Indian city in the American West by an intrepid band of scientists.

    My only little gripe is that the title of the book did not seem right to me, though it does refer to an important feature of the story. I would have called the book by the name of the city they were searching for....more info

  • favorite of this duo
    This book had such interesting atmosphere, complex characters & great scene setting. I've read nearly all of the Douglas Preston (& L. Child) books, and while I really like them all, this stood out as one of my most favorite books. I'm not a fan of the need for endless violence these books bring, but, read them anyway for their science. This book, I highly recommend!...more info
  • Not as good as some of their others, but pretty good withal.
    In these days of the ability to see people and trucks on the ground using cameras in orbit, I have a good deal of trouble with the concept of Lost Cities, even ones tucked away in shadowy places. Add in the Dreadful Disease, and there's a bad case of disbelief here. Still, these two always write well, and I will continue to purchase their books as soon as they are available in paperback. I have to say that RELIC remains my favorite, though I found RELIQUARY (the sequel to it) nauseating.
    I do think that the scene wherein the protagonist finds her father's body is very well done--so many times, such healing never takes place in real life....more info
  • Thunderhead
    Exciting and fast moving. Good descriptions of the scenery made it come alive. The tension and fear created by the author was well done. Very enjoyable read. My first with these authors and I will read more....more info
  • loved it! loved it!
    This is my favorite book from the duo. Second close best favorite is The Cabinet of Curiosities, of course. Loved the adventure- especially since my dad was the doctor in a northwest dig and we got to come and stay during the excavation....more info
  • A Bonfire of a read
    When Nora Kelly, assistant professor at the prestigious Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, receives a call from her former neighbor, reporting dim lights and large animals skulking around Rancho de las Cabrillas, Nora's old family ranch, she drives down to investigate. Her flashlight reveals chaos. The place is a mess. It's almost like someone searched it... Nora hears a noise downstairs. Thinking it's feral dogs, she stomps down the stairs, only to be attacked by two man-like creatures dressed in animal skins and smelling of flowers.

    "Where is it," one rasps. "The letter, or we'll rip your head off."

    It's only the blast of the neighbor's shotgun that saves Nora, and a very short time later, fleeing the creatures again, she stumbles on a letter beside the row of abandoned mailboxes out near the highway. It's from her dead father, written sixteen years ago, and in it he claims to have discovered an ancient Anasazi road that leads to the lost Aztec city of Quivira, Coronado's fabled city of gold. Could this be what the jaguar men were looking for?

    Greatly excited, Nora petitions the institute for an expedition, only to be sharply rebuked and reminded that she's far behind in her work. If she hopes to be granted tenure, she has six months of hard desk work ahead of her. Detail work. The kind she hates.

    Nora tells her brother Dave about the letter. He suggests an old prof, who now supervises the operation a JPL radar that can see through thirty feet of sand. Turned away by the prof, Nora tries an end run, allying with a fellow underling, assistant professor Peter Holroyd, who collects deadly plants and dreams of voyages of discovery. Attracted to Nora, shy and bumbling, Holroyd is convinced. All he has to do is re-task the system and collect some extra data. In return, Nora promises him a place in the expedition.

    The radar scan is made, but they find no traces of an ancient road - that is, until Nora mentions that when the Anasazi closed their roads, they placed layers of brush on them and burnt it, creating a layer of carbon. A quick adjustment is all it takes. The new screen scans into place, and there it is, the road to Quivara.

    Nora tells no one, until the next day she's summoned to the office of Institute president Ernest Goddard, where surprisingly he greets her very cordially. He induces her to reveal the discovery of the road, and before the visit ends she's been granted the backing of the Institute and a team of expert, even famous, archaeologists to work with her.

    And so begins a harrowing and dangerous journey through some of the most difficult terrain in the world. Floods, storms, reptiles, and the sheer scale of the search make a fantastic setting for a blood-stirring adventure underscored by internecine conflict and team members too full of themselves and too eager for personal glory. Does the city exist? What lays in wait for the adventurers? Who are the wolf-men and why are they so viscious? The pace is never allowed to sag. Thunderhead reads like a burning house, and if the final scenes, which are of necessity concoctions, aren't quite as believeable as the rest, it's no biggie cause the scope of this story is off the chart. Great stuff.

    Art Tirrell is the author of The Secret Ever Keeps
    "...simply put, the best underwater scenes I've ever read." Meg Westley
    ...more info
  • kinda late in reading thunderhead...
    and i'm really glad i finally got around to reading it!
    what a ride! i really enjoyed thunderhead!
    it's a smart, chilling, scary, and thoughtful story, with a dash of humor tossed it!
    highy recommended!

    happy reading!...more info
  • Informative and Fun
    Nora Kelly is an archeologist who has spent her life in the shadow of her missing father's dreams. Her dad disappeared while on a mission to find an ancient abandoned Native American city. Nora stumbles across a letter from her father in the mail one day that was dated 16 years earlier. She is forced to wonder, did he ever find the ancient city of Quivira and is he still alive?? Nora manages to get an expedition funded that will follow in her father's footsteps through the canyons of Utah. What she does not know is that evil is following her and her group and will pose more of a threat than anyone could ever imagine.

    This book is another great installment from Preston and Child. The writing is fast paced and fun and the underlying information about the Anasazi tribe and the archeology lends credence to the tale. Archeology buffs and fans of the thriller genere alike will enjoy this novel....more info
  • Dead Letters are Better Left Unopened
    Nora Kelly receives a sixteen-year-old letter from her dead father who describes a lost city of the vanished Anasazi tribe located somewhere in Utah's remote canyon country. She talks a friend into stealing data from NASA to locate the ancient road her father mentioned in his letter, then sets of with a team from the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to find the lost city.

    Along the way they are stalked by two beings with dark intent and when they finally find what they were looking for, they find more then they bargained for as the city turns out to be a place of evil that will leave many team members dead.

    A somewhat scary story that proposes some interesting notions about the Anasazi and why they vanished....more info
  • My first experience with these authors.
    I liked it. It was pretty long, but did not seem to read like it was over 500 pages. The chapters moved quickly and the suspense was excellent. The "supernatural" element was developed, explained and dealt with expertly I thought. I will definately read more works by these authors. I liked the characters, although I was disapointed in Sloane. Aragon was a good guy who ... well I won't spoil it, but ...sigh. Anyway, I would recommend this book for anyone looking for suspense and a good page turner. I almost gave this one 5 stars, but I don't give out 5 stars unless I think something is really special. This one was close. Probably a 4 and a half star work. ...more info
  • Like a thunder Ball on my Head
    I have always loved these guys' books. Why? You ask; because their stories are both fast paced and exciting. I have read many writers who give you an adventure tale that are so far fetched it is not even fun anymore. I like fiction, but not science fiction. This Story deals with a Girl who's father (an archeologist of Native American Studies,) turns up missing and it is up to her and a rogue team of scientists to find him and solve the mystery of a lost city in the desert. That is just the start, I haven't gotten to the fun part yet, here were are faced with diseases, mad scientists, witchdoctors, flash floods and great romance. I strongly recommend it. This is a good book for the road or air. I will not steer you wrong....more info
  • HIstory, Adventure and something unknown
    This was a great holiday book. Do not read it on a solitary mountain trip. Preston and Child once more prove their mastership in writing informative as well as entertaining thrillers. In this case the mix of historical facts and modern life of north american indians is presented in a story that also integrates plausible fictional conclusions and dark myths. Here i think it is the freedom of the authors to mix different traditions for consistency of the plot.
    Triggered by an unexpected letter and a disturbing encounter the archeologist Nora Kelly joins an expedition to an ancient pueblo already visited by her dissappeared father. As typical for Preston and Child the whole trip starts with a well described planning phase and background information. In this case it is north american archeology and traveling desert canyons. I alwas like the detailed way the specific needs for a specific expedtition is described. Rigth from the start a mysterious and creepy parallel history of dark indian traditions is told. During the travel both storylines find together since more and more parts of the traditions are revealed. The whole plot cumulates in an extremely thrilling scientific and somehow supernatural encounter in a deserted canyon pueblo. As ususal all characters are well developed and there are no superfluos and for a thriller boring studies. ...more info
  • The first of many for me by these authors...
    I was searching for good, new (to me) authors, when I realized I had read all of James Rollins' books and was waiting for my "to be sent when published in paperback" copy of Rollins' The Judas Strain. I read the reviews on Amazon and decided Preston and Child offered potential to interest me. I was right in sampling one of their books. Thunderhead interested me because it was about archeology and the Southwest. I was not disappointed in the storyline or the protagonist. Some of the situations were a bit extreme and required acceptance of "literary leeway" for the authors, but the story moved fairly well and introduced interesting characters you could care about--or not.
    It's a good summer read, and I will certainly purchase more books by them--both as co-authors and individually.
    ...more info
  • Great thriller
    In "Thunderhead", many things that make Preston & Child novels so great come together neatly to produce a very entertaining read that's among their best.

    "Thunderhead" tells the story of Nora Kelly (later to appear in "Cabinet of Curiosities") and how she mounts an expedition to a fabled lost Anasazi city. Accompanying her is a delightful cast of somewhat stereotypical but very recognizable and likeable characters, including everybody's favourite paparazzo Bill Smithback.

    All of these characters come through life through clean and sharp writing, and the pace is uniformly high with literally not a dull moment to be found.

    The plot follows the familiar formule of P and C novels quite closely, but with a story this good, that's no problem. Once again, they cleverly mix facts with fiction and history with science to create a tale full of intriguing mysteries which kept me interested all the time. The resolution of these mysteries is gratifying and plausible.

    As always, there are some things that call for a little suspension of disbelief and a couple of things that are a bit too convenient (why is there always a huge storm or flood at the climax of nearly every P & C book?), but overall this book stays fairly believable.

    "Thunderhead" is a very clever mix of science and history, a great and mostly believable story filled with entertaining characters. Recommended
    ...more info
  • Creepy!
    The Preston-Child duo has created the magic again, this time in the breathtaking mountains of Utah and with a horrifying theory regarding the mysterious collapse of the Anasazi civilization as the framework. They have also put in a lot other elements, all conducive for development of the charged atmosphere necessary for such a high-voltage work. Go ahead and enjoy it....more info
  • Fantastic
    Doug Preston & Lincoln Child are fantastic writers.
    I own and have read all of their books.
    Exceptional mystery and suspense with high tech information thrown in.
    I recomend all of their books....more info
  • southwest anasazi archeological adventure
    This is an easy read with adequate background information to give you some insight to the mysteries of the Anasazi. Personal conflicts mixed with modern day Indiana Jonesish thrills make for a compelling read. 4.5 stars out of 5....more info
  • Fun stuff; I want more!
    I've been meaning to try a Preston/Child book for some time now and finally got around to it! I have the first three books in the Pendergast series but didn't want to start that yet, so I opted for this stand-alone featuring archaeologist Nora Kelley, and although it's not technically part of the Pendergast series and he doesn't appear in this story, Nora does appear in at least one of the Pendergast books. I like those loose connections the authors maintain; reminds me of Stephen King.

    As mentioned, Nora is an archaeologist and currently employed by the fictional Santa Fe Archaeological Institute in New Mexico, her specialty being ancient cultures of the Southwest. Nora's father, an archaeologist as well, disappeared sixteen years before in a system of remote caverns while hunting for the lost city of Quivira, a legendary Anasazi city of gold. As with other lost `gold cities', it's presumed by most that its existence is a myth; a tale passed down over the centuries, its purpose lost to time. Nora has largely put the pain of her father's disappearance behind her until some unknown source forwards an old, dog-eared envelope to her, and inside is a letter from her father, postmarked sixteen years prior, claiming that Quivira is indeed real and he has found it at last.

    Nora embarks on a determined mission to retrace her father's last quest, using what clues she can glean from the letter and enlisting the help of the Institute and a few other friends with specific skills (high-tech satellite-assisted topographical mapping, for one) to find the ruin. Along for the ride are a few fellow professionals, including journalist Bill Smithback, who apparently figures in the first few Pendergast novels as well (Relic for sure, I know). Their journey into the treacherous, uncharted cavern country is detailed and fairly nail-biting, and what they find when they reach their destination is fascinating and not at all what any of them expected. The truth is much darker than anyone had imagined, but at the same time will constitute one of the most significant discoveries about the Anasazi and their mysterious collapse. There's a steep price to pay, however, when an inexplicable illness befalls one of their number, their horses are mutilated, and it becomes evident they're being stalked through the trails by something perhaps not entirely human.

    It makes me wish I had studied archaeology! Man, what a cool job! Of course most archaeologists would probably disagree and say that it's mostly just digging around in the dirt looking for scraps, but hey, I bet it beats sitting behind this desk!

    I enjoyed this tremendously and think the Preston/Child books are going to constitute a healthy chunk of my `lighter' reading this year, when I need breathers between the heavier lit and non-fic. It is SO refreshing to read something interesting, about fascinating subjects like archaeology, for instance, that can actually feature a lead female character who doesn't obsess endlessly about some man or other. I just can't take that garbage anymore and am starting to think Nathaniel Hawthorne was - and is still - right in his opinion of most female authors. (I hate to say that about my own gender, but GEEZ! There's more to life than The Endless Search for the Perfect Man, or The Endless Complaining About My Father / Husband / Boyfriend, or the Endless Pontificating about Anything and Everything to Do with the Male Gender and the Trodden-Upon Female, etc. Oy!)

    Anyway, Preston and Child don't focus overmuch on character development, true, but that's fine because a) it's developed enough for this and b) that's not the primary focus of their stories anyway. These are just solid, intelligent adventure thrills. When it comes to light fiction and genre reading this is a welcome and refreshing change for me. I could live vicariously through the characters and as a bonus I feel like I learned a little something, too.
    ...more info
  • Not as good as The Ice limit
    A decent read, but it was really too long and the character development left something to be desired. The climax raised my pulse a little but not like I was hoping after reading the authors' tremendous The Ice Limit. The sense of setting was quite good at least. All in all an average thriller, can't really recommend it. Read the Ice Limit!...more info
  • Preston/Child - They're all I'm reading right now!!!
    Nora Childs visits her old home and is attacked by strange animal-like creatures. She receives a letter from her father dated years ago that leads her on a quest for Quivira, a city of the Anasazi Indians. While the first 150 pages were a little slow, the rest of the book was totally engrossing. Quivira and its archealogical finds are so interesting. The climb up the cliffs and the storm throughout the canyons makes for a very scary read.
    I have bought all the Preston and Child books since reading this one. "Codex" is awesome. I love "Cabinet of Curiosities" and "Still Life with Crows." You MUST read these!...more info
  • An Archeological Thriller
    This book, co-authored by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, is an archeological thriller. The heroine, Nora Kelly, leads a team in search a lost city of early inhabitants of North America. Ms. Kelly is also on a personal mission as she hopes to find an explanation for the disappearance of her father many years before.

    The archeology is spiced with the supernatural, science and some romance. Even though the plot, including some of the twists and turns, is predictable, I still found this book to be an irresistible page turner.

    This book is good entertainment, even if the minor romance thread borders on silly and is a stereotypical middle age male fantasy....more info

  • Another good book from these excellent authors
    I have yet to be disappointed by these authors. This is an excellent read.
    I didn't enjoy the graphic description of sacrifices and as an animal lover the fate of the horses tore me up but they were integral to the story.
    Great book! I only wish Nora had shown just a tad more concern for poor Thurber! But hey it is still a good book....more info
  • Good read
    Not as gripping as some of their others, but well worth a read....more info
  • Dunder Head
    I ripped right through this page turner, but it was very formulaic and had some weak points. First, the 'hero' is an anal-retentive selfish fool. The 'romances' in the book are contrived and lead nowhere. The premise that a bunch of archeologists would get gold fever was unnecessary and made the book seem dumber. The 'flash flood' would have gone in the direction of the lake, but due to a plot device, it went backwards to force the 'hero' back to the camp. Otherwise, the venue is pretty original and the pacing is good. I sort of liked it....more info
  • Preston/Child in a class by themselves
    This adventure-thriller follows the story of a young archaeologist as she leads a risky expedition into a remote canyon on a search for the lost city of gold, Quivera. Extremely good scientific, historical writing paired with myths and fables. P&C do an excellent job invoking scene using sight-smell-sound descriptions that make the reader feel as if they're on horseback kicking along with the team. As a reader who knows zip about archaeology, I enjoyed learning about the Anasazi, although some of the passages were a bit long-winded and I found myself skipping over some paragraphs to get to the action. Even the minor characters were complex, well-drawn and unique (the gourmet camp cook with cold cream on his face, the grizzled, poetry writing horse master), and each acted with believable motivation in the struggle with lust, greed, and immortality. Bill Smithback, the irrepressible journalist, (Relic, Reliquary) returns here and his one-line zingers provide a balance to the serious-minded Nora Kelly. One of the authors has spent substantial time on horseback, and it shows in scenes that ring with authenticity. The death of the horses actually pained me more than when humans bought it! (however, I could have done with less "horse gut" descriptions) I could not put this down and read it over two days. Note: do not read immediately before going to bed. The fearsome attacks by the pelt-wearing, knife-welding supernatural skinwalkers literally gave me nightmares....more info
  • An Ancient Curse, Protecting a Long Deceased Civilization
    Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have kept me captivated throughout the Pendergast series and some side novels such as Riptide and Still Life With the Crows. Thunderhead received much acclaim, so I gave it a try.

    Synopsis: Archeological expert Nora Kelly has a near death experience involving primitively garbed assailants. She barely escapes with her life. She deduces from the attack, they were after something in particular. During her escape she finds an old letter left by her deceased father discussing a hidden, golden city called Quivira. She quickly ascertains the mysterious attackers must have been after said letter.
    -This golden city was inhabited by the Anasazi tribe; the mystery that surrounds this tribe is extensive. The Anasazi inhabited thousands of acres of canyon country within the Utah canyon area, however, they mysteriously withdrew back into a small remote location until disappearing altogether. They left only remnants of their dwellings within the canyon walls with crude, cryptic inscriptions along the canyon walls. The common theme among the inscriptions is a counter-clockwise spiral, which is said to warn those of evil.
    -Nora Kelly convinces her institution to fund an expedition, with a team of experts from the field, in hopes of locating Quivira, and therefore, the answers to the Anasazi's disappearance. Nora quickly realizes she must find answers to the mystery of this lost city, if she is to solve the mystery behind her veiled assailants.
    -The team sets of along a river and into the canyon territory described in her father's letter. They stumble upon some old ruins of Anasazi dwellings some of which with old, dried blood spattered along the inner walls. Their trek takes them to a foreboding landmass called the Devil's Backbone. This vertically dangerous ridge borders along the plateau that is said to harbor the slot canyon which leads to Quivira.
    -Upon surmounting the obstacle, the companions keep finding cryptic glyphs along the walls near the canyon with only once recurrent theme: the counter-clockwise spiral. Eventually, Quivira's splendor is beheld by the researchers; however, they uncover many disturbing sites that lead to more questions and mysteries. They find dank crawlspaces harboring mass hordes of skeletal remains, adult and child both, with macabre lacerations on them; sacrificial skulls holding reddish, granulated powder of questionable nature.
    -As days pass, a lone figure is spotted on a far-off cliff shortly after some of the horses are butchered in a ritualistic fashion. Nora confronts this individual, a local Indian man from a nearby village, and he offers only foreboding advice and recommendations to leave immediately; he tells them, they are being pursued by the "skin-walkers," evil witch-like shamans.
    -Nora, unsure of her intentions, returns to camp only to have one of her crew die mysteriously. After they decide to bury the body outside of camp to prevent an epidemic, the team's doctor draws horrifying conclusions regarding the crewman's death; furthermore, he feels his same realization is also the reason for the strange Anasazi disappearance.
    -Nora decides to break camp and leave, but she faces dissension amongst the team. Meanwhile, a large, ominous thunderhead appears on the horizon putting a deadline on the team's options of escaping alive. The "skin-walkers" make their presence more known while the thunderhead ravages the landscape making escape the ultimate challenge for Nora's surviving crew.

    Opinion: Like all Preston and Child novels, the action and dialogue is fast and direct. The mystery behind the city of Quivira is suspenseful, and you essentially can't figure it out (this adds to the addictiveness of the novel). The "skin-walker" characters are creepy and detailed while leaving much to your imagination. The way they desecrate the bodies is very unique and in-depth, thus sending shivers down you spine as you read.
    -The landscape descriptions can be burdensome and over-detailed (I personally don't care for excessive setting detail). The research is well-done, however, can be over abundant at times. The history behind the Anasazi people also seems to interweave confusingly, so do not try to keep up with it 100%, as you will not enjoy the novel if you do.
    -Otherwise, this was a great novel for a new Douglas and Lincoln fan that does not have any preface into the storylines of the Agent Pendergast series. A good stand-alone novel, that is perfect for a break from your everyday, bland murder suspense mystery.

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  • One of P&C's best
    If you love archaeology and the wild west do yourself a favor and read this book. Packed to the brim with suspense and excitement I'd say this book falls in the top 3 of best novels by P&C....more info
  • Archeological Mystery
    Best book I've read in a long time. I raved about it so much, my husband picked it up and is almost finished with it and we NEVER read the same titles....more info
  • A Great Read, Fun and Exciting page turner.

    Douglas Preston and Lincoln child are masters at producing enthraling and captivating stories that keep the reader soin to the story that it is hard to close the book.
    I read the story in about 4 days and am already excited to go get the next one at the library. I have read the other 4 book in the series and surley will read the next 3. These two authors are marvelous.

    I enjoyed Thunderhead's story line very much, It centers around a group of archeologists setting out on a journey to find a lost Anaizazi city called Quivira. This city is thought to contain a huge amount of treasure and knowledge about the Anazazi culture. Throught the book the groups personalities blend and crash to create wonderful dialogue and character background. I like each character in their own seperate way. I was glad to see Bill Smithback make a return and I also like how in the Preston Child books all the female characters are hott yet smart and strong.

    The authors definatly create likeable and fun books that will make you laugh. The details of the Anazazi culture and customs plus some pasages that actually teach you stuff,, shows how the authors do their research/homework very well. This was a Great book that didn't seem to have any boring parts.


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