Books by State: Utah

Thunderhead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

“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 to unravel the greatest riddle of American archeology, but what she unearths will be the newest of horrors…” –Summary from Amazon.

I found this book to be very well paced and kept a steady sense of foreboding. It gets right into the action with Nora being attacked by some spooky figures in her family’s old ranch house looking for a letter which she finds as she is fleeing from them. All throughout the story, the authors kept that anxiety as an undercurrent in several different ways. Whether or not Nora would be able to get the Institute’s financial help for the expedition; the unsteady power dyanmics in the expedition group; those two mysterious figures and their creepy rituals and stalking; all leading up to the final climax which itself was layered.

When you are dealing with so many characters, there are obviously going to be some you kind of hate. It becomes pretty clear early into the introduction of the group who those will be. I was happy that one of them climbed from the bottom to the top and became someone I was rooting for. The other two I found myself several times eagerly anticipating when they would either get snatched by the creepy villains or at least get knocked out by Nora. And I was not disappointed. For the survivors, I was glad but if I had the power to save a couple more I certainly would because, to be honest, the survivor tally was slim.

The descriptions of the landscape as well as the lost city were beautiful and intriguing. The history and archeological techniques were also interesting to read about, although I certainly couldn’t vouch for how true to life it was. You really get swept up into both the history as well as the adventure.

Overall, a solid adventure novel which I really don’t read much of so it was a nice change of pace for me as well.

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