Birthright

Birthright

4.3 142
by Nora Roberts
     
 

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When five-thousand-year-old human bones are found at a construction site in the small town of Woodsboro, the news draws archaeologist Callie Dunbrook out of her sabbatical and into a whirlwind of adventure, danger, and romance.

While overseeing the dig, she must try to make sense of a cloud of death and misfortune that hangs over the project-fueling rumors that

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Overview

When five-thousand-year-old human bones are found at a construction site in the small town of Woodsboro, the news draws archaeologist Callie Dunbrook out of her sabbatical and into a whirlwind of adventure, danger, and romance.

While overseeing the dig, she must try to make sense of a cloud of death and misfortune that hangs over the project-fueling rumors that the site is cursed. And she must cope with the presence of her irritating—but irresistible—ex-husband, Jake. Furthermore, when a stranger claims to know a secret about her privileged Boston childhood, she is forced to question her own past as well.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Nora Roberts explores compelling connections between past and present in Birthright. When a construction worker discovers evidence of an ancient settlement in a small Blue Ridge Mountain community, archaeologist Callie Dunbrook is eager to start digging…even though it means working with her handsome ex-husband, Jake. When a local businesswoman claims that Callie is the child who was stolen from her in infancy, both the allure of the ancient past and violent disputes over development plans for the site are cast in stark relief. But Callie's determination to uncover the long-buried truth soon proves dangerous to her work, to her friends, to the strangers who are bound to her by blood, and to the beloved couple she always believed to be her parents. Nora Roberts has a matchless ability to blend romance and suspense, and this gift is on full display in Birthright. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Set in and around rural Woodsboro, Md., a small town drawn with affection and familiarity, Roberts's latest is the literary equivalent of a big delicious meal whipped up by a talented home cook. She offers a dash of exoticism and innovation-a Neanderthal settlement is discovered on the site of an unwanted housing development, prompting gorgeous young archeologist Callie Dunbrook to race to Woodsboro to take charge of what promises to be the dig of her career. After dollops of detail about archeological work, Roberts dishes up huge servings of comfort food, and it is all the more satisfying for being so straightforward. When the owner of the Antietam Creek development turns up murdered on the site, Callie is thrown into closer contact than she'd like with her ex-husband, who also happens to be the anthropologist sharing responsibility for the dig. Jacob Greystone is a hunk-"long bones, long muscles, all covered in bronzed skin...." Meanwhile, Suzanne Cullen, the hugely successful proprietor of a Mrs. Field's-like baked-goods business, tracks down the archeologist after seeing her on the evening news. Callie, the woman claims, is the baby daughter who was snatched from her stroller when she was just a few months old. Callie hires a beautiful young lawyer, Lana Campbell, who happens to be involved with Doug Cullen, Callie's long-lost brother. Another murder, arson and attempted murder heat up the chase until all the young lovers are drawn in. As in other delectable entertainments by Roberts, it is not the wild denouement but the pursuit itself-studded with scrumptious romantic encounters-that is the real dessert. Expect the usual huge sales. Author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Archaeologist Callie Dunbrook believes she is responsible for bringing the past to life. So when she is confronted with her own possible past, she approaches the mystery the same way she would her work: she digs. The suspicion that she may not be Callie Dunbrook rocks her world. When people start dying, she must discover if the truth is always worth unearthing. Unfortunately, narrator Bernadette Quigley is not up to the task of bringing this novel's subtleties to life. She has one male voice-deep, gruff, and ancient, hardly ex-husband and hero material. She is also so focused on her diction that each word is given equal weight, making a mockery of the actual tone of the story. A solid work that deserves airplay even with a subpar narration; Roberts is too popular not to purchase.-Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Archaeologist finds a lost tribe: hers. Callie Dunbrook goes up against developer Ron Dolan, whose housing project has come to a halt because a bulldozer uncovered human remains. Though the site is near Antietam, Maryland, the bones predate the Civil War by thousands of years and are most likely from the burial ground of an unknown Neolithic tribe. The authorities force Dolan to lay off his crew, whose workboots and carelessness have already contaminated the site, before more damage is done. An excavation is planned, a process that will take months. So Callie makes the local news—and her face is seen by Suzanne Cullen, who’s sure that Callie’s triple dimples are identical to those of her long-lost baby girl. The sleeping infant was snatched from her stroller at a shopping mall only a few days after Callie was born, and, paying an unexpected visit, Suzanne insists that Callie is her child. Knowing that Suzanne is the CEO of a national firm reassures Callie that the woman is not a crank—though wrong. But a peek into a desk at her parents’ house uncovers adoption papers dated two months after her mother’s devastating miscarriage and a few days after little Jessica Cullen disappeared. Callie confronts her parents, who fess up at last, though insisting that the adoption was perfectly legal. Marcus Carlyle, a distinguished Boston lawyer, had arranged everything. He couldn’t possibly be a baby-seller and certainly not a kidnapper. Or could he? Callie looks for clues, with the help of her sexy ex, Jake Graystone. The trail leads back to nosy Nurse Poffenberger, who tells all; and then to Richard Carlyle, Marcus’s equally distinguished son, who isn’t talking. The plot thickens, withsuspects appearing—and supporting characters disappearing—as fast as mechanical ducks in a shooting gallery. Improbable plot is kept humming smoothly by Roberts (Midnight Bayou, 2001, etc.), whose fans oughta love it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780515137118
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/30/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
73,824
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

The bright red nose of Rudolph, his very favorite reindeer,

blinked on and off until Douglas’s eyes were dazzled.

He tried to entertain himself by counting the red dots that

swam in front of his eyes, the way the Count counted on

Sesame Street.

One, two, three! Three red dots! Ha ha ha ha ha!

But it made him feel a little bit sick.

The mall was full of noise, the blasts of Christmas music

that added to his impatience, the shouts of other children,

the crying of babies.

He knew all about crying babies now that he had a little

sister. When babies cried you were supposed to pick them

up and walk around with them singing songs, or sit with

them in the rocking chair and pat them on the back till they

burped.

Babies could burp right out loud and nobody made

them say scuze me. Because, dummy, babies couldn’t talk!

But Jessica wasn’t crying now. She was sleeping in the

stroller and looked like a doll baby in her red dress with the

white frilly junk on it.

That’s what Grandma called Jessica. Her little doll

baby. But sometimes Jessie cried and cried and her face

got all red and scrunched up. Nothing would stop her from

crying, not the singing or the walking or the rocking chair.

Douglas didn’t think she looked much like a doll baby

then. She looked mean and mad. When that happened,

Mama got too tired to play with him. She was never too

tired to play with him before Jessica got in her belly.

Sometimes he didn’t like having a little sister who cried

and pooped in her pants and made Mama too tired to play.

But most of the time it was okay. He liked to look at her

and watch the way she kicked her legs. And when she

grabbed his finger, really tight, it made him laugh.

Grandma said he had to protect Jessica because that’s

what big brothers do. He’d worried so much about it that

he’d snuck in to sleep on the floor beside her crib just in

case the monsters who lived in the closet came to eat her in

the nighttime.

2 _ Nora Roberts

But he’d woken in his own bed in the morning, so

maybe he’d only dreamed he’d gone in to protect her.

They shuffled up in line, and Douglas glanced, a bit uneasily,

at the smiling elves who danced around Santa’s

workshop. They looked a little bit mean and mad—like

Jessica when she was crying really loud.

If Jessica didn’t wake up, she wasn’t going to get to sit

on Santa’s lap. It was stupid for Jessie to be all dressed up

to sit on Santa’s lap, because she couldn’t say scuze me

when she burped, and she couldn’t tell Santa what she

wanted for Christmas.

But he could. He was three and a half years old. He was

a big boy now. Everyone said so.

Mama crouched down and spoke to him softly. When

she asked if he had to pee, he shook his head. She had that

tired look on her face and he was afraid if they went to the

bathroom they’d never get back in line and see Santa.

She gave his hand a squeeze, smiled at him and promised

it wouldn’t be much longer.

He wanted a Hot Wheels, and a G.I. Joe, and a Fisher-

Price garage, and some Matchbox cars and a big yellow

bulldozer like the one his friend Mitch got for his birthday.

Jessica was too young to play with real toys. She just

got girl stuff like funny dresses and stuffed animals. Girls

were pretty dopey, but baby girls were even more dopey.

But he was going to tell Santa about Jessica, so he

wouldn’t forget to bring stuff for her when he came down

the chimney at their house.

Mama was talking to someone, but he didn’t listen. The

grown-up talk didn’t interest him. Especially when the line

moved, people shifted, and he saw Santa.

He was big. It seemed to Douglas, on the first ripple of

fear, that Santa wasn’t so big in the cartoons or in the pictures

in the storybooks.

He was sitting on his throne in front of his workshop.

There were lots of elves and reindeer and snowmen.

Everything was moving—heads and arms. Big, big smiles.

Santa’s beard was very long. You could hardly see his

BIRTHRIGHT _ 3

face. And when he let out a big, booming ho ho ho, the

sound of it squeezed Douglas’s bladder like mean fingers.

Lights flashed, a baby wailed, elves grinned.

He was a big boy now, a big boy now. He wasn’t afraid

of Santa Claus.

Mama tugged his hand, told him to go ahead. Go sit on

Santa’s lap. She was smiling, too.

He took a step forward, then another, on legs that began

to shake. And Santa hoisted him up.

Merry Christmas! Have you been a good boy?

Terror struck Douglas’s heart like a hatchet. The elves

were closing in, Rudolph’s red nose blinked. The snowman

turned his wide, round head and leered.

The big man in the red suit held him tight and stared at

him with tiny, tiny eyes.

Screaming, struggling, Douglas tumbled out of Santa’s

lap, hit the platform hard. And wet his pants.

People moved in, voices streamed above him so all he

could do was curl up and wail.

Then Mama was there, pulling him close, telling him it

was all right. Fussing over him because he’d hit his nose

and made it bleed.

She kissed him, stroked him and didn’t scold him for

wetting his pants. His breath was still coming in hard little

gasps as he burrowed into her.

She gave him a big hug, lifted him up so he could press

his face to her shoulder.

Still murmuring to him, she turned.

And began to scream. And began to run.

Clinging to her, Douglas looked down. And saw Jessica’s

stroller was empty.

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Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times-bestselling author of more than 190 novels, including The Search, Black Hills, Tribute, High Noon, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts has more than 400 million copies of her books in print.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Keedysville, Maryland
Date of Birth:
1950
Place of Birth:
Silver Spring, Maryland
Website:
http://www.noraroberts.com/

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Birthright 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 142 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love a mystery and a good romance, this book intertwines both. I feel this is one of the best books Nora Roberts has written. Her family dynamics are expressed with great feeling, pulling the reader into the emotions of her writing. This is a difficult book to put down until the last page has been turned.
idajo2 More than 1 year ago
It's been a long time since I curled up with a Nora Roberts book! I was pleased to see that some things never change . . knock-your-socks-off romance, a family-oriented story line (in spades!!), strong heroines who brook no nonsense and sexy male counterparts who keep the pages turning. As a youngster, I dreamt of becoming an archaeologist . . couple that basic premise with intrigue, sleuthing, seduction, betrayal and suspense and you've got a very entertaining read! I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a VERY good book! Loved it! Had somm unexpected turns but thats what made it so hard to put down.
Ray080 More than 1 year ago
         Birthright is an absolutely entertaining book !!!       ..  Callie Ann Dunbrook signed up for an archaeological dig not knowing that she will end up digging up her very own life. While on her way to finding the truth about her birth, she got the people behind her abduction when she was just a baby worried on what she might find. They will go a long way to stop her from finding what she wanted. Lucky for her, her not so ex-husband, Jake, is looking out for her. It also shows how second chances work for relationships that went wrong the first time. Jake and Callie, Doug and Lana, Suzanne and Jay and of course Digger are the characters you won't surely forget :))
BookreaderBM More than 1 year ago
Once again Nora Roberts has written a story that you just don't want to put down ! I would recommended it to everyone that likes her books .The plot keeps you guessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Keeps your interest all the way to the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is what you would expect from Nora Roberts! She is an awesome writer and has proved it again with this book! The characters and story line are great and kept me hooked and reading until I was finished with the book! A must read!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a shame that a book as wonderful as Birthright has such a horrible narrator like Bernadette Quigley. I had the unfortunate chance to hear Ms. Quigley on the Three Fates audio and it was done so poorly, I actually returned it to the store. I didn¿t check to see who was reading Birthright, much to my chagrin. Ms. Quigley does not seem to have a range of voices to pull from, such as a fellow reader of Nora Roberts, Sandra Burr. In this reading Jake sounds like an eighty year old man and it¿s actually kinda creepy. Most of the male characters all have the same `voice¿ and you aren¿t sure who is supposed to be talking until their name is spoken. Ms. Quigley does an excellent job of reading Callie. She uses just the right amount of sarcasm in her voice and Lana is pretty well done too, but beyond that, it¿s terrible. I HIGHLY recommend the book, but stay far away from the audio!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nora Roberts knows what she is doing when she sits down and starts to tell a tale. The woman is truly talented and amazing storyteller because you are pulled in by the characters and the overwhelming plot she has cooking. Automatically you know you won't put it down till you finish the last sentence on the last page.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Omg I loved it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WritermomHB More than 1 year ago
Love in the Dig Nora Roberts writes wonderful romances and mysteries. They hold up very well through the years. This book, published in 2003, reads as well now, in 2015, as it did then. The story features several lines for the reader to follow, but the way the chapters are divided make that pretty simple. The characters are strong and entertaining. The romance and mystery makes the reader want to not put the book down. I enjoyed it very much, and I think those readers who enjoy Roberts’ writing and/or romance and mystery will, too. There is some sexual activity, but that is between love interests, and it is not graphic. Enjoy this book anytime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would someone please tell be the lexile for this book need for english class thanks!!!! Just cant seem to find it! :) :D
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Great plot! Very well developed and gripping. Real romances: she dealt with very relevant dynamics in human relationships including disappointment, withdrawal, distrust, superficiality, loss, forgiveness, hope. She really has a gift with interpreting/describing real life responses to tragedy to the extent where she pulls the reader completely into the lives of her characters. There is a long list of admirable, imperfect, easy-to-relate-to-characters in this book. Even the murdering antagonist has you rooting for them. All in all a thrilling read that I didn't want to end. There are some books that leave you empty, disappointed, even irritated. This book left me satisfied. Take the leap, spend the money, you'll echo my sentiments.
Farley0 More than 1 year ago
I think Nora Roberts is a trully talented author.She has wrote sevral books but Birthright is my favorite.I love that the book Birthright is a combonation of romance and mystery. It was hard for me to put down the book after I started reading.
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Favorite book