4.3 141
by Nora Roberts

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

See more details below


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

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.

Read More

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.35(w) x 6.77(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


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


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


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.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >