Come in and Cover Me

Come in and Cover Me

4.0 5
by Gin Phillips

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When Ren was twelve years old, she lost her older brother to a car accident. For twenty-five years he’s been a presence in her life, appearing with a song or a reflection in the moonlight. Her connection to the ghosts around her has made her especially sensitive as an archaeologist, understanding the bare outline of our ancestors, recreating lives and stories,… See more details below


When Ren was twelve years old, she lost her older brother to a car accident. For twenty-five years he’s been a presence in her life, appearing with a song or a reflection in the moonlight. Her connection to the ghosts around her has made her especially sensitive as an archaeologist, understanding the bare outline of our ancestors, recreating lives and stories, and breathing life into those who occupied this world long before us. On the cusp of the most important find of her career, it is the ghosts who are guiding her way. But what they have to tell Ren about herself, and her developing relationship with the first man to really know her since her brother’s death, is unexpected—a discovery about the relationship between the past and the future, and the importance of living in the moment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Phillips’s second novel initially seems like a Harlequin romance for intellectuals (albeit one gussied up with necromancy and archeology), the result proves surprisingly moving. Haunted by memories of her brother, Scott (who died in a car accident when she was 12), 37-year-old Santa Fe archeologist Ren Taylor must literally release the ghosts of her past in order to pursue a promising romance with her colleague, Silas. Despite a banal and predictable plot, Phillips (The Well and the Mine) adroitly sidesteps sentiment, enriching Ren’s world with depth and detail. While studying the Mimbres tribes of the Southwest, Ren utilizes her gift of seeing and communicates with ghosts at the sites she excavates to find out where to dig and how the uncovered artifacts were used. Ren’s passion for personalizing her work, attributing artifacts to specific individuals and striving to tell their stories, causes disagreements with Silas, who can’t believe her approach really works. In this and other exchanges, Phillips nicely illustrates the conflict between masculine reason and feminine intuition. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Phillips moves away from the stark realism of her accomplished first novel, The Well and the Mine, to offer a magical work in many senses of the word. Archaeologist Ren Taylor is celebrated for an extraordinary find: three 12th-century bowls made by the Mimbreños, the Willow People, a Southwest culture long vanished. The bowls bear a distinctive bird pattern that Ren attributes to a single artist, and she is determined to reconstruct the artist's life. That's not as hard as it sounds, because Ren has visions—and in fact has had them since the death of her beloved brother, Scott, who nevertheless still visits her for chats in the moonlight. When she gets a call from Silas Cooper, who's working at a site in southern New Mexico and has found something related to the work of Ren's mysterious artist, Ren rushes to the site. There, the ghosts flood in, giving Ren a picture of what happened to the artist and her people, even as Ren's growing relationship with Silas helps her work out problems closer to home. VERDICT Some readers might have trouble accepting Ren's visions, but those who do accept them will find a lush, glowing, truly enjoyable work. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
After the well-received The Well and the Mine (2009), Phillips' second novel tackles ghosts, both real and metaphorical, on an archaeological dig in New Mexico. Ren's defining characteristic is not that she is a successful archaeologist or that she is the curator of pre-Columbian artifacts at a New Mexico museum. It is that she sees ghosts. Most frequently she sees the ghost of her brother Scott, dead from a car accident when she was a child 25 years ago. She also sees glimpses of people while on digs--people who lived 1,000 years ago and re-inhabit excavation sites, giving her the (professionally advantageous) opportunity to see brief snapshots of life as it was. Now Ren might have found the thing she's been looking for--additional pottery from an ancient Puebloan (popularly called the Anasazi) she calls the Artist, whose extraordinary pottery she found years ago, but no more since. On site is fellow archaeologist Silas Cooper, smart and a little in awe of what he thinks of as Ren's "intuition" about the artifacts they uncover. Little does he know that Ren's artist, Lynay, is appearing on site along with her mother-in-law Non. The two ghosts seem vaguely aware of Ren as she and Silas uncover new sights and burial chambers, uncovering pots Lynay made. The narrative dips into the lives of Lynay and Non, a parrot handler, as Ren "sees" their lives unfold. In the less distant past Ren's happy childhood before Scott died, and the shattered life she lived with her parents, who became kind of living ghosts, seems to cast a dark shadow over the burgeoning romance she has begun with Silas. The secret of all these ghosts, Lynay, Scott and the memories of happier times, make Ren almost unreachable. Unfortunately, these disparate threads vie for prominence, making the relationship between Ren and Silas less important than it needs to be for the end to resonate. This uneven second novel offers fine details and character study, but it occasionally falls prey to overly ambitious plotting.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Group
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280 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Phillips’s writing is . . . brimming with imagery. . . . Her greatest talent is her ability to create the world of the story. Come In and Cover Me moves us into the earth. The dusty landscape serves as both setting and metaphor, a beautiful but dangerous place where a sudden loss of footing can prove fatal.”—Brunonia Barry, The Washington Post
“With a sure hand . . . Phillips, weaves this strand of the supernatural through a compelling modern story of love and loss.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“As graceful and emotionally true as Phillips’ debut—and, in its thoroughly researched reimagining of the American Southwest’s prehistoric Mimbres culture and its leap into supernatural territory without once losing its credibility or riveting story line, surpasses it. . . . Amid a sensually sketched setting of rock formations, mesquite and juniper, narrow canyons, and night skies, Ren and Silas work side by side and try to bridge the growing distance between them. As the natural and supernatural worlds coalesce, both recent and ancient history become more insistently present, yielding an original and strikingly beautiful ending.” Kate Christensen, Elle

“Long haunted by her dead brother, archaeologist Ren Taylor is being led to the find of her career by a ghostly woman who lived at the site of an ancient desert dig. Part love story, part field guide, this beguiling novel charts the excavation and restoration of a damaged soul.”—Parade

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