Thunderhead

( 168 )

Overview

Archaeologist Nora Kelly is adrift in her career and her personal life when a violent, inexplicable incident leaves her in possession of a mysterious letter. Written by her father, who vanished sixteen years ago in the remote desert, the letter reveals the location of a legendary site hidden in the red rock canyon country of southern Utah: Quivira, the Anasazi Indians' wondrous lost city of gold..

"Convinced that her father truly had found Quivira, Nora puts together an expedition and takes a team up Lake Powell ...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)
$6.35
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$8.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (144) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $4.21   
  • Used (131) from $1.99   
Thunderhead

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$6.99
BN.com price

Overview

Archaeologist Nora Kelly is adrift in her career and her personal life when a violent, inexplicable incident leaves her in possession of a mysterious letter. Written by her father, who vanished sixteen years ago in the remote desert, the letter reveals the location of a legendary site hidden in the red rock canyon country of southern Utah: Quivira, the Anasazi Indians' wondrous lost city of gold..

"Convinced that her father truly had found Quivira, Nora puts together an expedition and takes a team up Lake Powell to the mouth of Serpentine Canyon. In the stark labyrinth of canyons and slickrock desert she will find the answer to both her greatest hopes and her deepest nightmare. For hidden in the shadows of the sunbaked cliffs are untold treasures, the solution to the greatest riddle of American archaeology - and implacable, suffocating death.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Have you read Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child? I did, and it scared the hell out of me. Then came the writing team's follow-up, Reliquary; one of the best sequels I've ever read — and I don't really like horror fiction. So, when a friend told me about Riptide, a rousing adventure story about the search for a lost pirate treasure, I bought it that day and finished it that night. Now, continuing with pure adventure, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child bring us Thunderhead, a romp that's as thrilling as anything I've read this year.

Thunderhead is the story of a scientific expedition in the deserts of the American Southwest. A team of scientists is looking for the ancient city of Quivira, the mythical capital of the Anasazi Indians, one of the most secretive and least understood of all Native American tribes. Legend has it that Quivira was the repository for all of the tribe's treasures — gold that countless Spanish conquistadors lost their lives searching for. What the legends don't mention is why the Anasazi vanished. Unknown to the expedition's leader, Nora Kelly — an archaeologist whose father vanished 15 years earlier looking for Quivira — the evil that befell the tribe is still around.

A couple of coincidences kickstart Thunderhead, but once the tale gets going, once Nora, along with a group of scientists, adventurers, and the daughter of the director of the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, starts to follow a tenuous map left by her missing father, the early conveniences are quickly forgotten. Duringtheperilous journey, the team is dogged by two horrifying creatures that will do anything to make certain the band doesn't find the city. By ferryboat, by raft, and finally, by horse, the team wanders deeper and deeper into southern Utah's deadly maze of canyons, each step taking them closer to a place where nature's fury and an ancient curse wait to destroy anyone who comes too close.

On the verge of the greatest discovery since King Tut's tomb, Nora finds her group falling apart — derailed by the hardships of their quest and conflicting personal agendas. It's not long before their horses begin to die mysteriously, and then some of the scientists. Cut off from the outside world, with friends and coworkers dropping around her, Nora must race to save her own life. She may have figured out what killed the Anasazi just in time to find it's killing her too.

In the tradition of H. Rider Haggard and with the stylistic power of Wilbur Smith, the cutting-edge science of Michael Crichton, and the tension that has made their previous books bestsellers, Preston and Child's Thunderhead is the perfect summer read.

Jack Du Brul

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The adventure is marginally higher than the suspense in Preston and Child's sturdy new tale of scientific derring-do, concerning a search for Quivira, the legendary Anasazi Indian City of Gold. With four high-concept thrillers behind them, from 1995's Relic to last year's Riptide, the authors know what buttons to push and levers to yank — perhaps too well. The novel has a clockwork feel, from its first tick — the spooky stalking of archeologist Nora Kelly on an isolated New Mexican ranch — to its last tock. Playing it safe, Preston and Child take no missteps as Nora finds an old letter from her long-missing father with clues to Quivira's location; leads an expedition of central-casting types (a leathery old cowboy, a beautiful female photographer, the jokey journalist who figured in Relic and Reliquary, etc.); after much difficulty, discovers Quivira, which is revealed as a repository of ancient evil; and encounters death by way of the Native American witches who threatened her at the novel's start. It's all predictable but rarely dull. The authors display deep affection for the pulp they're recycling, talent for exciting set pieces — a hazardous ascent along a ridge toward Quivira and the flash-flooding of the canyon harboring the city are showcases of action writing — and, always their ace, the ability to infuse every aspect of their story with authentic techno-scientific lore. This is a novel in which the archeological niceties of ancient black-on-yellow micaceous pottery are as important to plot as the caliber of the gun the heroine wields. Fans of the authors' similarly inspired, and similarly metronomic, scientific textbooks-cum-thrillers should find this one much to their taste. Simultaneous audio.
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Nora Kelly's pursuit of the legendary Anasazi city of Quivivra, which she believes was discovered by her father, results in monumental obstacles. A story filled with excitement, a sense of place, and personable characters, delivered as a quick-paced race against evil and the forces of nature. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are known for writing novels that blend the occult, mythology, archeology, and science. Thunderhead is one of their best efforts. The novel merges the disappearance of the Anasazi from Southwestern United States centuries ago with an archeological team trying to discover that past before it kills them.

Thunderhead starts with Nora Kelly receiving a letter from her father sixteen years after he disappeared in the canyon country northwest of Santa Fee. In the letter, her father claims to have discovered Quivira, Coronado's fabled City of God. Nora, now an archeologist, puts together a team to re-discover Quivira and to justify her father's loss from her childhood. Gathering experts from across the world and using satellite imaging, the team leaves to find Quivira. But occult forces have already started killing to preserve the secrets of the past. The story dissolves into a race of discovery and survival.

I would rate Thunderhead a "B". The novel does not disappoint the reader. It is a very solid story that is a joy to read. The archeology, mythology, and science are seamlessly melded into the mystery. The fudging of facts in the novel are only those few that are required to make the story work. Thunderhead would've been an "A" except for the talk back factor. I give A's to stories that draw me close enough to the characters that I find myself talking back to the book.

Jack Du Brul
Jack Du Brul Reviews Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Have you read Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child? I did, and it scared the hell out of me. Then came the writing team's follow-up, Reliquary; one of the best sequels I've ever read -- and I don't really like horror fiction. So, when a friend told me about Riptide, a rousing adventure story about the search for a lost pirate treasure, I bought it that day and finished it that night. Now, continuing with pure adventure, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child bring us Thunderhead, a romp that's as thrilling as anything I've read this year.

Thunderhead is the story of a scientific expedition in the deserts of the American Southwest. A team of scientists is looking for the ancient city of Quivira, the mythical capital of the Anasazi Indians, one of the most secretive and least understood of all Native American tribes. Legend has it that Quivira was the repository for all of the tribe's treasures -- gold that countless Spanish conquistadors lost their lives searching for. What the legends don't mention is why the Anasazi vanished. Unknown to the expedition's leader, Nora Kelly -- an archaeologist whose father vanished 15 years earlier looking for Quivira -- the evil that befell the tribe is still around.

A couple of coincidences kickstart Thunderhead, but once the tale gets going, once Nora, along with a group of scientists, adventurers, and the daughter of the director of the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, starts to follow a tenuous map left by her missing father, the early conveniences are quickly forgotten. During the perilous journey, the team is dogged by two horrifying creatures that will do anything to make certain the band doesn't find the city. By ferryboat, by raft, and finally, by horse, the team wanders deeper and deeper into southern Utah's deadly maze of canyons, each step taking them closer to a place where nature's fury and an ancient curse wait to destroy anyone who comes too close.

On the verge of the greatest discovery since King Tut's tomb, Nora finds her group falling apart -- derailed by the hardships of their quest and conflicting personal agendas. It's not long before their horses begin to die mysteriously, and then some of the scientists. Cut off from the outside world, with friends and coworkers dropping around her, Nora must race to save her own life. She may have figured out what killed the Anasazi just in time to find it's killing her too.

In the tradition of H. Rider Haggard and with the stylistic power of Wilbur Smith, the cutting-edge science of Michael Crichton, and the tension that has made their previous books bestsellers, Preston and Child's Thunderhead is the perfect summer read.

--Jack Du Brul

Called "a helluva writer" by Clive Cussler, Jack Du Brul is a hot young writer destined to reach the forefront of the thriller scene. His first novel, Vulcan's Forge, which features the hard-drinking, charismatic geologist Philip Mercer, is now available in paperback. Du Brul's new Philip Mercer page-turner, Charon's Landing, has just hit stores in hardcover.

Kirkus Reviews
Since joining forces, Preston and Child have hit pay dirt, especially with 1995's wild and woolly Relic (subsequently filmed as an Alien clone, with a monster loose in the basement of Chicago's Field Museum); its follow-ups, Mount Dragon (1996) and Reliquary (1997); and the unstoppably thrilling Riptide (1998). Their latest focuses on the Anasazi Indians' Quivira, the legendary Lost City of Gold in Utah. Sixteen years ago, archaeologist Nora Kelly's father vanished among southeastern Utah's red-rock canyons. Now, when a 16-year-old letter from her father to her mother weirdly lands at her feet, Nora is led to believe that her father actually found Quivira, and she mounts an expedition into the canyons hoping to discover some meaning behind his disappearance somewhere west of the Kaiparowits Plateau. An orbiting Jet Propulsion Lab shuttle imager, which maps the earth and can see through 30 feet of sand to locate lost roads, reveals the hand-and-toe trail used by her father. Her group follows a horrifyingly dangerous trail and eventually finds the perfectly preserved lost city, one of the great archaeological discoveries, described here fascinatingly. But bad news strikes. Horses are gutted. Then come the monstrous skinwalkers, masked beasts that rip and tear. Spellbinding as ever.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446608374
  • Publisher: Warner Books (NY)
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 110,349
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Preston

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. Preston's acclaimed nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Biography

Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, MA, was raised in nearby Wellesley (where, by his own admission, he and his brothers were the scourge of the neighborhood!), and graduated from Pomona College in California with a degree in English literature.

Preston's first job was as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- an eight year stint that led to the publication of his first book, Dinosaurs in the Attic and introduced him to his future writing partner, Lincoln Child, then working as an editor at St. Martin's Press. The two men bonded, as they worked closely together on the book. As the project neared completion, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the museum, an excursion that proved fateful. As Preston tells it, "...in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to [me] and said: 'This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!'" Their first collaborative effort, Relic, would not be published until 1995, by which time Preston had picked up stakes and moved to Santa Fe to pursue a full-time writing career.

In addition to writing novels (The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon) and nonfiction books on the American Southwest (Cities of Gold, Ribbons of Time), Preston has collaborated with Lincoln Child on several post-Relic thrillers. While not strictly a series, the books share characters and events, and the stories all take place in the same universe. The authors refer to this phenomenon as "The Preston-Child Pangea."

Preston divides his time between New Mexico and Maine, while Child lives in New Jersey -- a situation that necessitates a lot of long-distance communication. But their partnership (facilitated by phone, fax, and email) is remarkably productive and thoroughly egalitarian: They shape their plots through a series of discussions; Child sends an outline of a set of chapters; Preston writes the first draft of those chapters, which is subsequently rewritten by Child; and in this way the novel is edited back and forth until both authors are happy. They attribute the relatively seamless surface of their books to the fact that "[a]ll four hands have found their way into practically every sentence, at one time or another."

In between, Preston remains busy. He is a regular contributor to magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Natural History, Smithsonian, Harper's, and Travel & Leisure, and he continues with varied solo literary projects. Which is not to say his partnership with Lincoln Child is over. Fans of the bestselling Preston-Child thrillers can be assured there are bigger and better adventures to come.

Good To Know

Douglas Preston counts among his ancestors the poet Emily Dickinson, the newspaperman Horace Greeley, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough.

His brother is Richard Preston, the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Cobra Event, The Wild Trees, and other novels and nonfiction narratives.

Preston is an expert horseman and a member of the Long Riders Guild.

He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow, has traveled extensively around the world, and contributes archaeological articles to many magazines.

In our interview, Preston shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.

"My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later."

"I need to write in a small room -- the smaller the better. I can't write in a big room where someone might sneak up behind my back."

"My hobbies are mountain biking, horseback riding and packing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, camping, cooking, and skiing."

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

1

The freshly paved road left Santa Fe and arrowed west through piñon trees. An amber-colored sun was sinking into a scrim of dirty clouds behind the snowcapped Jemez Mountains, drawing a counterpane of shade across the landscape. Nora Kelly guided the rattletrap Ford pickup along the road, down chamisa-covered hills and across the beds of dry washes. It was the third time she had been out here in as many months.

As she came up from Buckman's Wash into Jackrabbit Flats-what had once been Jackrabbit Flats-she saw a shining arc of light beyond the piñons. A moment later, her truck was speeding past manicured greens. A nearby sprinkler head winked and nodded in the sun, jetting water in a regular, palsied cadence. Beyond, on a rise, stood the new Fox Run clubhouse, a massive structure of fake adobe. Nora looked away.

The truck rattled over a cattle guard at the far end of Fox Run and suddenly, the road was washboard dirt. She bounced past a cluster of ancient mailboxes and the crude, weatherbeaten sign that read RANCHO DE LAS CABRILLAS. For a moment, the memory of a summer day twenty years before passed through her mind: once again she was standing in the heat, holding a bucket, helping her father paint the sign. Cabrillas, he'd said, was the Spanish word for waterbugs. But it was also their name for the constellation Pleiades, which he said looked like water skaters on the shining surface of a pond. "To hell with the cattle," she remembered him saying, swabbing thick letters with the paintbrush. "I bought this place for its stars."

The road turned to ascend a rise, and she slowed. The sun had now disappeared, and the light was draining fast out of the high desert sky. There in a grassy valley stood the old ranch house, windows boarded up. And beside it, the frowsy outlines of the barn and corrals that were once the Kelly family ranch. No one had lived here in five years. It was no great loss, Nora told herself: the house was a mid-fifties prefab, already falling apart when she was growing up. Her father had spent all his money on the land.

Pulling off the road just below the brow of the hill, she glanced toward the nearby arroyo. Somebody had surreptitiously dumped a load of broken cinderblocks. Maybe her brother was right and she should sell the place. Taxes were going up, and the house had long ago passed the point of no return. Why was she holding on to it? She couldn't afford to build her own place there-not on an assistant professor's salary, anyway.

She could see the lights coming on in the Gonzales ranch house, a quarter mile away. It was a real working ranch, not like her father's hobby ranchito. Teresa Gonzales, a girl she'd grown up with, now ran the place by herself. A big, smart, fearless woman. In recent years, she'd taken it upon herself to look after the Kelly ranch, too. Every time kids came out to party, or drunken hunters decided to take potshots at the place, Teresa rousted them and left a message on the answering machine at Nora's townhouse. This time, for the past three or four nights, Teresa had seen dim lights in and around the house just after sunset, and-she thought-large animals slinking about.

Nora waited a few minutes, looking for signs of life, but the ranch was quiet and empty. Perhaps Teresa had imagined the lights. In any case, whoever or whatever it was seemed to have left.

She eased the truck through the inner gate and down the last two hundred yards of road, parked around back, and killed the engine. Pulling a flashlight out of the glove compartment, she stepped lightly onto the dirt. The door of the house hung open, held precariously by a single hinge screw, its lock cut off long ago with bolt cutters. A gust swept through the yard, picking up skeins of dust and moving the door with a restless whisper.

She flicked on the flashlight and stepped onto the portal. The door moved aside at her push, then swung back stubbornly. She gave it an annoyed kick and it fell to the porch with a clatter, loud in the listening silence. She stepped inside.

The boarded windows made the interior difficult to make out, yet even so it was clearly a sad echo of her memory of the house she grew up in. Beer bottles and broken glass lay strewn across the floor, and some gang member had spraypainted a tagline on the wall. Some of the boards covering the windows had been pried away. The carpet had been ripped up, and sofa cushions sliced in half and tossed about the room. Holes had been kicked in the drywall, along with liberal pepperings from a .22.

Perhaps it wasn't that much worse than the last time. The rips on the cushions were new, along with the ragged holes in the wall, but the rest she remembered from her previous visit. Her lawyer had warned her that in its present condition the place was a liability. If a city inspector ever managed to get out here, he would immediately condemn it. The only problem was, tearing the thing down would cost more than she had-unless, of course, she sold it.

She turned from the living room into the kitchen. Her flashlight beam swept over the old Frigidaire, still lying where it had been overturned. Drawers had recently been removed and strewn about the room. The linoleum was coming up in big curls, and someone had hastened the process, peeling off strips and even ripping up floorboards to expose the crawlspace underneath. Vandalism is hard work, she thought. As her eyes roved over the room again, something began to nag at the back of her mind. Something was different this time.

She left the kitchen and began to climb the stairs, kicking aside wads of mattress ticking, trying to bring the thought into focus. Sofa cushions sliced, holes punched in walls, carpeting and linoleum ripped up. Somehow, this fresh violence didn't seem quite as random as it had in the past. It was almost as if someone was looking for something. Halfway up the darkness of the stairwell, she stopped.

Was that the crunch of glass underfoot?

She waited, motionless in the dim light. There was no sound but the faint susurrus of wind. If a car had driven up, she'd have heard it. She continued up the stairs.

It was even darker up here, all the windowboards still in place. She turned right on the landing and shone the flashlight into her old bedroom. Again she felt the familiar pang as her eyes moved over the pink wallpaper, now hanging in strips and stained like an old map. The mattress was one giant packrat's nest, the music stand for her oboe broken and rusted, the floorboards sprung. A bat squeaked overhead, and Nora remembered the time she'd been caught trying to make a pet out of one of them. Her mother had never understood her childish fascination for the creatures.

She moved across the hall to her brother's room, also a wreck. Not so different from his current place. But over the smell of ruin, she thought she detected the faintest scent of crushed flowers in the night air. Strange-the windows are all shuttered up here. She moved down the hall toward her parents' bedroom.

This time, there was no mistaking it: the faint tinkle of broken glass from below. She stopped again. Was it a rat, scuttling across the living room floor?

She moved silently back to the top of the landing, then paused. There was another sound from below: a faint thud. As she waited in the darkness, she heard another crunch, sharper this time, as something heavy stepped on broken glass.

Nora exhaled slowly, a tight knot of muscle squeezing her chest. What had begun as an irritating errand now felt like something else entirely.

"Who is it?" she called out.

Only the wind answered.

She swung the flashlight beam into the empty stairwell. Usually, kids would run at the first sight of her truck. Not this time.

"This is private property!" she yelled in her steadiest voice. "And you're trespassing. The police are on their way."

In the ensuing silence, there came another footpad, closer to the stairwell.

"Teresa?" Nora called again, in a desperate hope.

And then she heard something else: a throaty, menacing sound that was almost a growl.

Dogs, she thought with a sudden flood of relief. There were feral dogs out there, and they'd been using the house as a shelter. She chose not to think about why this was somehow a comforting thought.

"Yah!" she cried, waving the light. "Get on out of here! Go home!"

Again, silence was the only reply.

Nora knew how to handle stray dogs. She stomped down the stairs, speaking loudly and firmly. Reaching the bottom, she swept the beam across the living room.

It was empty. The dogs must have run at the sound of her approach.

Nora took a deep breath. Even though she hadn't inspected her parent's bedroom, she decided it was time to go.

As she headed for the door, she heard another careful footstep, then another, excruciatingly slow and deliberate.

She flashed her light toward the sounds as something else registered: a faint, breathy wheeze, a low, monotonous purring mutter. That same scent of flowers wafted through the heavy air, this time stronger.

She stood motionless, paralyzed by the unfamiliar feeling of menace, wondering if she should switch off the flashlight and hide herself or simply make a run for it.

And then out of the corner of her eye she saw a huge, pelted form racing along the wall. She turned to confront it as a stunning blow landed across her back.

She fell sprawling, feeling coarse fur at the nape of her neck. There was a maniacal wet growling, like the slavered fighting of rabid hounds. She lashed into the figure with a vicious kick. The figure snarled but relaxed its grip slightly, giving Nora a moment to wrench free. Just as she jumped up, a second figure slammed into her and threw her to the ground, landing atop her. Nora twisted, feeling broken glass digging into her skin as the dark form pinned her to the ground. She glimpsed a naked belly, covered with glowing spots; jaguar stripes; claws of horn and hair; a midriff, dank and matted-wearing a belt of silver conchos. Narrow eyes, terrifyingly red and bright, stared at her from grimy slits in a buckskin mask.

"Where is it?" a voice rasped in her face, washing her in the cloyingly sweet stench of rotten meat.

She could not find the voice to reply.

"Where is it?" the voice repeated, crude, imperfect, like a beast aping human speech. Vicelike claws grasped her roughly around the neck and right arm.

"What-" she croaked.

"The letter," it said, claws tightening. "Or we rip your head off."

She jerked in sudden fevered struggle, but the grip on her neck grew stronger. She began to choke in pain and terror.

Suddenly, a flash of light and a deafening blast cut through the darkness. She felt the grip slacken, and in a frenzy she twisted free of the claws. She rolled over as a second blast ripped a hole in the ceiling overhead, showering her with bits of lathe and plaster. She scrambled desperately to her feet, shards of glass skittering across the floor. Her flashlight had rolled away, and she spun around, disoriented.

"Nora?" she heard. "That you, Nora?" Framed in the dim light of the front door, a plump figure was standing, shotgun hanging forward.

"Teresa!" Nora sobbed. She stumbled toward the light.

"You okay?" Teresa asked, grabbing Nora's arm, steadying her.

"I don't know."

"Let's get the hell out of here."

Outside, Nora sank to the ground, gulping the cool twilight air and fighting down her pounding heart. "What happened?" she heard Teresa ask. "I heard noises, some kind of scuffle, saw your light."

Nora simply shook her head, gasping.

"Those were some hellacious-looking wild dogs. Big as wolves, almost."

Nora shook her head again. "No. Not dogs. One of them spoke to me."

Teresa peered at her more closely. "Hey, your arm looks bitten. Maybe you'd better let me drive you to the hospital."

"Absolutely not."

But Teresa was scanning the dim outlines of the house, eyebrows knitted. "They sure did leave in a hurry. First kids, now wild dogs. But what kind of dogs could vanish so-"

"Teresa, one of them spoke to me."

Teresa looked at her, more searchingly this time, a skeptical look creeping into her eyes. "Must've been pretty terrifying," she said at last. "You should've told me you were coming out. I'd have met you down here with Señor Winchester." She patted the gun fondly.

Nora looked at her solid figure, her rattled but capable face. She knew the woman didn't believe her, but she didn't have the energy to argue. "Next time I will," she said.

"I hope there won't be a next time," said Teresa gently. "You need to either tear this place down, or sell it and let someone else tear it down for you. It's becoming a problem, and not just for you."

"I know it's an eyesore. But I just hate to think of letting it go. I'm sorry it's caused trouble for you."

"I would've thought this might change your mind. Want to come in for a bite of something?"

"No thanks, Teresa," Nora said as firmly as she could. "I'm all right."

"Maybe," came the reply. "But you better get a rabies shot anyway."

Nora watched as her neighbor turned onto the narrow trail that headed back up the hill. Then she eased into the driver's seat of her truck and locked all the doors with a shaking hand. She sat quietly, feeling the air move in and out of her lungs, watching Teresa's dim form merge slowly with the dark bulk of the hillside. When at last she felt in full control of her limbs, she reached for the ignition, wincing at a sudden stab of pain in her neck.

She turned over the engine, unsuccessfully, and cursed. She needed a new vehicle, along with a new everything else in her life.

She tried it again, and after a sputtering protest the engine coughed into life. She punched off the headlights to conserve the battery and, slouching back against the seat, gently pumped the accelerator, waiting for the engine to clear.

To one side, a flash of silver winked briefly. She turned to see a huge shape, black and furred, bounding toward her against the last twilight in the western sky.

Nora slammed the old truck into gear, punched on the headlights, and gunned the engine. It roared in response and she went fishtailing out of the yard. As she careened through the inside gate, she saw with consummate horror that the thing was racing alongside her.

She jammed the accelerator to the floor as the truck slewed across the ranch road, spraying mad patterns of dirt, whacking a cholla. And then, the thing was gone. But she continued to accelerate down the road to the outer gate, wheels pounding the washboard. After an unbearably long moment, her headlights finally picked up the outer cattle guard looming from the darkness ahead, the row of old mailboxes nailed to a long horizontal board beside it. Too late, Nora jammed on the brakes; the truck struck the cattle guard and was airborne. She landed heavily and skidded in the sand, striking the old board. There was the crunch of splintering wood and the boxes were flung to the ground.

She sat in the truck, breathing hard, dust smoking up around her lights. She dropped into reverse and gunned the engine, feeling panic as the wheels dug into the deep sand. She rocked twice before the truck stalled.

In the glow of the headlights, she could see the damage. The row of ranch mailboxes had been a rickety affair to begin with, and they had recently been supplanted by a shiny new set of post office boxes that stood nearby. But she could not back up: there was no choice but to go forward.

She jumped out and, glancing around for any sign of the figure, moved around to the front of the truck, picked up the rotten, abandoned mailboxes, and dragged them aside into the brush. An envelope lay in the dirt, and she grabbed it. As she turned to step back into the truck, the headlights caught the front of the envelope. Nora froze for a moment, gasping in surprise.

Then she shoved it in her shirt pocket, jumped into the truck, and peeled back onto the road, careening toward the distant, welcoming lights of town.

(c) 1999 by Dougas Preston and Lincoln Child"

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

On Tuesday, July 27th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Lincoln Child to discuss THUNDERHEAD.

Moderator: Welcome, Lincoln Child! Thanks for joining us this evening to discuss your new thriller THUNDERHEAD, written with your coauthor Douglas Preston and set in the backcountry canyons of Utah. How are you this evening?

Lincoln Child: I'm very good! Many thanks for having me here this evening.


Hank Sheehan from Baltimore, MD: Love your books. Keep 'em coming! Just curious: How did you and Doug team up? How did your ideas for RELIC come about?

Lincoln Child: Thanks, Hank! There's a long answer to how Doug and I got together, and then there's a longer answer. When I was an editor, I contacted Doug to write a nonfiction story on the American Museum of Natural History. It was called "Dinosaurs in the Attic," and we became good friends during the process. That museum is so fascinating, we decided to write a thriller together about a fictitious museum.


Micheal from Austin, TX: What inspired THUNDERHEAD? Do you have any background in archaeology? Have you ever participated in any digs?

Lincoln Child: Doug Preston and I have always been fascinated by archaeology in general, and by the mystery of the Anasazi in particular. I don't have any professional experience in archaeology, but my grandmother, Nora Kubie, was an archaeologist. She worked on many digs, including Masada, Caesarea, and Camelot. I accompanied her from time to time on digs in New England. The first dig I was on, in fact, I accidentally found the most important artifact! It did not endear me to the professionals...


Gary Werner from Goshen, IN: Lincoln, is it true that you used to be an editor yourself? If so, did working with a publisher help open any doors for your writing career? What advice would you give an author who's just starting out?

Lincoln Child: Yes, I was an editor at St. Martin's Press in New York for several years. Working there didn't "open any doors" per se, but what it did, I think, was ensure that my own proposal(s) for books would at least be read by agents. From there, I was on my own. As for advice for starting authors, that depends on where you are. If you're putting together a manuscript, you might consider a writer's group. If you have a manuscript you want to get published, try to get an agent. That makes things easier, though it's still far from easy.


Paul C. from San Francisco: Do you have a favorite among your books? Which was the most challenging to write? The easiest?

Lincoln Child: I get asked that often! My stock response is, "I love all my children equally well." But for different reasons. RELIC will always be special to me because it was the first novel I (co)wrote. THUNDERHEAD has personal associations for me, with the archaeological aspect. I'm also really fond of RIPTIDE. We worked very hard to make that a tight, visual, almost cinematic read.


B. Shazaam from Minnesota: Regarding THUNDERHEAD, I was curious how and why you chose a fictional shuttle name (Republic).

Lincoln Child: I have to think for a minute.... That name was mine, I think, not Doug's. (Sometimes it's hard to remember!) I guess it sounded very shuttle-ish to me. Don't you think so?


Jan from San Francisco: Are there still a lot of lost cities and places in Utah and the west that archaelogists are trying to find? Is Quivira a real city?

Lincoln Child: Doug is more of an expert in this than I am, but the answer to your first question is an emphatic yes! Not only are there numerous places in Utah and elsewhere that archaeologists are searching for, there are many that have been found but whose location is being kept secret, so that they will not be discovered and looted of artifacts. As for Quivira being real, that's been a mystery ever since Coronado searched for it hundreds of years ago. But the rumors persist and are so numerous it's hard for me, at least, not to believe them.


Cassie Rowell from West Chester, PA: Do you have an idea for your next book? I really loved this one. It was a great read; I read it in a day. Hi again.

Lincoln Child: Thanks, Cassie. Actually, when you're on a writing schedule such as Doug and myself, you always have several books in various stages of development: THUNDERHEAD is out in hardcover now, and RIPTIDE was just released in paperback, et cetera. And yes, we've almost finished the manuscript for our next book. I can't say much, except that it's about a very wealthy entrepreneur out to build the world's most magnificent museum. He learns of a very special artifact that lies at the bottom of South America, and he mounts an expedition to find it. But what he finds is the very last thing he or anyone else expected...


Brian from Philadelphia: What type of research did you have to do on Indian tribes, archaeology, or mystical practices to write THUNDERHEAD? Do you have a special interest in these topics? Can't wait to check the book out.

Lincoln Child: Doug Preston has done extensive research on southwestern Native American peoples. In fact, he took a horseback trip through the most remote deserts of New Mexico and elsewhere, tracing Coronado's search for Quivira. This is recounted in his nonfiction books, CITIES OF GOLD and TALKING TO THE GROUND. He also encountered -- at his peril, he'll be the first to tell you -- a "skinwalker" of the kind we describe in THUNDERHEAD. And, yes, both Doug and myself are fascinated by archaeology and Native American religions.


Cathy from Thousand Oaks, CA: I wanted to tell you that I greatly enjoyed RELIC, RELIQUARY, and MOUNT DRAGON. I can't wait to read your new book, THUNDERHEAD. I was wondering if you are doing a book tour and if so, will you be in the southern California area? Also, how do the two of you get together and come up with your story lines?

Lincoln Child: Many thanks, Cathy. We currently have no plans to make personal appearances in southern California, although one of us may make it there later in the year. If you're interested, you can check our web site, www.prestonchild.com, which is kept updated with our tour schedules. As for how we get together for stories, that's probably the most difficult part of the job! We have to make sure that our ideas are still fresh and viable a year or 18 months down the road, when the book is actually published. So a lot of time is spent on the phone, sending faxes back and forth, doing research on possible ideas, and then developing those ideas. We only write stories that interest us -- and stories that we would want to read ourselves. That's very important to us. So we work hard to make sure we have the absolutely most exciting idea to us before starting work.


Doug from Minnesota: Mr. Child: Your stories always have well-developed characters and thoroughly researched plots. What do you find most challenging -- developing characters and writing the story, or doing the real-world research?

Lincoln Child: Hi, Doug, thanks for the question. Of the things you mention, developing characters is probably the most difficult. Every book we've written (except for RELIQUARY) has been a new story, not a sequel. That means developing an entirely new set of fresh characters, with believable and interesting backstories, and personalities that readers can sympathize with (or hate, depending on the character). That's a tough job! The research is enjoyable, because we always write about topics that fascinate us. And we like the idea of our readers walking away from our books with an insider's understanding of a subject they might not otherwise have a chance to experience.


Melissa from New York: How did you decide on a female protagonist for THUNDERHEAD? Did you have a hard time writing for a female?

Lincoln Child: Good question. I'm not exactly sure why we decided on a female protagonist for THUNDERHEAD, any more than why we did the same thing in our first book, RELIC. I think perhaps it was because in RIPTIDE the lead was male, and we wanted a fresh challenge for ourselves in creating another lead. It was additionally challenging because, in one sense, the two main leads are women (Nora and Sloane). It was not more difficult, really, but then we didn't really delve into all sorts of very personal areas. Did we succeed? That's my question to you.


Cassie from Pennsylvania: Hi, my name is Cassie Rowell. When I was reading RIPTIDE, that kinda freaked me. I just wanted to say that your last two books have ties to me; I just got back from a camping trip to Mesa Verde and other ruins. And I was going to write a book about the reason they so mysteriously disappeared. Probably won't happen though. I do have a question. Have you been to Mesa Verde or other ruin sites? I love the way you tied the books together by bringing in Smithback.

Lincoln Child: Cassie, thanks for sharing that! And yes, I'm rather proud of bringing back Smithback. Doug and I needed another character on the expedition, and we were trying to flesh him/her out, when suddenly I had the brainstorm of bringing a journalist on the expedition -- and having him be one of our favorite characters from earlier novels (RELIC and RELIQUARY). I very much like the idea of having characters from various books of ours wander on and off the stage of new books, enriching the new book as well as further developing their own characters.


Lori from Reno: Hi, Lincoln. Did you like the movie version of RELIC?

Lincoln Child: What I liked about it was the fantastic museum sets. I also thought the monster was very well done! Of course, I would have liked to see some of our favorite characters make it to the screen (like Pendergast or Smithback), but it's difficult to reduce a 400-page book into a 90-minute screenplay.


Joe from Melbourne, Australia: Hi...what's your writing schedule like? Do you write from an outline? How many drafts do you do?

Lincoln Child: That's an interesting question. A lot of people assume that Doug and I write different chapters we assign to ourselves. But in our case, that would be a recipe for disaster. The way we generally work is that once we've developed an idea, I put together a rough outline for Doug. He then writes rough chapters, based on that outline. I then extensively rewrite those chapters. That way, we get all four hands on just about every sentence, and the manuscript develops by accretion -- sort of like the Zamboni approach to fiction. Of course, there are some chapters almost entirely mine or almost entirely Doug's, but what I describe is the usual process.


Kate from Georgetown: How do the two of you work together on your books? Does one person research and the other write and edit, or are both of you involved in all parts of the process?

Lincoln Child: I partially answered this question just now, but yes, we both write, and both edit, at different stages. We are definitely both involved in all parts of the process. One of the nice things about working with a coauthor is that we can share the expertise of two people. And we can each play critic to the other's worst excesses. And hopefully, with two heads working on the project, we get twice as many good ideas to choose from. The down side is splitting the money, of course...


Adam from Texas: Are any of your other books planned to make it to the big screen?

Lincoln Child: RIPTIDE has been purchased by Arnold Kopelson for Fox. It looks very promising, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the project goes forward.


Max from Rochester, NY: Who is the Company of Nine whom you dedicate THUNDERHEAD to? Love your books!

Lincoln Child: Thanks! The "Company of Nine" are the friends who have made the biggest impact on my life. They don't know they're part of this company, actually -- it just seemed easier than writing out all their names! Actually, I wasn't going to say what the "company" was, and be coy about it, but what the heck...


Clark from Boulder, CO: Nora Kelly really faces some tough survival issues. Do you have any interest in testing your own ability to survive in the wilderness, say, on an Outward Bound trip?

Lincoln Child: Good question. I can tell you right now that my actions in the wilderness would probably resemble those of Aaron Black! Actually, I do enjoy mountain hiking and have "bagged" several of the Adirondack high peaks. But very remote wilderness makes me nervous. Doug, on the other hand, is just the opposite. He loves nothing better than taking horses into areas hundreds of miles from civilization -- or even telephones!


Karen Hospador from New York City: While researching RELIQUARY, what did you discover about Manhattan's underground tunnels? That's got to be one of the scariest things that I've ever read about. Also, what about the mole people? Are there really as many people living beneath New York as your novel proclaims?

Lincoln Child: We did quite a bit of research on underground Manhattan. It's one of those urban legends that has more truth to it than people might expect. I've heard differing stories about what's been happening with the mole people recently. Some say underground Manhattan has been purged of residents. But I doubt it. And, yes, it is a scary place. I personally hate the Lexington Avenue express -- especially when it stops 15 blocks from a station! As you can probably tell from the "subway scene" in RELIQUARY.


Matt Delorenzo from Ithaca, NY: Just wanted to say that I really love your novels. I can't wait for the next one. Really loved MOUNT DRAGON. Do you see a cure for the common cold surfacing any time in the near future? What about artificial blood? Do you think it'll be discovered during our lifetimes?

Lincoln Child: Thanks, Matt. MOUNT DRAGON was a very ambitious book for us. The funny thing about artificial blood was that we thought we'd invented the idea -- we were looking for a thriller topic to follow up RELIC, and I could think of few things more unnerving to me than putting genetically-engineered artificial blood in my veins. But then we learned that several companies were working on it! What's transpired in the three years since the book was originally published, I can't say, but I think artificial blood is definitely going to be with us in the future.


Tim Long from Springfield, OH: Hi, Lincoln. Have you ever tried to write anything on your own, without a collaborator? If so, do you think it's easier or harder to create a cohesive story with another person by your side?

Lincoln Child: Tim, so far the only projects I've done on my own were a series of ghost story anthologies for St. Martin's Press. But yes, I fully intend to write a novel on my own in the future, and have several ideas in mind. (I just hope nobody beats me to them in the meanwhile!) I think it might be a little challenging, psychologically, at first, but I relish that challenge


Moderator: Thank you, Lincoln Child, for chatting with us this evening. Before you go, do you have any closing comments for your online audience?

Lincoln Child: I want to thank you for moderating this chat, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to address all the questions. As always, readers are invited to send Doug Preston and myself email at prestonchild@prestonchild.com, or visit our web site at www.prestonchild.com. I also want to thank all of you for reading our books and for taking the time to join me here this evening. All the best! If you keep reading, we promise to keep writing! Thanks again.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 168 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(92)

4 Star

(51)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What an Adventure!!!!!!

    This is my favorite book by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to finish it!!!! It has all the elements I love in a great story: adventure, romance, hidden cities, treasure hunting, evil villains, a strong willed woman character, anicent Indians, canyons, and horses. It was a whirl wind of a thrill ride for me. The main character, Nora, is one of my favorite characters. She can ride a horse as well as any man, is stubborn, and intelligent, yet she has a soft side to her too. The plot is all the things I mentioned above. It starts out fast, keep the pace going quickly, and the ending is awesome. Well, done Mr. Preston and Mr. Child. This book sure would make an great movie!!!!!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2005

    Cool story, mediocre narrative style

    I read Tyrannosaur Canyon, then Relic, then Thunderhead, then Mount Dragon. All have great story ideas but Thunderhead is a clunker in terms of narrative skill. TC, MD and Relic are much more highly recommendable.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    Read it for what they find...

    ...that's where the excitement is. Nora Kelly is as boring a protagonist as there ever was. And so is her family, and her job, and her work. But once she makes her journey out to 'the site', the book gets great and picks up and you are in a page-turner all of the sudden. Highly recommended, but not as good as others of P&C I've read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2003

    Once they get off on their journey, fun begins!

    This story did not hook me until their little expedition got off into the desert, and then I couldn't put it down. The images of what they found in that abandoned village stay with me even now a year later. I would like to read the book again.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Although this book started out slowly, once the hunt for the los

    Although this book started out slowly, once the hunt for the lost city started it was hard to put the book down. I loved the descriptions of the Anasazi city and the many artifacts found there. I am interested in Indian culture and although this was a fictional account of what could have happened to the Anasazi, it was enthralling nonetheless. Very exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Entertaining take on Anasazi legend

    This is one of the better Preston and Child books. After the Pendergast series went south with the Diogenes storyline, I decided to give the non-Pendergast books a try and I wasn't disappointed. The best part of this book was the fictionalized yet entirely plausible mystery of the Anasazi - and it helped that I love archaeology because this book has plenty of it. All of it was wrapped in a fun, suspenseful story.

    It was fun to read Smithback in a crossover, it was good to see the origin of Nora Kelly, and there were other interesting characters as well. I'm definitely going to checl out the other non-Pendergast books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    couldnt put this book down

    couldnt put this book down

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Good book

    Characters are annoying and full of egos for 2/3 of the book but it all comes together in the end and makes the read worth it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Good Read

    Kept me interested throughout. Good but not outstanding.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2012

    Great murder thriller.

    Kept you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Love how the authors incorporate and expand their main characters. This unique story explores the idea of an ancient city of gold. The twists and turns will keep the reader engrossed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Excellent and entertaining

    Hard to put down at times

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Extus Thunder

    Sits.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    A Favorite

    Story telling at its best! Does not disappoint!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Dragonpaw

    Amber! Charm needs to see you! Please come see her!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Couldn't put it down!

    This story had me from page 1..... it takes you directly into the journey as if you are with the crew!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    LEADERS DEN

    LEADERS DEN

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Darkspots to silverstar and who leads this clan

    Sorry silverstar but i found out this clan is the REAL
    thunderclan and im joining. Btw can i join?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Blackclaw

    A large jet black tom with blue eyes padded in may i join?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Tigerkit and graykit

    Tigerkit falls asleep. Graykit falls asleep.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    Whiteclaw

    Hi! ;)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)