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Posted November 20, 2012
Reviewed by Fiona I. for Readers Favorite
When a human hand bone with a gold bracelet encircling the wrist is discovered in a forty-million-year-old coal seam, a tsunami crashes through the academic community. The decorations on the gold bracelet indicate intelligent workmanship, dispelling established thoughts about the emergence of the first human beings on the planet. Professor Larry Krafter, a young and feisty biological paleoanthropologist, is sent by the University of Wyoming to investigate the matter and retrieve the find. To his amazement, he discovers a human skull close by. Laboratory tests prove the age of the bones, thus disrupting the accepted evolutionary model. Larry is keen to make this exciting news known to the world, oblivious to the firestorm of disapprobation, rejection, and danger that will erupt around him. Appalled by these revelations that have shaken the status quo, the establishment seeks to discredit him. From then on things speed up. As proof appears to start coming out, more drastic steps have to be taken. Krafter is subjected to intimidation and threats that become increasingly more violent, encompassing his fiancée and his family, so much so that finally he enlists the aid of the FBI.
The author very competently reveals the inner workings and the the feuds that are part of the dog-eat-dog world of academia. Reputations are at stake and jockeying for positions and even artifact sabotage all make up the rarefied atmosphere that Larry Krafter inhabits. The build-up to the discovery of the truth behind the skull and wrist bone, the tension mounting as Krafter finds to his horror that even his own university treats him like a pariah is excellent and carries the reader along in the desperate, panicked whirlwind of emotions that beset Krafter. I felt the story lagged a little in the middle, but the pace picked up for a good adventure with an element of ‘race against time’ to it. My only disappointment with this book is I felt the author tells the reader too much without allowing the reader to enjoy more suspense. A big step in making this book a real nail-biter would be to let the reader unravel the plot without so many signposts.