Archaeologist Emma Fielding encounters murder and mystery on the site of an old English Abbey in this second "rip-snorting good mystery" (Aaron Elkins) written by a real-life archaeologist.
Archaeologist Emma Fielding is beginning to doubt the wisdom of spending her summer vacation in England helping friends excavate a 12th-century abbey, especially after they uncover an all-too modern skeleton in the nearby medieval graveyard. But it’s the second discovery—of a murdered graduate student recently missing from the dig—that suggests to Emma that Marchester isn’t exactly the quiet riverside town in appears to be. And when a member of the town’s neopagan community shows up, claiming that the site is a sacred spot for Wiccans, Emma knows that conflicting interests and intentions may have driven someone to murder. There are dark passions and lethal secrets buried here, heinous crimes that shake the conflicted community to its core, and it’s up to Emma, an outsider far from home, to delve into a past that too many people—including her friends—would do anything to hide.
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About the Author
Dana Cameron is a professional archaeologist, with a Ph.D. and experience in Old and New World archaeology. She has worked extensively on the East Coast on sites dating from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. Ms. Cameron lives in Massachusetts. Ashes and Bones is her sixth novel featuring archaeologist Emma Fielding.
Read an Excerpt
I gripped the phone receiver a little more tightly and tried, without much luck, to block out the airport noise around me. "You're sure there wasn't a message? Nothing?"
Because I love Brian more than anything on earth and none of this was even remotely his fault, I tried my best to be patient, but I was exhausted, I was short-tempered, and I smelled like I'd been cleaning up after the circus. It was June, but I couldn't plead working as a field archaeologist to excuse these shortcomings just at the moment.
My husband's voice was a torment; familiar and comforting, but 3,000 miles away. "Emma, I checked the machine; there was nothing there. Did you try calling Jane?"
"Yeah, a dozen times. No one's answering. I tried the university but they couldn't help me. Brian, they were supposed to be here almost two hours ago!" I wrapped the phone cable around my hand, worried and fresh out of ideas.
"Are you going to be okay? I can't think of what else to do and I'm already late -- "
"No, it's fine, you get to your meeting. Thanks for checking, Brian."
"You call me when you get settled. I don't care what time it is!"
And even though there was nothing else that he could do, Brian still tried to reassure me. "Look, when I met Jane at the conference last year, she reminded me of you, okay? So I get the impression if she's not on time, there's a good reason for it. She didn't forget you, it's just traffic or the car or something unavoidable."
"I know, I'll sort something out. I just hate it when things don't go properly -- "
"I know you do. I love you, Em."
"I love you, Brian. Takecare, bye."
"Bye. Call me."
"I will; get to your meeting."
"Okay, I love you, bye."
I hung up reluctantly and was forced to come back to the grimy reality of London's Heathrow Airport. The place radiated unhygienic overuse -- every surface was covered in fingerprints and smears, and the tang of disinfectant lingered impotently under the smells of the foodcourt and the persistent crash of human bodies -- but I couldn't tell whether my own state of transatlantic grittiness and sleep deprivation was making the impression worse. People of every nation and color crowded past me at the exit gate for international flights. All of them seemed to be finding their rides, I thought resentfully. The noise of the airport was jarring: Announcements in several languages, including ubiquitous BBC-trained recordings in English, boomed over the loudspeaker, vying with the crowds of people who were greeting, kissing, arguing, crying, and parting. Weaving through the mass of humanity, battery-powered carts hauling luggage and more fragile passengers cruised by me, beeping insistently. Even the little squeaks of herds of identically wheeled black suitcases amplified my steadily growing despair.
I stood irresolutely, wondering what the hell to do next, for no matter what Brian promised, I knew that Jane and Greg weren't going to show. I had to find my own way to the site.
I picked up my bag, thanking heaven that I'm as macha as I am about traveling with only one suitcase, a carryon backpack, and my purse, and wondered for the umpteenth time where the deuce my erstwhile friends Jane and Greg were. I walked toward the customer service desk again, trying to imagine that there'd be a message there for me now, but I was halted in my tracks by a familiar voice calling me.
I was thoroughly confused: it wasn't Jane's and it was American, although noticeably deep, precise, and cultured. I noticed a look of intense relief spread across the face of of the woman behind the customer service desk as I turned away from her.
"Emma! I'm over here!"
My jaw dropped when I realized who the booming voicebelonged to. Professor Dora Sarkes-Robinson is a colleague of mine from Caldwell College; she was in the Art History Department, just a few buildings over from my office in the Anthropology Department.
"Dora? What are you doing here? I thought you said you wouldn't be in England until -- "
"I wasn't supposed to be here until August, but Addingham called and begged me to come and save them, and then in practically the same instant, Pooter called -- "
I vaguely knew that Addingham was a prestigious study tour for students of the fine arts and material culture, but I hadn't a clue about who -- or what -- Pooter might be.
" -- And said to stop by and look at his pictures and so things just simply flew together at the last minute and here I am. You're looking disreputable, Emma -- "
I tuned out a moment, as used to Dora interrupting me as I was used to her blunt criticism. Neither meant a thing for long because Dora inevitably had more important things to think about. She and I shared a passion for our respective work, but there any similarity ended. Dora's built along generous lines that would make Caravaggio drool, while I flog myself mentally if I don't run five miles three times a week. She moves through social situations like a triumphant queen, but outside of academic circles, I always feel more like an observer than a participant. Dora's broad face is as dark as the skin of a hazelnut and her hair was woven into a thousand fine braids that formed a veritable crown, while my own auburn hair and pale skin immediately reveal that my heritage is sunk in the damp, cold peat of northern Europe. Dora, it was clear, had not traveled to London in the veal pens of coach class, and her stunning wine-colored Italian dress -- I knew it was Italian only because everything she wore was Italian ...Grave Consequences. Copyright © by Dana Cameron. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a waste of money.Even if the book was free I would not read unless I wanted to be put asleep.