Old Bones (Nora Kelly Series #1)

Old Bones (Nora Kelly Series #1)

by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child


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The #1 NYT bestselling authors Preston & Child bring the true story of the ill-fated Donner Party to new life in this thrilling novel of archaeology, history, murder, and suspense.

Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called "Lost Camp" of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder-and cannibalism.

Benton tells Kelly he has stumbled upon an amazing find: the long-sought diary of one of the victims, which has an enigmatic description of the Lost Camp. Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate it-to reveal its long-buried secrets.

Once in the mountains, however, they learn that discovering the camp is only the first step in a mounting journey of fear. For as they uncover old bones, they expose the real truth of what happened, one that is far more shocking and bizarre than mere cannibalism. And when those ancient horrors lead to present-day violence on a grand scale, rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned the case...only to find that her first investigation might very well be her last.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538747223
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Series: Nora Kelly Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,091
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

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 Verses for the Dead, City of Endless Night, The Obsidian Chamber, and Blue Labyrinth. In addition to his novels and nonfiction works (such as The Lost City of the Monkey God), Preston writes about archaeology for The New Yorker and National Geographic magazines. Lincoln Child is a Florida resident and former book editor who has published seven novels of his own, including such bestsellers as Full Wolf Moon and Deep Storm.

Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining" newsletter from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Place of Birth:

Cambridge, Massachusetts


B.A., Pomona College, 1978

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Old Bones 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I love their novels and this one did not disappoint me in any way. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the elements of this story is a subject that has been of great interest to me for many years.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Good idea but the plot is far too slow. Definitely not up to the standards previously set by this writing duo. In additon, I don't understand how this can be considered a Nora Kelly novel when Corrie Swanson was featured more than Nora. Kind of makes me think the writer's lost their focus shortly after beginning the novel. Stephanie Clanahan
Anonymous 7 months ago
I liked the premise of the story and weaving previous characters and story lines into this story. i just did not feel the dialogue was particularly good, not up to authors' standards. I wish I liked it more.
Anonymous 7 months ago
slow moving plot, uninteresting characters
Anonymous 7 months ago
Great suspense-thriller, bringing back a character from years ago. Looking forward to more interaction between the two protagonists. Cameo appearance led to a great finale.
Anonymous 7 months ago
as usual with this team of author and enjoyable read from 1st page to last. looking forward for the next book
Anonymous 7 months ago
Wonderful storyline with typical twists and subplots. Truly a 5 star book
Anonymous 5 months ago
good read. fast moving, enjoyed first book with Nora Kelly. However I like the Prendergast series better, his character is so well developed. Hopefully the next book will involve him .
Anonymous 5 months ago
another great P&C novel. Great story and nice characters. A lot of research put into the story which is well developed. Grave robbery and murders and how do they relate to the Donner Party tragedies over a hundred and fifty years ago. A who done it and more interesting question., why. A nice surprise toward the end.Well done. Looking to the next novel. Highly recommended.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I pre-ordered this book. I absolutely LOVE Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and I'm left pissed after reading this one. It is a pale version of Thunderhead, a fantastic novel. If the Nora Kelly series is going to be anything like the Gideon series I may have to cease reading them before it ruins my love for their works. First you kill Smithback off and create Gideon to assuage the angry readers. Then you create this, and mention him somewhat casually in a book in which, I'm sure you know you could have done better. I love you guys but what the ever loving....
Anonymous 13 days ago
Good read, set up nicely and clever twists!
Anonymous 22 days ago
Best book I’ve read in a long time. Great pace with twists and turns you don’t see coming. Character development that has you invested in the outcome and a fully unique plot line that hasn’t been done to death. It even had me looking up the history of the story and region. I’m a huge fan of these authors and I was looking forward to this series. I’m delighted to say they’ve simply outdone themselves. I highly recommend this book.
JHSEsq 22 days ago
In Old Bones, bestselling authors Preston & Child tackle the myth and legend surrounding the Donner Party. The story opens with a series of grave robberies. And a seemingly unrelated theft from the Donner House before it is demolished. That house belonged to the daughter of Jacob Donner, a member of the Donner Party. Preservationists lost the battle the save the home, and bulldozers are about to raze it to make way for condominiums and a golf course along the Bear River when a stranger sneaks in and retrieves an old journal. When Clive Benton claims that the journal is that of Tamzene Donner, the wife of the leader of the Donner Party, Nora Kelly is intrigued. Benton contends that the diary identifies all of the persons who were stranded at the Lost Camp and includes a description of the camp's location. The Lost Camp has never been discovered and the chance to find valuable archaeological evidence of exactly what transpired there more than a century ago excites Nora once she hears Benton's underlying thesis. Benton maintains that members of the Donner Party were transporting treasure that has never been found and may well be in the vicinity of the Lost Camp. Nora's boss, director of the Institute, is persuaded that the Institute should fund the expedition. Meanwhile, Corinne Swanson, a neophyte FBI agent, is finally assigned to investigate her first homicide case. But when she finally lands that assignment, she has no idea that she will find herself on horseback in the remote Sierra Nevada mountains, wrapped up in a mystery that is more than a century old. Corinne was a Goth teen with purple hair and attitude, so she is able to relate to a troubled teenage boy that she encounters in the course of investigating his sister's disappearance. Corinne found her way to the FBI via Pendergast, and is able to relate to the youngster with whom her interactions are authentic and touching. Preston and Child use real members of the Donner Party and actual aspects of their story to craft a fast-moving thriller. Nora is still grieving her husband, devoted to her work, and determined that the expedition comply with strict protocols. She is compelled by her professionalism and awareness that if the expedition is a success, she will have contributed to extremely important discoveries. She is accompanied by not just Benton, whose credentials and motives seem legitimate, but the former lawyer who resides in the areas and puts together the team that leads them through the treacherous terrain to the campsite where the excavation will take place. They are an eclectic, mysterious group and it is soon clear that each is a suspect when things start to go horribly wrong. The subject matter is handled with sensitivity by Preston & Child, who point out, through several characters, that the the expedition has found its way to hallowed ground -- grave sites -- and the remains they discover must be handled with respect. One character takes that approach to an unfortunate extreme. Before long, bodies are literally piling up -- some from the 1800's, but the recent deaths are alarming as Nora realizes that she is in grave danger and Corinne finds her way to the camp where Preston & Child expertly meld the seemingly disparate mysteries into one cohesive, frightening, and shocking conclusion. Preston & Child never disappoint, and Old Bones is a promising start to a new series featuring Nora and Corinne. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
BuriedUnderBooks 27 days ago
Old Bones Nora Kelly #1 Preston & Child Grand Central Publishing, August 2019 ISBN 978-1538747223 Hardcover We’ve met Nora Kelly before in some of the Pendergast novels and I’ve always liked her so I’m delighted she has her own series now. Along with Nora, we meet another character from the past, Corrie Swanson, who used to be a Goth teen with purple hair and attitude. Her connection to Pendergast when he hired her to drive him around during a case led her to become an FBI agent and she’s still trying to corral her mouthy rebellious streak. When historian Clive Benton convinces archaeologist Nora Kelly and her employer, the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, to undertake a search for and excavation of the Lost Camp, an offshoot of the Donner Party’s known snowbound locations, no one expects the FBI to intervene in the dig on site. Agent Corrie Swanson has been investigating the possible ties among a string of grave robberies and a missing person and has, perhaps precipitously, connected them to the dig. Her arrival at the site leads to a shutdown and murders and she and Nora are forced to work together to find the killer(s). Although the identity of the killer(s) was a bit too predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed Old Bones and relish the promise of more collaborations between Nora and Corrie with a little Pendergast thrown in
Twink 3 months ago
Old Bones is the latest collaboration of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's also the first book in the Nora Kelly series. Fans of Preston and Child will recognize Nora Kelly from Cemetery Dance - the ninth Pendergast novel. I was happy to see her again - and that she will be getting her own series. Joining her is rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson - who also appeared in two Pendergast novels. Preston and Child often draw on history and actual events in their books. In Old Bones, it is the ill fated 1847 Donner Party. Nora is approached by a historian who has found proof that there is a 'lost camp' in addition to the camps already documented. Further more, there may be a fortune waiting to be found at that lost camp. I am fascinated by archaeology and the idea that the past is just waiting to be uncovered. I wondered what Preston and Child had imagined for this latest. The dig begins.....but so does trouble. Within a few days, one of the team is murdered. And Swanson joins the dig. Settling in with Old Bones felt like rejoining old friends for their latest adventure. Preston and Child never disappoint. The plotting captured my interest, the action kept me turning pages and I liked the lead characters. And best of all, Pendergast made an appearance! But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy Kelly and Swanson. They play well off each other and make a good team - although they don't see themselves as such. Another great easy read from Preston and Child - I always look forward to their books and will be eagerly awaiting the next in the Nora Kelly series
Anonymous 4 months ago
Old Bones is pretty much classic Preston & Child. If you enjoy their thrillers, you'll have a good time with this.
Lillian Maddocks-Cummings 4 months ago
Is this your chance? Nora Kelly is excited about the new expedition that she is leading and she hopes that they can find the lost gold and find out what really happened to the families in 1846. The details are known about the families that were eaten by the other members of the party but there is still so much to learn. And as a top archaeologist finding the missing camp could hold a treasure trove of clues but the gold would be a good find for the institution as well. So her team sets out to find the camp, things go well until they start finding bodies. Nora knows that there is so much more to the story and she needs to find all the evidence to prove what really happened. But things start going wrong and Nora doesn't know who she can trust other than her own team someone wants the dig to fail but why? And now that there is an FBI agent looking into the murder she doesn't know what to believe and the agent really gets in her way. Agent Corinne Swanson has only ever wanted to be in the FBI but she feels like her boss won't give her a real case and now that she is looking into a case of someone killing a grave robber and a young missing woman and the case has just gotten wider as someone has been killed on Nora's dig , she knows that they all connected but she can't seem to find out why? Little does she know that all the cases are connected and that they will be in a race against to stop the killers from getting away with their treasure. Will they be able to work together to find out the truth before it is too late for them both? A good read. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & the publishing house in exchange for my honest review.
NOOKfile 5 months ago
Editor's note: This review appears online on the Mountain Times (Boone, NC) website Hede: You'll dig this story after the halfway point: 'Old Bones' by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child With this most recent offering from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child — the Preston and Child of “Relic” fame and dozens of novels since — noted archeologist Dr. Nora Kelly teams with historian Clive Benton to set off on an epic adventure. Well, after about the halfway mark or so. There’s not much epic before that. In search of the elusive third “Lost Camp” of the noted Donner dinner party in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Benton convinces Kelly and the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology that not only are there human remains in those there hills, there’s gold — about $20 million in lost booty waiting to be claimed by the first finder. But because there’s no such thing as easy money — or an easy lunch, as the Donner party found out — enter Special Agent Corrie Swanson, an FBI agent whiz newbie who makes a nebulous connection among the desecrated graves of Donner decedents, running her investigation directly into Kelly’s dig. A slow build up ensues to this point where, really, there is much exposition — about the Donner party, the mountains, the investigation — but little in the form of action. A so-so middling story then picks up and turns into an acceptable mystery story, if … and only if … you can accept the deus ex machina in the form of Special Agent Pendergast (he of many previous famed novels) and a mysterious note (read: clue the reader wasn’t privy to until the end of the story). Still, and getting past the cliches of sexism, et al. the female FBI rookie must endure, there is hope for the next Kelly-Swanson venture in terms of character and story development. And, as Pendergast’s heavy-handed ending “and that is precisely why such a partnership just might work” indicates, that development is undoubtedly in the works as you read this now.
Anonymous 5 months ago
great book and characters. fantastic twist at the end
dcl55 5 months ago
Old Bones by Preston & Child is a new thriller series featuring Nora Kelly. WOW, one of the best books of the summer! Old Bones grabbed my attention and I was so engrossed with the subject matter of the book! Nora is a top field archaeologist with the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute. She is asked to lead an expedition to try and find the last lost settlement of the ill-fated Donner Party from 1846-47. Nora will be accompanied by Clive Benton, a historian with ties to the Breen's, of one of the perished families. Dr. Benton stole a journal written by Tamzene Donner which gives additional information about the area and logistics of the travel. What they must keep secret is the possibility of finding a cache of one thousand Liberty Head gold eagle coins, uncirculated and minted in 1846 with a market value of approximately twenty million dollars! As I read the book and thought of the true despair, distress, and horrid conditions and deaths of these families in 1846, it made the present-day mysteries and search for the Lost Camp very intriguing! There is also another new character which I hope will continue to appear in this series. Agent Corinne Swanson with the FBI, based in Albuquerque, NM. She is a new agent and is given her first real case which leads her to believe a there is a connection to grave robbing and deaths related to a family with the surname Parkin. How could this case possibly be connected to the Donner party? The interweaving of the stories with historical events makes Old Bones a wonderful page-turning book you just can't stop reading until the end. .I am so happy we will have a series which seems to feature archeology and the investigations of mysteries regarding historical events!
Anonymous 5 months ago
A wonderful book that sucked me in and left me satisfied.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I really enjoyed reading this book and I am looking forward to this new series playing out.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Just not up to their previous standards.
chocoholicKY 6 months ago
Preston and Child do not disappoint, and the plot twists keep the story moving. The authors give a nod to Pendergast, which was a cool addition to the story.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This gripping page turner has me looking forward to more Nora Kelly adventures!