Old Bones (Nora Kelly Series #1)
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: 9781538747216
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Series: Nora Kelly Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 129
File size: 788 KB

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 Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. 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, The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active 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. 35 reviews.
Anonymous 26 days 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 21 days 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 25 days 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 25 days ago
as usual with this team of author and enjoyable read from 1st page to last. looking forward for the next book
Anonymous 23 days 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 24 days ago
slow moving plot, uninteresting characters
Anonymous 28 days ago
Wonderful storyline with typical twists and subplots. Truly a 5 star book
Anonymous 17 hours ago
great book and characters. fantastic twist at the end
dcl55 2 days 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 2 days ago
A wonderful book that sucked me in and left me satisfied.
Anonymous 3 days 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 5 days ago
I really enjoyed reading this book and I am looking forward to this new series playing out.
Anonymous 6 days ago
Just not up to their previous standards.
chocoholicKY 6 days 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 8 days ago
This gripping page turner has me looking forward to more Nora Kelly adventures!
Anonymous 8 days ago
Hopefully since this is the first book with Nora Roberts I can only hope that the writing improves .
Anonymous 9 days 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....
miztrebor 9 days ago
I’ve been a fan of Preston and Child’s work for years now. I first found out about the Pendergast series at around book nine, picked them up from the beginning and always look forward for the latest release. While we’re still waiting on the 19th book in that series, the authors decided to start a new series with Old Bones. I’m glad they did. This new series takes a side character from the Pendergast novels and follows her on an expedition to find and excavate the “lost camp” from the infamous Donnor Party tragedy. Nora Kelly, an archaeologist, is a welcomed character to explore on her own. But what’s better is the other Pendergast series veteran who plays a big role in the book: Corrie Swanson, now an FBI Special Agent. She’s come a long way since being introduced in Still Life with Crows. I’ve been intrigued by her story more and more in recent novels that I’m glad she’s finally getting her time to shine. And she does in Old Bones. This was a book I couldn’t put down. Like all of Preston and Child’s previous work, this was engaging, descriptive, and a straight up fun adventure. It’s also not just another Pendergast novel with other characters. This could be another great series that has it’s own strengths and memorable storylines. I know there’s a new Pendergast novel set to release early next year, but now I’m eager to get Nora Kelly’s next book!
JuliW 10 days ago
I'm a big fan of the Agent Pendergast novels by Lincoln & Child. The stories are always suspenseful and creepy-cool. That's why I jumped right on this first novel in a new spin-off series featuring Nora Kelly. Kelly appears in two prior Pendergast novels and as the main character in a prior stand alone novel, Thunderhead. The Basics: Kelly is an archaeologist and museum curator. She is approached by historian Dr. Clive Benton about a lost camp site of the Donner Party. Promising the chance to excavate previously undisturbed remains of the ill-fated party who descended into madness and cannibalism while trapped by heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Benton also pulls Kelly in with the possibility of a stash of gold coins hidden at the site. Meanwhile, new FBI agent Corrie Swanson (another character from previous Pendergast novels -- Still Life With Crows & White Fire) is investigating grave robberies, one disappearance and a murder that seem related to a member of the Donner Party. When members of the group excavating the lost camp start dying, Kelly and Swanson work together to solve the case. I loved this story! I liked Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson when they appeared in the Pendergast series. Nice to see them getting a series of their own! Both are strong, intelligent women and they worked well together in this story. Pendergast does make an appearance at the end, but the investigation and action in this new novel is all Kelly & Swanson! It isn't necessary to have read the Pendergast novels before Old Bones. The story really doesn't refer much to prior cases or characters from the Pendergast books.The story would still be enjoyable even with no knowledge of Pendergast or the prior cases Kelly and Swanson helped investigate. This book can stand on its own just fine. Enjoyable read! I will definitely be reading more of this series! Happy to see two favorite characters from the Pendergast series get to branch out a bit on their own! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
cyndecat1 11 days ago
These authors never fail to disappoint!!!! This is their "new" series focusing on two characters we have met in previous books by these authors. Nora Kell ("Relic") and Corry Swanson ("Still Life with Crows"). Nora Kelly is approached to find the "Lost Camp" of the Donner Family by Clive Benton,a historian and descendant of one of the surviving families. They find the site and begin work on the site recovering bone fragments and artifacts which clearly tell a tale of starvation , death and cannibalism. Corrie Swanson is a newly minted FBI Special Agent assigned to her first case, what appears to be a young woman's kidnapping and possible murder. Upon further research she finds that there have been other recent thefts and crimes involving the girl's family and that a ancestor of the girl was among the people thought to have died at the "Lost Camp". What ensues is a finely crafted thriller with twists and turns and a special appearance by another of their famous characters. The book is delightful.
Kaceeey 12 days ago
You all remember the horrific tragedy revolving around the Donner family? The travelers who resorted to cannibalism after being stranded in the High Sierra mountains. What if some of the members of this doomed journey left something up there in the mountains? What if it is just waiting to be discovered? Nora Kelly is an extremely successful archaeologist, she is approached by a historian who has a grand idea! He wants Nora to join him and lead an expedition into the Sierras. To the sight of the Donner camp. Corrie Swanson is a rookie with the FBI. Anxious to prove her mettle, she lands her first case. A grave robber is found murdered on top of a grave he just dug up. (Ironic, yes?) But why? Was there something special about this particular grave? I loved how the two seemingly separate stories blended so perfectly. I cannot wait to see where these authors take these two very strong characters next! This was my first read by the fantastic writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child penned as Preston & Child for this book. I’ve heard so much about their work, and had so many of their books recommended to me over the years. Finally, here was my chance with this brand new series they’re launching! I will definitely be watching for the next in the series! Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Preston & Child for an ARC to read and review.
MonnieR 14 days ago
For a second or two, I considered giving this book - the start of a new series by the authors of one of my other favorite series - four stars with the expectation that the next one will be better. But then I remembered when, as a student, how much I hated teachers who refused to give papers an A because that "doesn't leave room for improvement" (fortunately, those nitwits were few and far between). So here's my take: No matter what comes next, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and give it top marks. Featured here is Nora Kelly, an archeologist curator who works for a nonprofit institute and is working amid the remains of a former Pueblo Indian site. She's approached by Dr. Clive Benton (interestingly, in the official book description, the visit is by historian Guy Porter, so now I'm curious about the reason for the name change in the finished product). At any rate, he shares a story relating to the 1847 Donner Party, almost all of whom were lost to bad weather, murder and even cannibalism (and of which he claims to be a descendant). To entice the institute to fund an expedition, he dangles the real possibility of finding gold coins valued at about $20 million in today's market - a third of which would go to the institute. The lure of much-needed funding sways Nora's boss in Benton's favor, and off they go to the Sierra Nevadas - aided by a journal Benton found that supposedly was documented by another relative. Led to the wilderness by a team of local guides, it doesn't take long to unearth two of the Donner camps, but it is in the third - not yet found - that the gold is likely to be. As all this is taking place, newly minted FBI agent Corrine Swanson is earning her bones, so to speak, mostly with boring desk work. Corrie, some readers may recall, is a protoge of Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast - the main character in that favorite series of mine mentioned above. Then, she gets a case in which a very old grave is robbed of half its contents, after which the robber is unceremoniously murdered execution style. Because that happened on federal land, the feds are in charge - and the investigation puts Corrie in the general vicinity of Nora's excavations. Needless to say, the two professionals end up meeting - and bumping heads - as the two storylines begin to merge and Corrie begins to suspect a connection between her case and Nora's work. Also needless to say, danger follows close behind; more suspicious deaths (and near deaths) happen before the book ends with a flurry of excitement and an appearance by a very special person. All in all, very well done - and certainly an enticement to read about Nora's next adventure. I shall be eagerly waiting!
Anonymous 15 days ago
wonderful as usual great new characters
Anonymous 17 days ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to more.
Anonymous 17 days ago
I couldn't put it down. Looking forward to future installments!