Book review: Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Thunderhead by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
Thunderhead by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child. Source: Goodreads

The novel is an archaeological and witchcraft thriller. The novel protagonist, Nora Kelly, an assistant professor at Santa Fe Archaeological Institute receives a letter from her father whom dissapeared sixteen years ago from an archaeological trip. The letter prompts Nora to go on a journey to discover what had happened to her father and an ancient city called Quivira.

The story deals with the ancient Anasazi culture, a native American culture. It will be fascinating for people who likes to know some ancient cultures and archaeological work.

I find it hard to imagine the mentioning of archaeological features or cave features, to picture the scenes, maybe due to my lack of vocabulary (e.g. what is a Kiva?).

The characters are well developed, I can imagine the distinct characteristics of each character. The plot is good, the mysteries, such as why did the Anasazi abandon Quivira, why did the Anasazi left Quivira leaving behind everything, who are the feral humans or animals, who sent the letter, what is the function of Quivira, have well explanations. The plot deals with the struggle to be the first to discover an epic archaeological site, the seriousness of preserving the site, etc.

The witchcraft strikes me as kind of dark, especially the rituals. An interesting look into the practice of witchcraft and ancient beliefs.

Readers who like this book may refer to the author’s references to learn more about witchcraft and ancient culture, and archaeology.

“The authors made use of information from a number of other publications, the most important of which include: Clyde Kluckhohn, Navaho Witchcraft; Blackburn and Williamson, Cowboys and Cave Dwellers; Basketmaker Archaeology in Utah’s Grand Gulch; Crown and Judge, eds., Chaco and Hohokam: Prehistoric Regional Sytems in the American Southwest; Kathryn Gabriel, Roads to Center Place: A Cultural Atlas of Chaco Canyon and the Anasazi; James McNeley, Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy; David Roberts, In Search of the Old Ones; George Pepper, Pueblo Bonito; Hester, Shafer, and Feder, Field Methods in Archaeology; Lynne Sebastian, The Chaco Anasazi; Levy, Neutra, and Parker, Hand Trembling, Frenzy Witchcraft, and Moth Madness; Mauch Messenger, ed., The Ethics of Collecting Cultural Property; Chris Kincaid, ed., Chaco Roads Project, Phase I: A Reappraisal of Prehistoric Roads in the San Juan Basin; Tim D. White, Prehistoric Cannibalism at Mancos; Christy Turner, Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest; and Farouk El-Baz, “Space Age Archaeology,” Scientific American, August 1997.” – Author’s Note, Thunderhead (1999)

Leave a Reply