When historian Clive Benton discovers a journal giving the location of the "Lost Camp" of the Donner Party, there's only one archaeologist he wants to work with. He's done his homework and Nora Kelly is talented, dedicated, and knows the high Sierra Nevadas well.
Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate the site-- the third camp belonging to the infamous Donner Party that in 1847, trapped by twenty-five feet of snow, had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive.
The team soon learns that finding the Lost Camp is only the first step in an expedition leading them deeper and deeper into shock and fear. As the old bones are uncovered, Nora and her team expose what really happened, and this knowledge leads to present-day violence on a grand scale. It's Rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson's first case-- and it may be her last.
I've always been an easy mark for a mystery steeped in history, and Old Bones is an excellent example. I grew up close to where the Donner Party started out in 1847, and that tale of being trapped by brutal winter weather in an unforgiving land and being forced to resort to cannibalism to stay alive has always held a strange fascination for me. Preston and Child flesh out (pun guiltily intended) their story with the history of the Donner Party, a bit of genetics, a marvelous wilderness setting, some archaeology, and-- why not?-- a bit of treasure.
The story is fast-paced, and I really enjoyed getting to know both archaeologist Nora Kelly and rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson. Prendergast fans will be happy to know that he does make an appearance in this book, but it's really all Nora and Corrie-- and I am definitely looking forward to more.
Old Bones by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing © 2019
eBook, 385 pages
Thriller, #1 Nora Kelly mystery
Source: Net Galley