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.
Archeologist Nora Kelly takes center stage in this intriguing series launch from bestsellers Preston and Child (the Aloysius Pendergast series, in which Kelly's been a supporting character). She is contacted by historian Clive Benton, who claims to have located a diary written by the wife of George Donner, who led the doomed Donner Party in 1847. Benton believes that entries in the diary could identify the location of a lost third camp set up by some of the Donner Party, and hopes that Kelly will lead a search for it. As Kelly and her team begin their work in the California mountains, fledgling FBI agent Corrie Swanson, another member of the Pendergast-verse, looks into the murder of a man found in the exposed grave of Florence Regis, who also has a link to the Donner Party. Swanson's inquiries lead her to Kelly, and the suspense rises as they get closer to the truth. The two strong female protagonists share a dynamic reminiscent of that between Pendergast and his friend on the NYPD, Vincent D'Agosta. Preston and Child have recaptured some of their old magic.
Was so disappointed in this book. I have liked a lot of their books but this was a major letdown.