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Publisher Description

Winner of the Nebula Award: An archaeologist with a strange power risks death to unlock the secret of the Mayans

When night falls over the Yucatan, the archaeologists lay down their tools. But while her colleagues relax, Elizabeth Butler searches for shadows. A famous scientist with a reputation for eccentricity, she carries a strange secret. Where others see nothing but dirt and bones and fragments of pottery, Elizabeth sees shades of the men and women who walked this ground thousands of years before. She can speak to the past—and the past is beginning to speak back.

As Elizabeth communes with ghosts, the daughter she abandoned flies to Mexico hoping for a reunion. She finds a mother embroiled in the supernatural, on a quest for the true reason for the Mayans’ disappearance. To dig up the truth, the archaeologist who talks to the dead must learn a far more difficult skill: speaking to her daughter.

“A lovely and literate exploration of the dark moment where myth and science meet.” —Samuel R. Delany

“Murphy’s [blend] of fantasy and reality honorably recalls the novels of Margaret Atwood.” —Publishers Weekly

“Murphy’s convincing modern setting is a marvelous foil for her frighteningly alien Mayan ghost, and the archeological material, besides being fascinating in its own right, is put to excellent use in the plot.” —Newsday

Pat Murphy has won numerous awards for her thoughtful, literary science fiction and fantasy writing, including two Nebula Awards, the Philip K. Dick Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Seiun Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. She has published eight novels and many short stories. Her works include Rachel in Love; The Falling Woman; The City, Not Long After; Nadya; and Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, a novel that Publishers Weekly called the “cerebral equivalent of a roller-coaster ride.” Her children’s novel, The Wild Girls, received a Christopher Award in 2008.

In addition to writing fiction, Pat writes about science for children and adults. She has authored three science books for adults and more than fifteen science activity books for children. Her science writings have been honored with the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, the Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books, the Pirelli INTERNETional Award for environmental publishing, and an award from Good Housekeeping

In 1991, with writer Karen Fowler, Pat cofounded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender roles. This award is funded by grassroots efforts that include auctions and bake sales, harnessing the power of chocolate chip cookies in an ongoing effort to change the world. 

Pat enjoys looking for and making trouble. Her favorite color is ultraviolet. Her favorite book is whichever one she is working on right now. 

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
April 15
Open Road Media
OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

Customer Reviews

Calmquats ,

Page Turner

What an interesting and thought-provoking read! I wasn't quite sure what to make of it when I first started reading but, then I couldn't put it down.

AngelNaphtalie ,

Falling woman review

I fully enjoyed 'Falling Woman'....the story kept me hooked till the very end. I was sad to see it end. Left me wanting part two......where is it?

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