Wednesday, January 03, 2007

One side effect of a book is to inspire me to read more in a related area. It doesn't even have to be the best book to do this. For example, I mentioned The Relic below . This inspired me to look into other archaeology related novels and I found The Visitantby Kathleen O'Neil Gear and W. Michael Gear. The authors are both former archaeologists and have written a number of books, many focusing on early Native American cultures. The Visitant is the first one in a new series combining current day archaeoligical activities and a mystery centered in the lives of the Anasazi people of the Southwest.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book. The mystery part was fairly interesting and kept me reading till the end but the modern day material seemed under-developed and the Anasazi sections suffered from a very anachronistic feel - the Anasazi felt like modern people with odd names rather than an actual prehistoric culture. An obvious example comes early in the book when one of the first victims was found and the discoverers worry about whether she is going into shock. Did ancient people in the Southwest actually understand what it meant when a person goes into shock? Somehow, I doubt it. Things like that really throw off the feel of those parts of the book.

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