“Through meticulous research, Anne Montgomery opens a window on ancient Arizona native Indian culture. Not only does she take us into the carefully reconstructed daily life of the Hopi, but she also cleverly links the past to the present by involving those detectives of the past: archaeologists. I use the term detectives deliberately because their work is not just uncovering the difficult-to-find artifacts but involves combatting looters who, often in a family tradition, try to make an illicit fortune from extremely valuable objects, desecrating sites and knowledge as they operate.
I love Ms Montgomery’s detailed descriptions of Hopi manufacture and lifestyle. The author describes strong characters through whom we learn about interpersonal relationships, religious beliefs and as the title suggests, relationship with nature. It might be a minor detail, but I also got a glimpse of modern Arizona. In all, a very satisfying well written novel, whose plot grips the reader. I don’t cover that aspect for fear of spoilers, but wholeheartedly recommend this excellent novel to lovers of history and archaeology.“
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
February 2, 2022
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
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