What if you had the chance to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the field of physical anthropology / paleoanthropology? Would you get involved? How about if you were putting your life in danger? For General (Retired) Steve Macaulay and archaeologist Lexy Vaughan, the answer is easy. They're on board, no matter the risk.
He came awake to the gaunt, beaming face of Carlos leaning over his hospital bed. Macaulay only wished it had been the face he had seen when he was regaining consciousness on the beach. Had Lexy been there or had it been delirium?—The Bone Hunters by Robert J. Mrazek (Signet, 2015, p. 82)
Macaulay's head was throbbing, but it wasn't from a hangover. He reached up with his left hand and felt the bandage on his forehead. He remembered slamming into the steering wheel when the Goose hit the water.
- Setting: various places around the world; mostly modern times, with a few flashbacks to the 1940s
- Circumstances: In 1941, the original fossilized bones of the Homo erectus specimen known as Peking Man were boxed for transport to the United States for safe keeping. The bones presumably left China, but were never seen again. In modern times in China, a grass-roots cult forms around the lost fossil, prompting the Chinese government to up its efforts to find and destroy Peking Man. Meanwhile, Steve, Lexy, and U.S. officials team up, determined to locate the famous fossil before it is truly lost forever.
- Characters: Steve Macaulay, retired air force general; Alexandra Vaughan, well-respected archaeologist; Barnaby Finchem, Lexy's mentor; various U.S. agents and officials; bad guys in China and Germany; other friends and enemies around the world
- Genre & themes: action / adventure, mystery, international politics, China, paleoanthropology
- Why I want to read this: I read the first Macaulay-Vaughan book, Valhalla, and loved the action, the mystery, and the archaeological aspects to the story. Plus it involved Vikings! Steve and Lexy have a good chemistry and their skills complement each other. I have a doctorate in physical anthropology, so reading The Bone Hunters is a given.
- Things to know: The story of the missing Peking Man specimen is true. Indeed the bones were lost in 1941 while en route to New York. What happened to the fossil has remained a mystery ever since. Mrazek includes an Author's Note with a brief history of the discovery of Peking Man and its disappearance. The fictionalized adventure story promises to be pure fun. Think Indian Jones, but without the hat and whip.
Thanks to the nice people at Penguin Random House, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address not only a copy of Robert J. Mrazek's The Bone Hunters (published on December 1) but also a copy of the first Steve Macualay-Alexandra Vaughan book, Valhalla. (These books are perfect for holiday escape reading!) All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win the two books is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner, via a random number generator, on December 18. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the name and address along to the publisher, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!