Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thunderhead” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,926 Ratings  ·  497 Reviews
Nora Kelly, a young archaeologist in Santa Fe, receives a letter written sixteen years ago, yet mysteriously mailed only recently. In it her father, long believed dead, hints at a fantastic discovery that will make him famous and rich---the lost city of an ancient civilization that suddenly vanished a thousand years ago. Now Nora is leading an expedition into a harsh, remo ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Thunderhead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Thunderhead

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Shelly Kotalik
Mar 08, 2008 Shelly Kotalik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preston-child
This is the first Preston/Child book I read. After reading this, I have devoured every single one of their books since. It crackles with intelligence and suspense. It is extremely addictive and the setting is by far one of the most interesting and memorable, practically a character in and of itself. A must read. Plus they continue characters throughout their books, not all at once, but here and there. Smithback and Nora in particular from this book. I loved it!
Rick Ludwig
This the third Preston and Child novel that I have read and I enjoyed it very much. This one did not include agent Pendergast, but did lay the background for how Nora Kelly and Bill Smithback first met, prior to their starring roles in "Cabinet of Curiosities" . The story was continually exciting and had just the right blend of detailed archaeology and the hint of the supernatural. This was a straight up adventure novel with the details of the expedition exceptionally well drawn and the characte ...more
Nora Kelly es una arqueóloga que durante una visita al rancho abandonado de sus padres, sufre el ataque de unos misteriosos y agresivos seres. Estos estaban buscando una carta, que Nora encontrará por casualidad. Cuál será su sorpresa cuando descubra que dicha misiva fue escrita por su padre, también arqueólogo, hace dieciséis años, época en la que desapareció sin dejar rastro. En esta carta, el padre de Kelly habla del descubrimiento de la ciudad perdida de Quivira de los indios Anasazi, dando ...more
May 29, 2008 Candice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Candice by: Jason
Easily my favorite of all the books cowritten by these authors. I remember being absolutely hooked by this book, experiencing the adrenaline rush in real-time, the first time I read it, and I've reread it countless times since then. Perhaps I like it better because it doesn't have FBI Special Agent Pendergast in it (who has become rather unbelievable in the most recent Preston/Child books). As always with these authors' better books, the interwoven archaeological facts and level of detail are im ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one! Preston/Child is always good and in my opinion, this is one of their best. It's the story of a search for the lost city of gold, Quivara, that Coronado had searched for in the 16th century. Nora Kelly finds a letter from her father written 16 years previously that describes his search for the city and she eventually convinces the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to fund a search for the lost city in the canyons of Southern Utah. This was a really engrossing story and ...more
May 14, 2013 Beleth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Los libros de este tipo me encantan, búsquedas de lugares perdidos o remotos, leyendas, misterios... En esta ocasión los personajes buscan una ciudad sagrada llamada Quivira y, como no , su expedición estará rodeada de peligros.
A pesar de ser tan gordo el libro se lee en un suspiro, los acontecimientos se desarrollan pausadamente al principio pero hay algunas escenas intercaladas que ponen los pelos de punta.
Me ha gustado el ambiente casi claustofóbico de la parte final y también algunos de los
Feb 15, 2010 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
This is an interesting story overall, and long. I think it would have appealed to me more in my 20s though. The biggest problem I have with it is that its believability suffers in part because of the story's pacing and partly because of the rather bizarre form of evil presented. A young, untested archaeologist manages in a week's time to be seriously attacked, get funding for potentially the biggest archaeological dig of all time, and line up the professional participants ... and they're off! Th ...more
Barbara ★
This is the first book from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child that I absolutely hated. It is so boring and just plods along like it has no place to go. UGH!

Even the characters are boring and uninteresting: Nora Kelly, Peter Holyrood, Bill Smithback, Aaron Black, Roscoe Swire, Sloane Goddard and Luigi Bonarotti. There wasn't a pleasant person in the entire group. All they did was bitch and moan about the travel to the Anasazi site of Quivira. I thought all archeologists did was tromp from site to
Mar 01, 2009 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great adventure! A nice break from fantasy although it had quite a few elements common to fantasy in it. There was witchcraft, ancient mythology, bravery, treachery and travel. The research into the anasazi was thorough and exact as was the archaeology.
Aug 08, 2015 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi preferido desde siempre, aunque no salga Pendergast. Siempre lo consideré parte de la saga porque es la historia en la que se conocen Norah y Smithback. Es justo como la recordaba, una estupenda novela de aventuras, aunque en esta ocasión ha jugado en contra de la lectura el saber lo que iba a pasar. Es una novela que en primera lectura resulta emocionante pero en relectura pierde parte de su emoción (al contrario de lo que pueda parecer, no suele pasarme con otras relecturas). En cualquier c ...more
May 04, 2015 Kaelah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am always in search of a good mystery, suspense, thriller novel. Most that I come across are cliche, have an over written, over used plot, or simply have poor character development. Thunderhead is far from that! The story line is unique with twist and turns that keeps the reader tuned into every page.

Through their co-writing, you were transported to the back canyons of Utah, with Nora and her team. You suffered with them, learned with them, struggled with them and discovered wonderful things w
Alexander Rice
Jul 01, 2015 Alexander Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest I mostly liked this one because of the setting, background, and subject material.

There's no Pendergast, but it was nice to get out of New York City and go to a place that I myself am actually quite familiar with, southern Utah and the southwest desert climate. I grew up going down to that general area almost every summer when I was in Boy Scouts, so it was really easy for me to visualize the landscapes, canyons, rocks, ruins, weather coniditons and all that. It helped make the story
Feb 01, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Oh oh come take my hand. We're riding out tonight to case the promised land. Woah oh oh, thunderhead, oh thunderhead, oh thunderhead."

Ok, not quite Bruce Springsteen, but it was in my head the whole time I read Thunderhead. This is really one of my favorite styles of books. Action/Adventure with a splash of mystery. In the style of books like Amazonia and to a lesser extent The Celestine Prophecy. If you've never heard of Douglas Preston before, he's written several books in this style (along w
Jun 18, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 10, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Archaeology, lost ancient cities filled with priceless treasures, unknowable and unnameable terrors in the dark. . .this book has got everything I enjoy in a thriller.

Nora Kelly is an archaeologist at the Santa Fe Institute for Archaeology, whose reputation has already risen far above that of her father, a second-tier archaeologist who got lost on an expedition and never returned. However, one day, Nora finds a letter from her father, written twenty odd years ago, describing the route he took to
Aug 03, 2011 Becca-Rawr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-11
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child know how to scare the shit out of people.

I am a huge fan of Preston and Child. They have a way of writing thrillers that hit every emotion, that are unlike any other novel I’ve ever gotten my hands on, and they just plain make an impact.

Nora Kelly, an archeologist, receives a letter from her father who has been missing and presumed dead for decades. At the same time she is attacked by creatures that haunt her daydreams for weeks after. The letter tells of the le
The adventure is marginally higher than the suspense in Preston and Child's sturdy new tale of scientific derring-do, concerning a search for Quivira, the legendary Anasazi Indian City of Gold. The authors know what buttons to push and levers to yank, perhaps too well. The novel has a clockwork feel, from its first tick, the spooky stalking of archaeologist Nora Kelly on an isolated New Mexican ranch, to its last tock. Playing it safe, Preston and Child take no missteps as Nora finds an old lett ...more
John Bennett
Aug 01, 2014 John Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Preston/Child novel that I have read although I have seen the adaptation of Relic. Based on that I expected this book would feature more suspense and horror than it did. But this is not a bad thing in this instance. What the book does provide is an enjoyable adventure tale that includes suspense and horror in reasonable measure. I found the novel quite enjoyable and plan to read more of these author's works.
David Ivester
Sep 25, 2012 David Ivester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Earlier this year I read "The Cabinet of Curiosities", which a friend of mine found in a box at the Recycling Center and brought to me. In that book, "Thunder head" was referenced obliquely, so I ordered it. Like "Cabinet", this book is a quick read with no hidden subtext or symbolism, just a straight science-based adventure story. I found this book to be reminiscent of Tony Hillerman in its descriptions of the southwestern landscape and the utilization of Indian lore as part of the story. Also, ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A very, very good read. I was pleasantly surprised by this quality novel. Well written and well proofed, the authors have created a very good storyline with imaginative but realistic, and in many cases authentic, Indian culture.
This quality makes sense because one of the authors, Doug Preston, traveled and lived among Indians in the Southwest. The authors based the book on findings from actual research, which makes their writing so realistic. Their descriptions are excellent, and could not have
Kelsey Hanson
Actual Rating: 3.5
(Hey Goodreads! What do we want? Half stars! When do we want them? NOW!)

This book was good, but didn't quite make it into great territory. The story itself is very interesting and filled with lots of adventure and historical info. It did take a while for this book to warm up for me. Initially it has a very predictable summer blockbuster-equse feel to it like an Indiana Jones movie. It does eventually pick up and get more interesting after the first third or so. The middle of t
Aug 03, 2012 Robby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable read. Though Pendergast is not present in this book, there is a good amount of back-story info on relevant characters pursuant to the continuation of the Pendergast series. This book would make an adventuresome/thrillseekers delight;on the edge of your seat type movie. The impressibly written perception of the dire state of environment/scenery would make a significant challenge to those responsible for bringing such impressions to the big screen. For those who have ever pondered ...more
Heather Thurmeier
This isn't the first book I've read by this author combo, but it's definitely my favorite from them! Twists and turns I didn't see coming, exciting adventure, history and myth all rolled into one, and a solid, satisfying ending. Highly recommend to adventure readers!
May 05, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think of a thriller, I think of a 500mph, buckle your seat belt, and hold onto something book. This was not that. It was more of a chiller, I guess. It started off slow with a hint of something dangerous around the edges, then it reached the mid point and really picked up speed. I have to say that I did appreciate the slow start as it progressed. There are a lot of characters in this book, and the pace of the plot let me really get to know all of then before being plunged into the more ex ...more
James Campbell
Mar 31, 2015 James Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic read, and great story by Preston & Child, who are certainly at the top of my favourite authors list.

It's a fast paced, adventure/treasure hunter that incorporates a sense of dread as well as long for past family secrets. Throw into the mix is some great Anasazi folklore that is set in the canyons and valleys and plateaus of the American southwest - pictographs, legends abound.

It's hard to classify this as a horror novel, because it also falls into the thriller and advent
Dec 14, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the books by Preston and Child! This one is our first introduction to Nora Kelly who makes a later appearance in the book,
The Cabinet of Curiosities, while Smithback(from Relic) is back there's no sign of Pendergast. It's an interesting tale of Nora looking for Quivara, a Native American settlement that may have been the fabled City of Gold that Spanish explorer Coronado was looking for. I liked how Preston and Child link in a lot of Native American legend along with intersting fac
Matt Wells
Sep 05, 2014 Matt Wells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As per the norm, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child deliver a great and intriguing tale of ancient treasure, an unidentifiable evil, and great storytelling. For me, it seems the personal trend whenever I finish a Lincoln and Child book, is to immediately research the subject matter that the book dealt with and find out just how much deals with real history and real archaeology. Plus it never hurts when the book is about characters you already come to know and enjoy from other stories. A great rea ...more
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Thunderhead is a fairly by-the-books archaeological thriller. This isn’t to say it’s bad; if that’s the genre you’re in the mood for, it’ll satisfy. It ticks off all the right suspense boxes, kicking the danger in early and ratcheting it up at regular intervals. There are plenty of discoveries and setbacks, new friendships and new enmities.

There are only two real downsides. One is that most of the characters are stock characters, stereotypes. (Ahh, the rugged
Glenn Bowlan
If you have any knowledge of American prehistory, you'll need to summon a tremendous suspension of disbelief in order to make it through this novel: every page has the trappings of history, archaeology and science, but it's basically all wrong. Once you come to terms with that, however, it's a pretty good tale of an archeological dig in the American Southwest that is plagued by mutinous personalities, murderous witches and an ancient curse that is surprisingly efficacious.
Jul 16, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I thought this was a great summer read! I only wish I read it on my kindle because there were a bunch of words I found myself looking up, and I love how easy it is to tap the word on the kindle screen to get the definition.

Before I started I had prepared myself for some slow parts, since I found the beginning of Relic a bit slow. This was a fast read right from the beginning. I would recommend this book if you like adventures with a bit of mystery and creepiness.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Utopia
  • Deep Fathom
  • Antarktos Rising (Origins Edition, #4)
  • Temple
  • Vulcan's Forge (Philip Mercer, #1)
  • Raising Atlantis (Conrad Yeats Adventure #1)
  • Event (Event Group Adventure, #1)
Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr ...more
More about Douglas Preston...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Perhaps it’s not a matter of unimportant sites, but unimportant archaeologists.” 2 likes
More quotes…