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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  23,043 ratings  ·  690 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
Paperback, 531 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1999)
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Maria Coro Arruti If you like Anasazi history, Indian myths, archeology, horses and villains, this book is for you. May be a tad long, especially at the end, but all in…moreIf you like Anasazi history, Indian myths, archeology, horses and villains, this book is for you. May be a tad long, especially at the end, but all in all, it is an interesting and entertaining book. And a surprise for me, the only book of this author I had not read, as I am an admirer of both Preston and Child, including their Pendergast series as their standalone books. (less)
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Amazing! Preston & Child do it again. This book is soooooo good from page one until the very end. Excitement, suspense, mystery, gore, betrayal, etc. it's all there and there is a lot of it! Also, it is obvious that they put so much research into their books - but the history parts of it are not dry, they just make it more intriguing!

Note: This is not a Pendergast novel, but it falls between Reliquary and Cabinet of Curiosities.

If you like a great story with great mystery and some scares an
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, buddy-read
Hell yes! Thunderhead was an entertaining and thrilling adventure! It was a griping read from the last 1/4 until the end. I could not put this book down!

I loved this book because of the setting and subject material. I’ve always enjoyed archaeology and the journey to explore hidden places, cultures and religions. It felt very much like reading a Indiana Jones book. It was right on target with that feeling. A group of archaeologists are on an expedition to the caves of Utah to explore a hidden cit
Sean Gibson
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sean by: Steven
Under certain circumstances, I can get on board with suspension of disbelief.

“So, wait—no one recognizes that he’s Clark Kent because he takes off his glasses, gives himself a spit curl, and wears his underwear outside his pants? That makes sense.”

It’s all about context—if I’m being asked to accept that a man can fly, obliterate things with heat beams from his eyes, and lift an elephant over his head without breaking a sweat, I can make some allowances for bending the rules of common sense a lit
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a book. Truly fascinating and captivating. The story was well layered slowly unearthing bits and pieces (pun intended?). I can’t get enough of these authors and looking forward to reading more of their works, highly recommend to pretty much everyone.
Shelly Kotalik
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.25 Stars
This book's writing style is just right for a movie script with its hodgepodge of bizarre characters and fierce adventurous pace.
Authors Preston and Child weave a story around modern archeological theories about the Anasazi, a lost tribe of American Indians, and instill it with characters determined to prove their own differing theories on what really happened to their lost city of treasures.
The adventure soars as our heroine Nora Kelly’s expedition treks into the bleak and impassable
Paul Falk
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The authors delivered a rousing, suspense thriller in a book that simply, could not be put down. Built upon previous scenes, the momentum of the storyline gained steam as it cunningly, cut it's way through chapter to chapter. It's never too much to expect a fitting ending and that too was delivered in style. All I ask for from any novel is one thing - to be entertained. This book took first prize gloriously.

Patraic Kelly, an archaeologist had gone missing sixteen years ago while in search of the
J.K. Grice
This book was my introduction to the brilliant writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. THUNDERHEAD is stellar read full of adventure, science, magic, and history. Highly recommended!
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fun thrill ride in this one, filled with lots of action, great characters and a well-researched and interesting storyline.
Rick Ludwig
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it

Preston and Child's favorite word is purchase. In this and many of their other novels, characters (and horses) struggle to "get a purchase" on slippery footing or rockface fingerholds. They lose a purchase, they maintain a purchase, they scrabble for purchase. Dozens and dozens of times. Rarely however do they actually purchase something in a retail setting.

Their second favorite word is susurrus, and again this pops up numerous times over tens of books. Someone hears "a faint susurrus of wind."
TS Chan
3.5 stars.

Short review to come.
'Thunderhead' by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is an exciting adventure tale. It reminds me of Indiana Jones, but instead of Harrison Ford, we have a female protagonist, Nora Kelly, an assistant professor at The Santa Fe Archaeological Institute. Our intrepid archaeologist, fights peril at ever turn in a suspense laden narrative. Two things I love about this novel: Firstly, is how the authors throw in so many archaeological facts, especially about the Anasazi, an ancient North Americ ...more
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
This turned out to be a much better non-detour from the Pendergast series than I thought it would be. Nora is a fantastic character, very resourceful, and I can't wait to see how she fits in with the rest of the cast in the series. (Also, Smithback.... ehhhhh but I might be warming to him.)
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
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
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Joshua Shioshita
This book zips along like a Hollywood movie. That's both a good thing and a bad thing I guess. It's like a summer blockbuster in literary form. At least that's the impression I had the entire time reading it. I constantly had this taste of popcorn in my mouth. Anyway, there's a lot going on in this book. All the conflicts of drama are here, like there was template and the writers checked each one off as they went along. Self vs self, yup. Self vs the environment, yup. Self vs others, yup. Self v ...more
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
This book was exciting from the first to the last page! The authors definitly knew how to keep a reader excited and reading! I read it in one day and absolutly enjoyed it!
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, paranormal
I really liked this book. I have only read one other Douglas Preston book and I liked it but this one was even better. I like archaeology and I love paranormal and Native American folklore so this was right up my ally. If you are at all interested in archaeology I would highly recommend this book.
Caroline Smith
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca (agirlirlblog, bekkilyn)
Archaeology plays a big role in this book, particularly concerning the Anasazi. Mystery, hints of a lost city, conflicting personalities, and even an appearance by one of the characters in the authors' previous books. Thunderhead is a standalone novel though and has nothing to do with the events in any of the other books. To top off near perfection, the book even includes a big, fuzzy dog appropriately called Teddy Bear. :)

Although something frightening happened near the beginning of the book, I
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
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So it's not a literary masterpiece but for good page-turning adventure thrills I enjoyed it thoroughly.
John Beta
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Plodded along for the first 300 pages and then ramped up nicely with some fun deceit, murder, flash floods, and discovery. I would have to say my least favorite of the ten I've read by this author.

Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
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
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Around the Year i...: Thunderhead, by Preston Douglas and Lincoln Child 1 7 Mar 27, 2018 08:42PM  
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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
“Perhaps it’s not a matter of unimportant sites, but unimportant archaeologists.” 2 likes
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