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Old Bones

(Nora Kelly #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  10,971 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews
The first in the groundbreaking Nora Kelly series from #1 bestselling authors Preston & Child blends the legend of the Donner party with a riveting suspense tale, taking the dynamic duo's work to new heights.

Nora Kelly, a young but successful curator with a series of important excavations already under her belt, is approached by the handsome Historian, Clive Benton, to le
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 20th 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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Amy This story is not historically accurate except for the knowledge that there was a Donner Party. There was no "lost camp," and no expedition to find it…moreThis story is not historically accurate except for the knowledge that there was a Donner Party. There was no "lost camp," and no expedition to find it. There was no treasure, and the people whose remains were found were not part of the Donner Party. This is a very engaging work of fiction. If you want to know about the Donner Party there are many non-fiction accounts available.(less)
Sarah She was first introduced in Thunderhead. Her first appearance in the Pendergast series was in The Cabinet of Curiosities.

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Matthew by: Ginger
A new direction in the Pendergast-verse (Pender-verse? PU . . . Nah, can't be Pee-eew!) I am happy to report that the spinoff is a success! Houston, we have no problems! This book is not whack! Skeptics need not apply! This is the REAL DEAL!

I was riveted. The whole story is great and I did not want to put it down. I was reading this at work during my lunch break and when I went to my post-lunch meetings everyone got an earful about how annoyed I was that I had to stop reading to go to their lous
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
You all remember the horrific tragedy revolving around the Donner family?
The travelers who resorted to cannibalism after being stranded in the High Sierra mountains. What if some of the members of this doomed journey left something up there in the mountains? What if it is just waiting to be discovered?

Nora Kelly is an extremely successful archaeologist, she is approached by a historian who has a grand idea! He wants Nora to join him and lead an expedition into the Sierras. To the sight of the D
Diane S ☔
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
I always look forward to the Pendergast novels, but this story belongs to two women, who though they have worked with Pendergast before, have never actually met. Nora, is an archiologist, who is asked to undertake a very unusual dig. Corrie, is a newly minted FBI agent, undertaking her first case. A case that will bring her to Nora's dig, seeking answers.

Okay, so this book has the lost camp of the Donner party, cannibalism, a secret stash of gold, grave robbers, and some important people who tur
"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." (William Shakespeare)

And speaking of bones.....

Let's bring out our expert. Dr. Nora Kelly is one archaeologist on a grand scale with impeccable credentials. She's based in Sante Fe and has had quite the experience unearthing bones and such from particular digs through the Sante Fe Archaeological Institute. But this time it's gonna be different from anything she's been associated with before. Very different.

Dr. Cl
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, 2019
Fantastic!! 5 STARS!

Old Bones is a new series by Preston & Child which follows Nora Kelly on an epic expedition in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the doomed Donner Party.

Old Bones starts off with Dr. Clive Benton finding a long lost dairy of Tamsen Donner. Tamsen tells of the last days of the Donner Party and the groups that split from their group, including the Lost Camp.

Benton goes to Nora and the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to propose an expedition to find the Lost Camp along with lost
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First, I have to tell you, one of my majors in undergrad was anthropology, and I am fascinated by archaeology. I think mysteries and archaeology go hand in hand, and this one has psychological thriller elements sprinkled in as well. Old Bones is Nora Kelly’s exciting new series, and she’s a curator. Clive Benton, a historian, invites her on an expedition in search of the Donner Party camp. Remember that story? Captivating, right? Nora and Clive have no idea just how dangerous their search will p ...more
There are few reviews that are hard to write for me but this is one of them.

Three stars for me is a “better than okay but less than great” read (cuz I’m a stingy bookworm who rarely parts with a five star rating).

This should have been a 4-star book given the great reading experiences these authors have delivered to me in the past. Two of my favorite featured characters from past entries in the Pendergast series should have thrilled this reader! It should have been a real page turner handled by
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Hicks
My review of OLD BONES can be found at High Fever Books.

When word landed that Nora Kelly, a character that made her solo debut in 1999’s Thunderhead and has since been a recurring character in several of the authors’ Pendergast novels, was to finally get a series centering her front and proper I was pretty damn enthused. Given the propensity for the authors to pack in plenty of scientific rigor, twisty mysteries, and loads of adventure, I figured this was going to be some tasty brain candy. Unfo
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

It's pure serendipity that I picked this up right after reading White Fire, since both follow Pendergast's young protege Corrie Swanson. Now, she's a fully fledged FBI agent, if still in her first two probationary years, and her hesitant attempts to run her first investigation are at times helped or hindered by her take no shit attitude. She's changed enough that she's become a much more appealing character to follow, but her anger still gets her in trouble. Especially when up against a
Every bit as good as I’d expected it would be, and I hope this is just the beginning of another long series of books from these authors.
Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Preston & Child have done it again! I've been super excited about this spinoff to the Pendergast series since I read the news a few months ago. For those who don't know, I've been following Pendergast on his adventures for a good 15 years, and absolutely love the world and cast that Preston & Child have created. Of course, I was elated to find out that two of my favorite secondary cast members wer
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-series
Loved it! Everything I've come to expect from the writing team of Preston and Child!

(Major fan here, read their entire Pendergast series.)

Nora Kelly, a young archaeologist, is asked to head an expedition in search of one of the 'lost camps' of the Donner Party Expedition, that infamous group which got lost on the way to California, got trapped in a series of snowstorms, and in order to survive, resorted to cannibalism. It's become an almost mythic tale in American history, full of pathos and tra
Elizabeth A
Sep 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019, audio
I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Cynthia Farrell.

Let me start by saying that I'm a fan of the Pendergast series written by this duo, so when I saw they were starting a new series with a woman lead, I was intrigued. But ...

Okay, so there's a really fun setup that involves the Donner Party, and if you have yet to read any nonfiction about that, ignore this book and start there. Other than the basic facts, everything here about the Donner Party is fiction - which I was on board wit
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson get their own book after appearing in various books of Agent Pendergast. This is not a team-up book. The characters don't even meet until halfway through. And you needn't have had read all of the other Pendergast novels first to read this series. This is completely stand alone. Although you may want to have read up to White Fire if it's important to you to have read all of their previous appearances in order.

Nora Kelly is an archaeologist in the Southwest. She's app
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this to be a good story and I liked the way it wrapped up. There were some bits about the archaeological dig that weren't all that interesting to me and some personality quirks I wasn't a huge fan of, but overall I enjoyed it enough to check out the next book in the series. I liked Nora Kelly and I'm hoping that Corrie Swanson will have more self-confidence after gaining some experience. I think I'll go back to the Pendergast series first to read the books Nora & Corrie were introduced i ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of the Agent Pendergast novels by Lincoln & Child. The stories are always suspenseful and creepy-cool. That's why I jumped right on this first novel in a new spin-off series featuring Nora Kelly. Kelly appears in two prior Pendergast novels and as the main character in a prior stand alone novel, Thunderhead.

The Basics: Kelly is an archaeologist and museum curator. She is approached by historian Dr. Clive Benton about a lost camp site of the Donner Party. Promising the chance to exc
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Is there anything more frustrating than a book that just completely falls apart at the end?

Old Bones is the start of a new series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast through five novels, and featuring Corrie Swanson, the junior FBI agent who was mentored by Pendergast through five novels of her own. It's a story of murder, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure, based on the true story of the tragic Donner Party.

For the fir
Bam cooks the books ;-)
A new thriller series from Preston and Child features two characters from Pendergast books: archaeologist Nora Kelly and fledgling FBI Corrine Swanson.

Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp where several of the Donner Party stayed after breaking off from the main party and died from starvation; her boss agrees to help fund the work when she learns there might be a fortune in gold coins hidden there.

FBI agent Swanson is looking into grave-robbing on federal land
A new series by mesieurs Preston & Child does tickle my interest, even if the Gideon Crewe series felt more like a movie series with Tom Cruise in mind. I never really warmed to this series so that made me somehow cautious and reign in my enthusiasm

This new series starting Nora Kelly who did participate in some Pendergast books find her starting a archaeological dig concerning a bit Americana namely the lost camp of the Donner Party, a group of early colonist that got snowed in and decided from
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
The start of a new series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast in five novels. Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp of the tragic Donner Party (a true story of murder, starvation, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure). Nora's boss and the Institute are interested in part because of sharing in the potential recovery of a fortune in gold coins. Meanwhile, Corrie Swanson, now a junior FBI a ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For a second or two, I considered giving this book - the start of a new series by the authors of one of my other favorite series - four stars with the expectation that the next one will be better. But then I remembered when, as a student, how much I hated teachers who refused to give papers an A because that "doesn't leave room for improvement" (fortunately, those nitwits were few and far between). So here's my take: No matter what comes next, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and give it top marks. ...more
Likable but somewhat disappointing tale from P&C about the search for the mythical "Lost Camp" of the infamous Donner Party, who resorted to cannibalism after getting lost on the trails and encountering massive snowstorms and cold weather. Missing gold coins and murders relating to a particular member of the party figure into the adventure. Two prior characters from P&C books, Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson, are key players in the story. Swanson is a bit less annoying here then she was in prior b ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child have begun a new series, an offshoot from their much-loved Pendergast books. Leading this new series in “Old Bones” is Nora Kelly formerly of New York City but relocated to Santa Fe after the death of her husband in a case outlined in an earlier Pendergast novel. She is working as a field archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, a well respected member of her profession.

She is approached by an historian with tangential links to the infamous Donner P
 Reading Reindeer Cobwebbed
I read this in one day, totally enthralled. OLD BONES is the first in the new Nora Kelly series. Long-time fans of Preston and Child's Agent Pendergast Series will remember the feisty and strong-willed Nora as a museum curator and archaeologist. Now working in Santa Fe, Nora is approached by a historian who has discovered a long-lost diary by the wife of George Donner, of the tragic Donner Party. He persuades the Institute at which Nora is employed to search for the "Lost Camp," an offshoot of t ...more
Jeff Dickison
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent archaeological thriller/mystery. College group finds and explores parts of the Donner Expedition. Murder and mayhem insue. Good action, nice plotting. Well worth your time. Recommended.
Stewart Tame
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
So Preston and Child are attempting to get a new series going now that the Gideon Crew books are done. Longtime P&C fans will be happy to see the return of Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson. Although both have appeared previously in the Pendergast novels, this series is designed to be newbie friendly. All you really need to know is that Nora is an archaeologist and Corrie is a newly-minted FBI agent.

Nora is drawn into the story’s events when Clive Benton, a historian and a descendant of one of the
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Old Bones is delightful with a touch of frustrating.

We’re going to talk frustrating first. The book is Pendergast-adjacent. It’s not a Pendergast book, though it features characters from his world. I won’t tell you if he ever does or doesn’t make a cameo in the book. I can just tell you that, if you’re a long time reader of the series, it kind of has the feel of an almost-Pendergast novel.

That being said, though, it’s actually very good and I do hope that the authors keep up with the Pendergast
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid 3.5 rounded up
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, authors of the captivatingly addictive FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast series, kick off their Nora Kelly series with Old Bones. In addition to Dr. Nora Kelly, who made several appearances in previous Pendergast adventures, most notably Thunderhead and The Cabinet of Curiosities, Old Bones also features newly minted FBI Special Agent Corrinne Swanson, who previously appeared in Still Life With Crows and White Fire.

The hook to Old Bones is the infamo
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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

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