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The Bone Hunters by Robert J. Mrazek
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Berkley Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451468734
Date: 01 December 2015 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

The Bone Hunters is an archeological action and adventure story involving the search for the historic fossil known as the Peking Man. In addition to action and adventure, the plot involves international intrigue between the US and China, and a group of great characters. Robert Mrazek is a great author that writes action superbly.

Do you remember learning about the Peking Man in grade school? The action in The Bone Hunters surrounds a modern search for the Peking Man. Ira Dusenbury, the National Security Advisor to the US President, calls on his previous associate, Dr. Barnaby Fincham, to lead a search for the Peking Man.

Fincham is a professor of Norse archeology at Harvard University and had worked for Dusenbury on other archeological projects. Dusenbury explains that there is a religious movement in China that believes the Peking Man, the first known human being to stand erect and use tools, was the original deity that started the human race. The Chinese government has assigned its own paramilitary group to find the Peking Man as well.

There is one major problem. The Peking Man mysteriously disappeared in the early 1940s. Dusenbury has a different motive. He wants Fincham to find the Peking Man first so that the US can introduce him to his followers, and give the ruling class in China something to focus on other than destroying the US. Fincham's first task is to round up his former student archeologist Dr. Alexandra "Lexy" Vaughan and retired Air Force General Steven Macaulay, who had both worked with him on a previous project for Dusenbury. Lexy and Macaulay had developed a romance during the previous adventure but had since split up. Fincham tracks them down where Macauley is working as a pilot in the Caribbean, during a dramatic rescue of Macauley from a plane crash. That is the first big adventure of The Bone Hunters.

Through a little resourcefulness and using Dusenbury's resources in the federal government, Fincham and his team are able to find the last surviving US soldier of the convoy that attempted to rescue the Peking Man in the 1940s before it disappeared (the Peking Man was being studied at a university in China when the Japanese invaded China in 1941). The encounter with the WWII soldier is the second big adventure of The Bone Hunters as the Chinese paramilitary group gets there at the same time. The rest of The Bone Hunters is a great chase between the two groups and is lots of fun to read.

I reviewed a previous novel by Robert Mrazek, entitled Valhalla. I fell in love with the characters and with Mrazek's style right away. He describes the action so succinctly that I was able to visualize every move. Fincham, as a character, is also very funny. He is physically a large man, with an aloof and cynical personality that adds humor between the action. Steven Macauley is a man that thrives on action and Lexy is smart, attractive, and resourceful. The Chinese characters also add to the story, as they have personal and cultural issues intertwined with the hunting and killing they perform in their search for the Peking Man, and in executing his religious followers in China. There are other minor characters that are also very interesting. I had trouble putting the book down.

I highly recommend The Bone Hunters. Mrazek left room in the story for a sequel and I can't wait to read the next book.

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