(From back cover) In the desolate Iraqi desert, a lone shepherd stumbles across a whale fossil. Initial analysis indicates that it could be a new species—a discovery that could shed light on the evolution debate.
Paleontologist Dr. Katie James is asked to lead an expedition to recover the rest of the fossil before her archrival, Nick Murad, can find it first.
But while she’s there, Katie also uncovers the unexpected—a human fossil so controversial she’s forced to collaborate with Nick to analyze the find before it can be destroyed by a fundamentalist faction of the Iraqi government. Their initial results fly in the face of current scientific theory, and it seems the whole world turns against them, including those they thought they could trust most.
Then the fossil disappears, sending Nick and Katie on a chase that could cost them their reputations, their careers—even their lives.
Wow. I. Loved. This. Book. It had everything that makes a story great – a gripping plot, characters I cared about, just enough humor and wit, and plenty of I-can’t-put-it-down suspense. For me, it was more “Don’t interrupt me while I’m reading this or I might bite your head off.” lol
My favorite excerpt from the book:
(Katie is trying to focus on searching the desert surroundings for signs of the “50-million-year-old whale”. She’s annoyed and distracted by a gun-toting Iraqi guard that she’s secretly nicknamed “Blackbeard” who is following her.)
Katie climbed down into the gulley and followed its meandering course for several minutes before turning to look back. Hassan and Wayne were gone. Only Blackbeard remained. Rifle cradled in his arms, he followed along the edge of the gulley about a hundred feet behind her. Great, just what she needed – an armed guard to protect her from the desert. If a giant heatstroke happened to wander her way, maybe he’d scare it away with his big gun.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with archeology/paleontology, so Fossil Hunter was right up my alley. The author does an excellent job of showing us what a visit to Iraq would be like, from the miserable fiery hot weather to the political and social side. Needless to say, I don’t think I would enjoy a trip to that area very much. But if I did somehow find myself there, I might have an idea of how to survive for a few days out in the hot desert if I happened to be robbed and left to die of heat and starvation by mercenary Iraqi guards. ;-)
One of the most interesting aspects of this book was seeing what the Christian paleontologist might face when it comes to religious prejudice in this field. Despite being told not to discuss her religion with anyone unless she wants to risk losing her job, and being accused of sabotaging a dig for a religious cause, Katie has an admirable attitude. Oh, she’s nervous and afraid to speak up for herself and her faith at times, as we all would be, but her character is strong and spirited and definitely up for the challenge. She was an inspiration to me.
Fossil Hunter has been compared to Indiana Jones because it is chock full of adventure and intrigue. I completely agree and recommend this as an excellent read to both men and women.
I didn’t realize this before, but John B Olson is one of the co-authors of Oxygen and its sequel, The Fifth Man! These books are much loved and highly recommended by me, as well – I re-read them regularly! Now I definitely have to go get all the rest of this author’s books!