Saturday, November 1, 2008
Stonecypher Road by Nancy and Warren Longwell
Stonecypher Road by Nancy and Warren Longwell
Ida Jo Canfield, having come from childhood poverty, has now returned to her old hometown to care for a dying mother. When her husband, Morris, returns from a week of speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats, he tells of a mysterious artifact found half-buried in a remote corner of the vast salt desert a replica of a human skull carved in crystal. Using a computer access at the small local public library, he searches the Internet for possible clues to the origin and history of the relic, unaware that powerful government supercomputers are at work screening Web traffic to look for the same thing. Following their own instincts and ideas, Morris and Ida Jo undertake a quest to decode information ingeniously hidden within their crystal relic, even as they try to decide on its proper disposition. They have now set themselves on a journey that will take them to the great museums of Manhattan, and deep under New York City into abandoned tunnels where the mole people give them a taste of first contact with a hidden society. Nancy and Warren Longwell have drawn on their 30 years of global travel and high-adventure exploration to write a stunning and literate debut novel that always keeps the reader wondering how much of the story might be true.
About the Author
Nancy and Warren Longwell have spent their lifetime together searching for new ways to expand their limits. They have paddled their own canoe down Africa's crocodile-infested Zambezi River, and climbed towering ice walls in British Columbia and Alaska. In the course of three global circumnavigations, they sailed for months at a time on working freighter ships, and once crewed on an America's Cup yacht. Travel, they decided, would be their higher education, and they spent their semesters trekking to holy shrines at Machu Picchu and Rangoon and along China's Great at allWall. Warren has raced on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and Nancy has run the New York Marathon, and together they have gone underwater through a subterranean river in Mexico's Yucatan. Off the coast of Vanuatu (long before Vanuatu became famous on reality television) they tried their hand at underwater archeology on the submerged hulk of a steel warship, then later recovered a museum-quality artifact! in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. They have "flown" in a shuttle simulator at NASA's Houston space facility, and crossed four continents by rail. All this has given them material for numerous published magazine articles, but it has taken until now for them to realize their dream of authoring a published novel. Stonecypher Road marks their stunning and literate debut.
Claimed from Mini Book Expo
The book arrived and I looked at the cover and it was awful. Not appealing at all...garish colours with childlike graphics that gave you a false negative sense of the book...but then I started to read the book and settled in.
I have had so many good books to read and review lately that I have been expecting to eventually come across one that I would have to force myself to finish. This is NOT that book. This book was an easy and interesting read and proof of the old adage to 'not judge a book by it's cover'.
The husband and wife dynamic of Ida Jo and her mate Morris epitomise the happy grounded couple who enjoy each other's company. They are best friends and continue to learn new facets to each other's personality and past which keeps the mystery alive and makes their lives more interesting. They have fun together and the story flows because of that.
The book revolves around the finding of a carved crystal skull...apparently only the 13th found ever. Morris finds this skull in a chance out of the way incident as he races at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and he sees it glinting in the sun. Completely intrigued by this find he starts to search online for information about it and he unwittingly triggers an online policing system that is activated when certain keywords and specific sites are visited. A secret section of the government is in charge of monitoring this system.
Ida Jo was not with Morris when he found the skull as she was caring for her dying mother in her hometown but he came to be with her during her mother's last days to comfort and provide solace to her.
Their adventures take them from Boulder Colorado to Nova Scotia Canada and back down to the underground tunnels of New York City to meet the mole people before they manage to rid themselves of this dangerous artifact but not before they learn it's secret.
The dialogue is witty and clever and their relationship seems genuine and not forced or fake which makes this book a pleasure to read.
3.5 stars out of 5