Cover image of "Ice," a  novel about the secret of the Anasazi

Archaeologists call them the Anasazi, a term that means “ancient enemies” of the Navajo. They were the ancestors of today’s Pueblo people, who regard the term as derogatory. They emerged as a distinct culture around the 12th century BCE in what is known today as the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. For more than two thousand years, they lived in that region and in southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico, where they were known as the Mogollon. There, they farmed the rich land atop the mesas and in the river valleys. Then, responding to some unknown threat, they moved into the cliffs below them around 1250 CE. A generation later, they disappeared, leaving behind no evidence of where they may have gone. This, the secret of the Anasazi, is the mystery solved in Kevin Tinto’s ingenious science fiction thriller, Ice.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A discovery to change humanity’s view of itself

For Dr. Leah Andrews, the risk is worth it. She knows that if she’s caught, she might end up in prison. But the possibility that she will uncover a pristine cliff dwelling of the Anasazi is irresistible. The find will rank among the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century. And that’s what drives her into the depths of “an 800-year-old Native American city hidden in the depths of the Gila National Wilderness.”

It was “hard to imagine an odder crew of misfits: ninety pounds of fiery Irish archaeologist, an old Navajo, and a Mexican-American ex-football player” as well as an eager young mountaineer. As a team, they had scaled a sheer cliff to find the city’s well concealed entryway. And what they discovered inside was far more startling than Leah or anyone else might have imagined. It was nothing less than a discovery that would upend humanity’s view of itself and its place in the universe. Yet there was no time to linger inside the vast cavern. Park Rangers, and the threat of prison, were on their trail.

Ice (Ice Trilogy #1 of 3) by Kevin Tinto (2015) 368 pages ★★★★★

Remnants of Anasazi cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde in the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States, a site similar to that in this novel about the secret of the Anasazi
Remnants of Anasazi cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde in the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. Image: Desert USA

Hunting the secret of the Anasazi . . . in Antarctica!

Already, Leah’s quest to understand the “enigmatic cliff-dwellers” had cost Leah her dream job as an archaeologist at the Bureau of Land Management. In a chance meeting, she had discovered that the Secretary of the Interior—her boss’s boss—had illegally appropriated a number of priceless Native American artifacts. She reported the crime, nearly losing the Secretary his job. He then forced her boss to fire Leah and prohibit her entry into any Anasazi lands forever. Now those Park Rangers represented a threat to her freedom. But Leah has unearthed the next clue to the secret of the Anasazi. Because strange red rocks she and her colleagues picked up inside the cavern could only have come from a site deep in Antarctica!

Meanwhile, we meet Leah’s ex-husband, Jack Hobson. A world-class mountaineer, he is climbing Mount Everest with a billionaire client who styles himself an adventurer. Soon, all three would come together as a team in the frozen wastes at the bottom of the world. In a “high-adrenaline, action-packed adventure,” they would learn, at last, the secret of the Anasazi—and nothing would be the same ever after.

About the author

Photo of Kevin Tinto, author of this novel about the secret of the Anasazi
Kevin Tinto. Image: Marin Magazine

Independent author Kevin Tinto has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide of the three volumes in the Ice Trilogy and has won several awards in the process. Born in Wallace, Idaho, Kevin moved many times due to his father’s career as a civil engineer building dams across the United States. Finally, his family settled in Novato, California, in the early 1970s. He graduated from Sacramento State University, majoring in Business Marketing and held a long series of corporate jobs before launching his own marketing firm. Kevin spends his free time high-altitude mountaineering, wreck diving, offshore fishing, cycling across the US, solo motorcycling to Alaska, and much more.

For related reading

I’ve also reviewed Ice Genesis – Ice Trilogy #2 of 3 (The secret of the Anasazi continues to unfold) and Ice Revelation – Ice Trilogy #3 of 3 (The thrilling conclusion to a science fiction trilogy). But don’t read either of them before you read Ice, because my review of the sequels are full of spoilers.

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