MESA VERDE THUNDER
THE RAVEN CLAN . . . 450 A.D. Animus Valley, Northwestern New Mexico . . . in a time of starvation The People set out upon a perilous journey to find a mystical mesa where hope can be reborn but also where death and deep snows lay silent in waiting.
ECHATA . . . a bold and desperate Anasazi leader, sees a vision of RAVEN and must take his starving people north knowing that they can never return to a brother that has sworn to kill him.
LI-TIA . . . a fierce Chacoan medicine woman risks everything to save a banished mother and deformed infant from a terrible stoning . . . but by so doing, is forever branded as an emeny and a . . . witch.
LISA CANNADAY . . . married to a dreamer and archaeologist who must race to the fabulous new Mesa Verde discovery and unlock its treasures before it is plundered and its secrets are forever lost. But it is she who is destined to ignite the world with her fabulous stories of the Ancient Ones based on one magnificent petroglyph.
STORYTELLER . . . who only wanted to be a prosperous jeweler and trader of silver, gold and turquoise but who is forced to become the one who writes the story of his Ancient People with his blood and tears in stone.
From sacred Chaco Canyon to Cliff Palace to a sprawling National Park . . . from a prehistoric people to the mystics and builders of Mesa Verde and finally to those that would plunder its ancient artifacts for fabulous wealth . . . comes an epic tale of love, hope, sacrifice and courage told in MESA VERDE THUNDER.
—Preface of Mesa Verde Thunder by Gary McCarthy
Since 1888 when the first white man discovered the ancient kivas, cliff and mesa-top dwellings of Mesa Verde in Southwestern Colorado, they have been a source of great wonder. Mesa Verde National Park is the largest archeological preserve in the United States and contains almost 4,700 sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings. Archaeologists have called these people Anasazi, from the Navajo word which means "ancient". Today, many prefer to call these people Ancestral Puebloans which reflects their modern descendents, primarily the Hopi and Zuni. In this heavily researched novel, I chose to use both terms. We now know that Mesa Verde was once the center of the great northern San Juan Anasazi, a thriving pre-Puebloan culture which existed for more than one thousand years.
It is estimated that the magnificent cliff dwellings themselves were constructed during the Classic Period from around 1100 AD andthat they were abandoned just before 1300 AD for reasons that archaeologists and scientists still vigorously debate. Why did so many of the ancient ones finally move down from the mesa tops to build these great monuments and cities of stone? And why, after almost two hundred years of perilous construction, did the Anasazi mysteriously abandon them? And finally, where did they all go?
So spectacular are these cliff dwellings and the remains of this ancient and highly evolved civilization that, in September of 1978, the World Heritage Convention of the United Nations selected Mesa Verde National Park to be a WORLD HERITAGE CULTURAL SITE. This is a great honor because Mesa Verde was one of the first seven sites selected in the world for this esteemed cultural recognition.
I have chosen CLIFF PALACE, Mesa Verde National Park's grandest of all cliff dwellings as the focal setting of my pre-Puebloan Anasazi saga. And while there is still a great deal to learn about those industrious peoples, enough has been discovered to create the kind of characters who would have lived in and around CLIFF PALACE across the unfolding of many challenging centuries.