A prequel/sequel to Hunting the King. Molly O'Dwyer, now hunting in her own backyard on an island in Boston harbor, uncovers the mystery of her mother's death thirty years before.
All mysteries are built upon lies and secrets, sometimes dormant for a thousand years. No matter how deep they are buried, no matter how many layers if history cover them, they occasionally have the habit of reappearing when least expected.
Archaeologist Molly O'Dwyer, recebtly returned from a controversial dig in the Near East, uncovers two mysteries while diggging on an island in Boston harbor. One is centuries old. The other, decades old, risks awakening her own haunted past.
Molly never knewher father. Her mother, a tenured college professor at 27, died when Molly was four years old. The death, by fire, was so traumatic that Moilly blanked out everything that happened on that terrible night. Neither did she know or understand what illegal acts her mother and two other women, the Angel and the Messiah, were doing out on Gull Island, acts that led someone to commit arson and murder.
Innocent Molly is left to be raised by her aunt and uncle in a strict Catholic tradition and grows up on the campus of Jesuit Mt. Auburn College, nurtured by former friends and colleagues of her mother. Fueled by her passionate love for knowledge and the exciting mysteries of archaeology, she spends much of her academic life in conflict with her spiritual side. Science vs religion. Reason vs faith. Gull Island, to which she is assigned by Father John Lambert, chancellor of Mt. Auburn, turns out to be the undoing of everything and everyone.
Traces of a Life is a powerful, timely and moving story of a young woman battling her own demons, fitting together the disparate, secretive pieces of other peoles' lives, trying to resolve the mystery begun thirty years before by her deceased mother and her unknown father. It is a puzzle that, once put together, could reclaim her past while destroying the lives of those she loves the most.
While Daleth lay dying, Molly O'Dwyer was fighting with the sheets on her bed, tossing and groaning, deep in nightmare.
She was in Egypt again, on a dig in the wastelands west of the Nile. Over the past two weeks she had trudged along the same Saharan path each evening, her sluggish feet sinking into sand, slowing down her eager pace. Ahead lay nirvana. The find of an archaeologist's lifetime. Behind her the tents where her companions lay fast asleep.
Full and brilliant, the moon, the pockmarked face of God, provided her a path in the darkness, lit her way towards an unusual rise in the flat terrain.
Centuries of windblown sand had piled up against a structure. Its creators, long dead, had built a memorial of their existence unintentionally leaving behind the slightest of geological traces that only an archaeologist with catlike eyes could spot in the Egyptian night.
And Molly had such eyes.
Heart racing, she tried to move her feet. Something was buring in the sand only yards away. God, peering over her shoulder, would not have lit her way so clearly, would not have chosen this moment to shine His light on an object barely visible, unless He had a good reason to do so. He would not have chosen her of all the archaeologists who had ever explored this region to make this find unless it was ordained.
But as Molly bent down to gather the ancient artifact in her hand, her feet began to slide deeper into the sand. Ever deeper. Relentlessly. Like quicksand. To her hips. To her chest. She tried screaming for help. As her mouth filed with desert waste she looked up and behind heronly to see the moon, hardly godlike now, mocking her with silence, watching with fascination as the walls of her desert tomb closed around her.
"Help! Mama! Mama!"
Out in the desert her hands clutched for freedom until they, too, were gone. In her bed, in her home, in Boston, Massachusetts, she awoke, as she had each night for the past two weeks, screaming.
While outside the very same moon watched.