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The Rope: An Anna Pigeon Novel [Hardcover]

Nevada Barr
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 17 2012 Anna Pigeon Mysteries (Book 17)
Anna Pigeon's first case—this is the story her fans have been clamoring for...this is where it all starts.
In The Rope, the latest in Nevada Barr’s bestselling novels featuring Anna Pigeon, Nevada Barr gathers together the many strings of Anna’s past and finally reveals the story that her many fans have been long asking for. In 1995 and 35 years old, fresh off the bus from New York City and nursing a broken heart, Anna Pigeon takes a decidedly unglamorous job as a seasonal employee of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. On her day off, Anna goes hiking into the park never to return. Her co-workers think she’s simply moved on—her cabin is cleaned out and her things gone. But Anna herself wakes up, trapped at the bottom of a dry natural well, naked, without supplies and no clear memory of how she found herself in this situation.

As she slowly pieces together her memory, it soon becomes clear that someone has trapped her there, in an inescapable prison, and no one knows that she is even missing. Plunged into a landscape and a plot she is unfit and untrained to handle, Anna Pigeon must muster the courage, determination and will to live that she didn’t even know she still possessed to survive, outwit and triumph.

For those legions of readers who have been entranced over the years by Park Ranger Anna Pigeon’s strength and determination and those who are new to Nevada Barr’s captivating, compelling novels, this is where it all starts.

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Product Description


"We come to see that Baker has written, here as elsewhere, a book of which he celebrates the superfluous details of life....He is an expert craftsman...["The Anthologist"] is a testament to -- indeed an anthology of -- moments when poetry and life touch against each other....[Baker's work] is a rare example of affectionate art, of brilliant writing that manages to collect and display the odds and ends of existence in a way that makes the reader like it and him." -- Stephen Abell, "The Times Literary Supplement" (London) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover


 [Anna Pigeon’s] legion of loyal fans can find out how her story began.”

Library Journal





It’s 1995. Fresh off the bus from New York City, a broken-hearted 35-year-old named Anna Pigeon takes her first job as a park employee: a decidedly unglamorous, seasonal stint at the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. On her day off, she goes hiking alone in the park—never to return. Her co-workers assume she’s moved on since her cabin is cleaned out. But when Anna wakes up—trapped at the bottom of a well, naked, with no supplies and no memory of how she got there—she must draw upon all of her strength, courage, and skill to survive. Because whoever set Anna’s trap isn’t through with her yet…


“EXCITING…takes readers where they’ve wanted to go for years—to Anna’s beginnings as a park ranger.…Misdirection and a rising body count ratchet up the tension.”—Publishers Weekly

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read by Ms July 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Finally found out how Anna became a ranger. Another good read by Ms. Barr
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing June 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was eager to read this "prequel" to the Anna Pigeon books, but found this one just too horrifying, and too much that was beyond my capacity of belief. I was most disappointed, and wished I hadn't read it. All a matter of taste, I suppose, but this one went way too far for my taste.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  462 reviews
142 of 151 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How it all began... Oct. 27 2011
By Divascribe - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Fans of Nevada Barr's long-running series of novels about park ranger Anna Pigeon are in for a slight but enjoyable detour with "The Rope." Instead of advancing the series in time, it takes us back to the beginning, when Anna, in 1995, first gets involved in ranger work as a seasonal employee on the shores of Lake Powell. The novel opens with Pigeon's co-workers wondering why she's disappeared, and some thinking she skedaddled back to New York after finding the work too difficult.

The truth is far different. Anna is lying naked, her head aching from a blow and one arm dislocated, at the bottom of a "jar" -- a smooth-sided canyon that can only be accessed or escaped by a ladder that Anna doesn't have. As the sun beats down, she finds what appears to be a miracle -- a canteen containing water. Anna drinks it and sleeps -- the water was drugged. When she wakes, she finds the word "whore" carved into the flesh of her thigh.

How Anna escapes her prison and unravels the clues to find the identity of her assailant form the basis for a mystery that keeps the reader's interest, whether a first-timer to the series or a fan who's read all of the Pigeon books. Going back to the beginning, The Rope establishes Anna's self-reliant personality and the ways it is tested by her ordeal in the desert and her dealings with others. Supporting characters are also well-defined, as well as details about the not-so-glamorous life of a park ranger. It's a good read.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anna Pigeon, young and raw, in this series prequel Nov. 9 2011
By Jaylia3 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Almost twenty years after Track of the Cat, the first Anna Pigeon mystery, we have the prequel, the missing link filling in the story of Anna's transformation from New York Theater type to national park ranger. In The Rope Anna is just a seasonal employee whose job it is to clean boat-dumped human waste off the shores of Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. It's only a few months following her husband Zach's death and she's still shrouded in grief, avoiding human contact as much as possible, when after solitary hike she finds herself coming back to consciousness at the bottom of a deep, dry well--naked, alone and injured with no idea how she got there.

The plot spools out with Anna gradually figuring out what happened and taking action. Like all Anna Pigeon books this one is layered with National Park details, distinctive characters, and hard-earned philosophy. It's 1995, a time when homosexual National Park employees like Anna's roommate Jenny, an eventual friend and ally, have to stay fairly close to their closets. My favorite series character, Anna's insightful, unshakable sister Molly, is on hand as the voice of sophisticated composure, mostly residing in Anna's brain. This is not my favorite Anna Pigeon mystery, for me nothing can beat Track of the Cat or Blind Descent, but there's a renewed freshness I've been missing from the later books in the series.
103 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great potential but too dark and depressing Nov. 29 2011
By CJ-MO - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Anna Pigeon is mourning the death of her beloved husband Zach and she tries to escape the memories that New York holds by heading west to work in Glen Canyon Recreation Area. So far, the job isn't working out the way Anna expected. Anna doesn't fit in with the other rangers and nobody is surprised when she packs her belongings and leaves. What the others don't know is that Anna didn't leave voluntarily - she has been abducted. Anna wakes up at the bottom of a dry, natural well, but doesn't remember how she got there. She soon realizes it's no accident that she ended up trapped in the "jar" and there is no apparent way out. Now along with fighting to get her memory back she must fight to survive!

"The Rope" is a prequel to all the prior books in the Anna Pigeon series. I have followed this series since the beginning and it's interesting to see young Anna learning "the ropes" about being a park ranger since she is usually the one in charge and teaching others. Besides Anna, her roommate Jenny is the most interesting and only other likeable character in the book. Jenny is strong, but kind, and both her physical and emotional strength becomes an inspiration to Anna later in the book. Unfortunately, almost all of the other characters in the book are repulsive and downright evil, which doesn't make for an enjoyable read. It is an intense and suspenseful story, but the whole book is so dark, there are times it's hard to keep reading because of what Anna is going through.

The book is well-written and has all the usual details expected from the author that make the setting come alive. One enjoyable part is how a young stray skunk fits into the story. In addition, the new character Jenny adds some entertaining and touching moments to the book. The excellent writing and my affection for the character of Anna motivated me to stick with it, but this just isn't the type of book I enjoy reading. Some of Barr's later books in this series are also very dark, but I had hoped this prequel would bring a lighter tone. That is definitely not the case and for me, greatly detracted from what could have been a great book.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Anna Pigeon, You Scare the Hell Out of Me Just the Way You Are." Jan. 2 2012
By DRob - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

I have been a huge fan of Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon novels since Track of the Cat was released in 1993. I have enjoyed the way Anna continues to grow as a character, generally doesn't do stupid stuff (a common failing of female heroines, sad to say) and takes care of herself without having to be rescued. That the stories take place in the USA's national parks is an added bonus, and I especially enjoy reading about parks where I have been. Barr has a realistic view of the natural world and the visitors to the parks. It is sometimes a little jarring-- I will certainly never look at Lake Powell in Arizona the same way after reading about Anna's adventures with the Fecal Queen, cleaning the beaches at Glen Canyon National Park.

In The Rope, Nevada Barr goes back in time to before Anna became a ranger, a summer when she is serving as a seasonal worker at Lake Powell to escape the emptiness that has become her life in New York. Her beloved husband, Zach, has recently died and her world, so recently fulfilled with a job as stage manager for an off Broadway theater, has become meaningless. She wants to bury herself in hard, physical labor, completely away from the artificial canyons and towers of New York City so she spends her days scooping poop in the natural canyons and towers of Arizona.

When we first encounter Anna in this book, she is awakening at the bottom of a sheer hole in sandstone, naked, with a dislocated shoulder, a painful bump on her head and no memory of how she got there. The only thing she knows for sure is that someone else is involved in her captivity because there is a word carved in her upper thigh, a word she knows she did not put there. Before too long, she discovers that she shares her space with a dead body, and her terror increases.

This is not the Anna Pigeon that we have always known. She's a tenderfoot, unwise in the ways of desert survival, unknowing about backwoods hiking techniques. She's woefully out of shape and completely unprepared for the ordeal ahead of her. What she does have, however, is the one thing she thought she didn't care about anymore-- she wants to live.

Blessed with an eye for detail and incredible mental organization, as well as an uncanny ability to read people, thanks to years of watching actors and their audiences, Anna sets about changing herself from a martyred victim to a survivor. We already know she lives since this is a prequel to all of the other novels about her, but in this book she more than survives, she transforms herself.

I found this book impossible to put down. If you are already a fan of Anna Pigeon, you will love this book. If you haven't met her yet, this would be a good book to start with.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caution - it is very dark and sadistic Jan. 30 2012
By Christine Sheppard - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been a Nevada Barr fan since the first book, Track of the Cat, was published and I found it on an "owners Recommendation" at my local bookstore more than 10 years ago. I have collected every one and do not part with them, rereading them over and over. HOWEVER, the last book, set in New Orleans, was too much for me, dealing with child abuse and prostitution on a large scale. And this new book is also too much for me. Usually, the murders are for profit or accidental or one murder mystery which puts Anna in some danger to solve. This one deals with a sadistic psycho who targets Anna directly from the first; descriptions of gang rape scenes; deliberate drugging in order to carve words onto her body. It was hard to take. After, I went back to Track of the Cat to see where the events of this "first" Anna park experience led into her subsequent behavior and could not find any rationale for writing this "first" with such sadistic violence. I hope this is not going to be Barr's new style, or I will lose an author who has brought me so much pleasure over many years and many books.
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