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A Thief Of Time Audio Cassette – Abridged, Sep 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Harper Audio; Abridged edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694520969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694520961
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Topping even his highly praised The Blessing Way and Skinwalkers, Hillerman's new novel seamlessly unites drama, pathos and naturally humorous incidents in the continuing story of Navajo life set in the American Southwest. Tribal police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee head a big and skillfully realized cast involved in the disappearance of anthropologist Eleanor Friedman-Bernal. Near Dr. Friedman-Bernal's secret dig, Chee finds the bodies of men who have been stealing the Anasazi cultural relics the anthropologist is dedicated to protecting. Leaphorn makes his way to this dangerous, almost inaccessible site after consulting with Chee and questioning the missing woman's friends, Maxie Davis and her colleague, Randall Elliott. They are also, the detective feels, prickly scientific rivals, a factor that deepens the mystery as does each step on the trail that ends when Leaphorn's mission seems accomplished in an eerie meeting with a mad hermit. But there is a twist in circumstances so suspenseful it stops the reader's breath. Once more, Hillerman's artistry ensures that his latest cannot be easily classified as murder mystery or thrilleror anything except a fine novel. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo, BOMC, QPBC, Detective Book Club and Mysterious Book Club alternates; author tour.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Hillerman's fans have another hit to celebrate, another surprising mysterious adventure. It may be a toss-up as to what draws them most strongly: varied, detailed, and fascinating revelations of contemporary culture; or compelling, complex, and original murder mysteries. Against the backdrop of the puzzle of the long-ago vanished Anasazi people, a complex mystery emerges in which Anglo culture and values pull against those of the Navajo, resulting in a bizarre series of murders solved by the Navajo Tribal Police. Fast, literate, absorbing reading with unique settings and characters, this title is for lovers of adventure as well as mystery.
- Annette Demeritt, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't see what everyone else loves so much about this book. I read it as a freshman in high school for English class, and most of my friends agree that it is bearable, but far from the best thing we've ever read. I mean, the story is so complicated that keeping track of all the information takes away from the fun of reading. It's also a dragged-out plot with characters who, though likable, are not as well-developed as I would have liked. It's hard to picture what Chee, Leaphorn, Eleanor Friedman-Bernal, and everyone else look like because they never really describe them. And despite how much Leaphorn misses his dead wife Emma, he and Chee are hard to describe. They don't have very individual personalities. They're just Navajo Tribal Police investigating the disappearance of Friedman-Bernal and a chain of homicides in and around New Mexico. The whole time, I was never really entertained or thrilled or scared by this book. It seemed like it was only a series of repetitions of Eleanor's disappearance, the Anasazi pots she was looking for, who she bought them from, etc., and was basically about trying to figure out who sold these dumb pots to whom. New people kept getting thrown in all the time, but it all always came back to repeating the first chapter. Even the ridiculously holy Christian traveling preacher, who is Ned Flanders-like, Slick Nakai, didn't add that much to the story. Perhaps I missed something everyone else caught, but I would just not recommend this book. Everything in it is confusing. Even the description of the land, which should be beautiful and fascinating, is hard to keep track of all the names and where everybody is. I didn't think "A Thief of Time" deserved all the rave reviews it got.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Blarg. I wrote my "Thief of Time" review under "Sacred Clowns" forgetting which book I was reviewing. So I'll keep this short. Thief of Time is often considered Hillerman's finest work in his Southwestern Mysteries, but I found it less satisfying than "Blessing Way" and "Sacred Clowns." In brief, Hillerman seemed to lose control of the book about halfway through and fell victim to the lazy writer's prop of killing a character to inject drama into the story. There were just too many deaths in this one and it contributed to a general lack of focus in the later chapters. And, as usual, I cared a great deal less about the Crime and the Criminals than Leaphorn and Chee. Hillerman's crooks and murderers just aren't fleshed out very well. The motivation in this case was an excellent one--but far too psychologically deep to hang on such a paper-thin character.
So there. I love reading Hillerman as much as the next man, but I'm not blind to his faults, the most prominent of which is on glaring display here--he has trouble with the resolutions to his stories, creating a deep, layered mystery, and then wrapping it up in an action movie style that just doesn't fit the earlier parts of his book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hmmmmmmm . . . . . no reviews by anyone who claims to be one of the Dine, and therefore wants to analyze Hillerman on that basis.
Hillerman is a masterful story teller, and in this book brings a heavy load of social correctness into a typical mystery story. The central theme is the systematic looting of Native American sites on behalf of Anglos who are driven by greed for ancient artifacts. In this story, the greed has two faces; one is the monetary reward of finding and selling ancient artifacts for often vast sums of money, and the other is the greed for scholarly fame that is the reward for discovering new and sometimes shocking facts about Native Americans.
Would scholars be so crude ? Well, think of Regents Professor Christie G. Turner of Arizona State University who "proved" the ancestors of the Hopis and Zunis and other pueblo tribes were cannibals. It sure got him a lot of fame and attention.
Would pot hunters be so violent ? Having been trained as a site steward, a volunteer who checks known sites to deter looting, we were warned never to directly challenge anyone engaged in looting a site.
Put the two elements together, and you have the basis of the very plausible plot in this story. Then add the detective work of two Navajo Nation police officers, whose work often seems to be protecting the Navajos from the crimes of non-Navajos, and the result is a good story. Hillerman writes well, with a genuine affection for The People, but even at his best he's still an outsider looking at the intricacies of Navajo culture.
Who am I to judge Hillerman's portrayal of the Navajos ?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Thief of Time" is the eighth book in Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective series, but the first one to make national best seller lists and propel him into bigtime literary stardom.
"Thief" is one of Hillerman's least mysterious mysteries, but one of his most interesting books. He tells of the Anasazi, the ancient ones, an amazing proto-civilization of a thousand years ago that left ruins and potsherds scattered all over the austere, forbidding desert country of the Four Corners area. The mystery deals with ancient pots, the "thieves of time" who dig up graves and sell the pots they find, and of ambitious archaelogists who strive to make their reputations by discovering the secrets of the Anasazi.
Navajo detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee confront several mysteries: a missing archaeologist, a stolen backhoe, and the bodies of two pot thieves. For Leaphorn, the solution to the mystery goes back twenty years into his past to a canyon along the San Juan River in Utah.
Atmosphere is what Hillerman sells in his books and this one has it in abundance. Navajo culture and ceremonies, modern police work, and the treasures of the Anasazi are woven together into a landscape of pure, clean-aired natural beauty. The weather -- thunderstorms, droughts, sudden blizzards, the thunderheads of approaching doom -- is also prominent in Hillerman's novels. His books combine elements of mysteries, westerns, and exotic culture -- and they are really, really worth reading.
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