Since joining forces, Preston and Child have hit pay dirt, especially with 1995’s wild and woolly Relic (subsequently filmed as an Alien clone, with a monster loose in the basement of Chicago’s Field Museum); its follow-ups, Mount Dragon (1996) and Reliquary (1997); and the unstoppably thrilling Riptide (1998). Their latest focuses on the Anasazi Indians’ Quivira, the legendary Lost City of Gold in Utah. Sixteen years ago, archaeologist Nora Kelly’s father vanished among southeastern Utah’s red-rock canyons. Now, when a 16-year-old letter from her father to her mother weirdly lands at her feet, Nora is led to believe that her father actually found Quivira, and she mounts an expedition into the canyons hoping to discover some meaning behind his disappearance somewhere west of the Kaiparowits Plateau. An orbiting Jet Propulsion Lab shuttle imager, which maps the earth and can see through 30 feet of sand to locate lost roads, reveals the hand-and-toe trail used by her father. Her group follows a horrifyingly dangerous trail and eventually finds the perfectly preserved lost city, one of the great archaeological discoveries, described here fascinatingly. But bad news strikes. Horses are gutted. Then come the monstrous skinwalkers, masked beasts that rip and tear. Spellbinding as ever.