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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Book Reviews

The genre of archaeological fiction is the vehicle through which many people first get involved in archaeology.  For others it is a way to stay involved.  If you’re an armchair archaeologist or one who has the bad knees from hours of kneeling with your bottom towards the sky – if you’re just getting involved in archaeology or have years of experience – we think you will enjoy Bill Gresens’ reviews of books which highlight the realities and misconceptions of archaeology to take the reader on a journey.  And isn’t that what archaeology is about – taking a journey to the past, discovering lives that we can only dream about, solving mysteries?  We hope you enjoy our book reviews and that they encourage you to take a journey filled with mystery and adventure.  Start your adventure by checking out one of the book listed below.  Enjoy!

Do you have a book you would like to recommend?  Link to e-mail your recommendations or comments.  Please include book title, author, publisher, publication date and your comments.  Share your favorite archaeology fiction book with us today!

Meet MVAC’s Book Reviewer – Bill Gresens

Bill pondering his next book review.

Bill pondering his next book review.

Reviewer and son Nick at 3rd Century BC Elymean site in western Sicily.

Reviewer and son Nick at 3rd Century BC Elymean site in western Sicily.


Bill Gresens was the Grants & Contract Officer at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for thirty some years before recently retiring. He was also a member of the MVAC Board of Directors during its first 20+ years of existence. He hopes to spend much of his retirement life working in the archaeology laboratory during the winter and doing field work during the summers.  He spends much more time than he should reading fiction that uses archaeology as a theme or backdrop.  On a fairly erratic basis he will review the archaeology and fiction books he’s recently read—including the good, the bad and the truly atrocious.

Review Rating

With the October 2004 review, we began rating the books on the basis of one to four trowels; one trowel= don’t bother, to four trowels= run right out to your local book store and buy the hard cover!

Reviews (Book Review Authors)

Ararat by Christopher GoldenApril 1, 2018

The Chalk Pit by Elly GriffithsFebruary 1, 2018

Mythos Christos by Edwin HerbertJanuary 1, 2018

The Baljuna Covenant by Tim PelkeyNovember 1, 2017

The Lazarus Bell by Patrick DunneAugust 1, 2017

Burials by Mary Anna EvansMarch 1, 2017

The Woman in Blue by Elly GriffithsFebruary 1, 2017

The House of Eyes by Kate EllisJanuary 1, 2017

A Carol for the Dead by Patrick DunneDecember 1, 2016

Switcheroo by Aaron ElkinsNovember 1, 2016

Shell Game by Sarah R. ShaberOctober 1, 2016

The Oracle by D.J. NikoAugust 1, 2016

The Death Season by Kate EllisJuly 1, 2016

Catacomb by Sarah WissemanMay 1, 2016

Sunken Dreams by Steven KuehnApril 1, 2016

Lady in the Lake by Jason FossJanuary 1, 2016

The Lifers’ Club by Francis PryorDecember 1, 2015

The Italian Letters by Linda LambertNovember 1, 2015

Isolation by Mary Anna EvansOctober 1, 2015

Land of Marvels by Barry UnsworthSeptember 1, 2015

The Shroud Maker by Kate EllisAugust 1, 2015

Burnt Siena by Sarah WissemanApril 1, 2015

The Blood of Alexander by Tom WildeFebruary 1, 2015

The Riddle of Solomon by D.J. NikoJanuary 1, 2015

The Outcast Dead by Elly GriffithsDecember 1, 2014

The Moses Virus by Jack HylandNovember 1, 2014

Artifact by Gigi PandianOctober 1, 2014

The Tenth Saint by D.J. NikoJune 1, 2014

A Dying Fall by Elly GriffithsFebruary 1, 2014

Rituals by Mary Anna EvansDecember 1, 2013

Tears of the Jaguar by A.J. HartleyNovember 1, 2013

The Shadow Collector by Kate EllisOctober 1, 2013

Beranek’s Stand by Ray M. SchultzeSeptember 1, 2013

The Third Gate by Lincoln ChildFebruary 1, 2013

The Cadaver Game by Kate EllisJanuary 1, 2013

The Lost Goddess by Tom KnoxNovember 1, 2012

The Amun Chamber by Daniel LestonAugust 1, 2012

Toward the Gleam by T.M. DoranJune 1, 2012

Plunder by Mary Anna EvansMay 1, 2012

Quest by David WoodMarch 1, 2012

The Second Messiah by Glenn MeadeFebruary 1, 2012

The Jackal Man by Kate EllisNovember 1, 2011

The Ark by Boyd MorrisonOctober 1, 2011

The Janus Stone by Elly GriffithsSeptember 1, 2011

The Keepsake by Tess GerritsenAugust 1, 2011

The Flesh Tailor by Kate EllisApril 1, 2011

Angel of Death by Roy LewisFebruary 1, 2011

Fieldwork by Mischa BerlinskiJanuary 1, 2011

A Darker God by Barbara CleverlyNovember 1, 2010

Strangers by Mary Anna EvansOctober 1, 2010

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth PetersSeptember 1, 2010

Hidden Oasis by Paul SussmanJuly 1, 2010

Cibola by David WoodApril 1, 2010

Lyn Hamilton by Bill GresensMarch 1, 2010

Song of the Tides by Tom JosephDecember 1, 2009

The Genesis Secret by Tom KnoxNovember 1, 2009

The Alexander Cipher by Will AdamsSeptember 1, 2009

Floodgates by Mary Anna EvansAugust 1, 2009

Dragon Bones by Lisa SeeMarch 1, 2009

The Blood Pit by Kate EllisJanuary 1, 2009

Uneasy Relations by Aaron ElkinsDecember 1, 2008

The Shining Skull by Kate EllisNovember 1, 2008

Findings by Mary Anna EvansJuly 1, 2008

Crusader Gold by David GibbinsMarch 1, 2008

The Raven’s Pool by Deborah CannonFebruary 1, 2008

Chasing Eden by S.L. LinneaDecember 1, 2007

No Certain Rest by Jim LehrerSeptember 1, 2007

A Dark Music by Robert FroeseJuly 1, 2007

Effigies by Mary Anna EvansJune 1, 2007

Carved in Bone by Jefferson BassApril 1, 2007

A Rumor of Bones by Beverly ConnorDecember 1, 2006

The Orkney Scroll by Lyn HamiltonOctober 1, 2006

The Mask of Atreus by A.J. HartleySeptember 1, 2006

The Last Cato by Matilde AsensiJune 1, 2006

Tomb Seven by Gene SnyderApril 1, 2006

The Bog by Michael TalbotMarch 1, 2006

Stolen Souls by Jeffrey SackettFebruary 1, 2006

Frozen by Jay BonansingaJanuary 1, 2006

Bound for Eternity by Sarah WissemanDecember 1, 2005

Cross Bones by Kathy ReichsNovember 1, 2005

The Moai Murders by Lyn HamiltonSeptember 1, 2005

Relics by Mary Anna EvansAugust 1, 2005

The Codex by Douglas PrestonJuly 1, 2005

The Shape-Shifter by Roy LewisFebruary 1, 2005

Lake of Sorrows by Erin HartJanuary 1, 2005

Field of Stones by Marilyn DunganNovember 1, 2004

The Stone Circle by Gary GoshgarianOctober 1, 2004

The Plague Maiden by Kate EllisSeptember 1, 2004

Monday Mourning by Kathy ReichsAugust 1, 2004

Good Blood by Aaron ElkinsMarch 1, 2004

One Grave Too Many by Beverly ConnorFebruary 1, 2004

Artifacts by Mary Anna EvansDecember 1, 2003

The Merchant’s House by Kate EllisNovember 1, 2003

Past Malice by Dana CameronSeptember 1, 2003

Haunted Ground by Erin HartAugust 1, 2003

The Menorah Men by Lionel DavidsonFebruary 1, 2003

Grave Consequences by Dana CameronJanuary 1, 2003

The Return by Bentley LittleDecember 1, 2002

Burial Ground by Malcolm ShumanOctober 1, 2002

Grave Secrets by Kathy ReichsSeptember 1, 2002

The Lost Testament by Alan GoldJune 1, 2002

The Cross Bearer by Roy LewisFebruary 1, 2002

Dead Secret by Roy LewisJanuary 1, 2002

Skeleton Dance by Aaron ElkinsDecember 1, 2001

The Last Mayan by Malcolm ShumanNovember 1, 2001

The Eye of Horus by Carol ThurstonOctober 1, 2001

Fatal Voyage by Kathy ReichsSeptember 1, 2001

Temple by Matt ReillyApril 1, 2001