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Tears of the Jaguar [Kindle Edition]

A.J. Hartley
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
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Book Description

Six months ago, museum curator Deborah Miller had never heard of Ek Balam, an obscure Mayan archaeological site known for its carved figures. Now here she is, having traded Atlanta’s urban jungle for a remote village in Mexico’s Yucatan, tasked with overseeing Ek Balam’s excavation. But when a sudden rainstorm causes a partial collapse at the site, an unexpected treasure is unearthed: a collection of rough-cut rubies hidden from the world for hundreds of years—and very out-of-place in the Yucatan. It is a find of immeasurable value, one that Deborah vows to protect—and yet is powerless to prevent from being stolen soon after its discovery. Determined to retrieve the stones, she sets out to trace their complex history across four centuries and two continents, from Mexico to northern England where the jewels once played a harrowing role in the Lancashire witch trials of 1612. But Deborah is not the only one searching for the stones; close on her heels are archaeologists, occultists, and one very determined arms dealer, all of whom will stop at nothing, not even murder, to claim the prize for themselves.


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hartley, whose thrillers usually contain an element of historical mystery, brings back museum curator Deborah Miller, this time sending her to Ek Balam, site of a Mayan pyramid, where she begins a globe-trotting quest to find the truth about ancient rubies rumored to possess magical properties. Rich in history and adventure, the book should appeal to fans of the author’s previous novels as well as genre fans who can’t get their fill of ancient mysteries. The prose is a little raw in places, but it would take a lot of work to let that dampen one’s enjoyment of the book, and the writing is definitely way more reader-friendly than, say, Dan Brown’s too-often clunky prose. And Miller is such a strong, likable protagonist that it’s hard to take our eyes off her long enough to notice any stylistic flaws. --David Pitt

About the Author

A. J. Hartley is a native of Lancashire, England, and was born near the town where the witch trials featured in Tears of the Jaguar occurred four hundred years ago. He lived in Japan for several years and traveled extensively throughout southern and eastern Asia before moving to the United States for graduate school. After earning his Ph.D. from Boston University, he taught college-level Shakespeare in Georgia and North Carolina. Today he works as a dramaturg, director, theater historian, and theorist in Renaissance drama at UNC-Charlotte, where he holds the Robinson Chair of Shakespeare Studies. He has written fiction for twenty years and is the author of Macbeth, a Novel with David Hewson, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact, Act of Will, Will Power, The Mask of Atreus, On the Fifth Day, and What Time Devours.


Product Details

  • File Size: 750 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (September 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007CJUA84
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,164 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Archaeological Thriller August 28, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Tears of the Jaguar" is a decent archaeological thriller. It suffers from what many similar novels face: too much circling around multi-threaded plot points to give any of the sub-plots, and more importantly any of the characters, real depth and development.

I enjoyed the core mystery that starts at an archaeological dig in the Yucatan, swings across the pond to England, before heading back to Mexico. Archaeologists discover a previously hidden chamber beneath a reconstructed pyramid at Ek Balam (a real site that's not far from Chichen Itza). Certain objects are discovered and then stolen...and off goes our plot to uncover who took the items, why, and what the items actually are.

In the early chapters, author A.J. Hartley shows flashes of real character insight, but too quickly does he turn to cliche and jaded story elements. The characters that are jerks, start off jerky and end jerky. The conflicted protagonist starts off kind of confused and wishy-washy and doesn't progress much throughout the story. The distinct components that give a character life are all there. It's just that there's no subtly in their introduction, and no real growth or change in the qualities by the end of the book.

Hartley does return a few times to themes tied to cultural heritage. Laws protect archaeological discoveries on behalf of the country in which they are found, not the finder. But what does a poor rural Maya care whether a find is protected for his country... especially when an object can be sold for many times ones annual wage. Likewise, Hartley touches on cultural bias as one Hispanic Mexican opines on his own bigoted perspective of the Maya Mexicans who live near the dig at Ek Balam.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC! I didn't want to put it down! August 16, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Without a doubt, TEARS OF THE JAGUAR has got to be one of the best books I have read of late. From the get-go, it sucked me and and I had a really hard time putting it down.

A fast-paced page turner that leads off in directions I never would have imagined. And the best part is, it all made sense! With so many twists and turns and apparently unrelated things, I was beginning to wonder how it was all going to tie together, but author A.J. Hartley does a wonderful job of logically tying up all the loose ends.

Well-developed characters, running the gambit from truly likable to sleazy bad-guys--all of them easy to imagine and very believable. Excellent, realistic dialogue. Well-described and easy to picture locations and backdrops.

430 pages whizzed by so fast, that I managed to read the entire book in about 10 hours total reading time. As I said, I didn't want to put it down--doing so only because I had to get some sleep AND go to work!

Lots of action and adventure, mystery and suspense, twists and turns. If there was any profanity (I don't think there was), I never noticed it. I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK!

An easy to give FIVE STAR rating for TEARS OF THE JAGUAR. If you're looking for an exciting, well-written, action-adventure yarn with realistic characters and a good dose of mystery thrown in, I'm sure you'll enjoy this book as much as I did!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential is there February 1, 2013
Format:MP3 CD
Tears of the Jaguar by A.J. Hartley is a thriller is the most mundane sense of the word. Sure there are action sequences that keep you reading, but there just seems to be missing something (which I'll get into a little bit later).

The story revolves around Deborah Miller, the site supervisor at a Mayan archeological dig, and delves into the point of view of almost every character in the book at some point, even a cabby at one point. The action starts after a huge storm hits the site and opens up an underground cavern where the dig team discovers jewels, bones, and other grave goods.

After the discovery, it seems like all hell breaks loose. Everyone and their mother are interested in the rubies that were discovered. The tomb gets robbed, there are all sorts of nefarious characters running amok, and then Eustachio, the dig site's foreman gets killed in a ritualistic and bloody manner. It's after the robbery that things just totally start going haywire. There's so much going on, which is usually a good thing.If you throw lots of clues at your readers, and you leave them guessing. Unfortunately, for Tears, not a single one of these possibilities are just red herrings. Some of the suspicious parties involved are crooked archeologists, CIA, MI5, gun runners, distraught parents, a sociopath, a poor graduate student who just wants to get laid, and of course, Deborah--the only person who's just interested in the story and finding out the truth behind the rubies and the bones.

So what's missing? Discretion, focus, and cohesion. The story line is everywhere.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating, Imaginative Read August 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I initially was attracted by this book's use of the Maya ruins of Ek Balam. I am an author who frequently uses historical settings/elements myself, although I write supernatural (often what is termed Lovecraftian) fiction. I rarely read mysteries, but I'm glad I read this one.

The story is not confined to the Maya setting, but extends to Great Britain and the monarchy in the 1600s, then on to tales of the Lancashire witches! The author combines several disparate historical accounts, blending them together smoothly to create an excellent narrative full of unexpected twists and surprises.

It is very difficult to intertwine historical facts with imaginative fiction, as I know first hand. Authors often dwell far too long on the historical background, which can bog down the narrative. Mr. Hartley doesn't do that here. He uses the historical accounts to enhance the imaginative elements of the story and help keep things rolling at a good pace. I read the over-400-page book in just four nights as the story kept me guessing and eager to find out what would happen next.

I recommend this book highly!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wow
I had read this author before, but enjoyed this book better by far. Hope this author has written others. fascinating !
Published 25 days ago by lc
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Good book with believable characters and a good storyline..
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery
Well written book informative and mysterious good
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great! another book that keeps me up all night reading! Worth the groggy mornings though!
Published 2 months ago by Vicki Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book a great deal
I enjoyed this book a great deal. I love history and thought the author mingled the archaeology, history, action, and character development together in a really enjoyable manner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Bauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
Felt it was an excellent read. Enjoyed the setting and the archeological background. Interested in the heroin's headlong dashes into probable danger with little/no sense of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mari43
4.0 out of 5 stars tightly plotted, and surprisingly engaging
I chose this book at random, looking for a thriller, and discovered a real page-turner with a meaty plot, anchored in history and sporting a strong (and mildly neurotic) female... Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. D. Van Doren
2.0 out of 5 stars Writing style lacks
This sounded like a great story, and in truth the idea and theme is appreciated; but the writing style seemed under developed and the grammar at a "high-school" level. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LCNanny
4.0 out of 5 stars Archaeology and Mystery
Archaeology and mystery, what more could a reader want. I enjoyed the plot, the way Hartley wove elements from the history of two countries and eras into one story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by hlheadrick
1.0 out of 5 stars Very weak plot
Details are alright but there is no much to go on about. Might serve as the plot for a short story ...
Published 5 months ago by Samuel Langhorne Clemens
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More About the Author

Welcome to my Amazon home!

Everyone always tells writers that the best way to be successful is to choose what kind of book you most like to write and then produce lots of them. "Branding,:" they call it, and it's good advice. The surest way to build a fan base is to write books in the same genre, perhaps even with the same recurring character as your hero.

It won't take you long poking around my offerings on Amazon to see that I haven't taken this advice. I write the kinds of books I like to read, and because my reading tastes are eclectic, my writing is all over the place.

I write mystery/thrillers (often with an archaeological bent such as my Deborah Miller or Thomas Knight books), fantasy adventures of the swords and sorcery variety (albeit from the slightly unusual perspective of a smart-mouthed young actor called Will Hawthorne), historical fiction (such as my adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth), and my Darwen Arkwright series for younger readers (or young at heart readers). It may not make marketing sense, but I write the stories I feel like I have to tell. I have, alas, no brand, though I'd love to be able to live by the slogan "Fun books for smart people" :)

I was born in England, near Manchester, and have lived in many places including Japan. I'm a Shakespeare Professor at UNC Charlotte, and though my Ph.D. was in literature I specialize in performance history and theory. You can reach me through my website, facebook and twitter. I'm always delighted to hear what people think of my work. Enjoy!

AJH

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