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The Rope: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) Hardcover – January 17, 2012

512 customer reviews
Book 17 of 18 in the Anna Pigeon Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Terrifying…Dark and visceral, the novel is sure to appeal to Barr's legion of fans, especially those who have been clamoring for the author to light the shadows of Anna's past...A crisply written and revelatory entry in the Pigeon series.” ―Booklist

“Barr's exciting 17th Anna Pigeon thriller 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

“Barr's luxuriant depictions of desert landscapes with its colors and hues and details about Lake Powell's tourist population are interwoven into the narrative as an indispensable element of her popular series. Anna emerges from this canyon escapade as a strong, determined woman...Verdict: Another awesome winner for Barr.” ―Library Journal

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

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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Product Details

  • Series: Anna Pigeon Mysteries (Book 17)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312614578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312614577
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (512 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers -- Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada's experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada's books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List -- and more -- will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Divascribe VINE VOICE on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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110 of 119 people found the following review helpful By CJ-MO VINE VOICE on November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By DRob VINE VOICE on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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