‘Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting, so much as just finding the gold.’ - Robert W. Service
Indiana-born Idaho author M. Bryce Ternet has experienced many climes, having lived in Montana, Paris, the French Basque Country, Burgundy, Chicago, Washington state, Washington DC, and on California's Monterey Peninsula: food for many stories. His degrees are in Political Science and French and a Master's degree in International Environmental Policy. Bryce’s genres reflect his global exposure – he writes historical fiction, thrillers, paranormal stories, psychological themes, and reflections on contemporary society, travelogues as well as articles on food and wine!
In THE CIBOLA TREASURE HUNT Bryce combines his fascination with both history and travel as he embarks on yet another captivating mystery set in the splendor of the American Southwest. He opens the door of this fine novel with an inviting stance – Another hard day. Alfred Winslow wasn’t sure how many days he had left. Hard or easy. Any more days like this would certainly result in far fewer remaining. Hauling and then burying the chest would’ve been hard enough. But the relentless high desert sun made everything more difficult. As always. Life in the desert. One either respects the desert or one doesn’t. Those that don’t often end up in bad situations.… But Alfred always believed other factors represented the true nature of the desert—the true depth of its deceitfulness…The desert could not be trusted. Turn your back, disrespect it, and the desert’ll happily take your life. It’ll suck the air out of your lungs and then bury you in the sand…The riddle: The Treasure Awaits Those Worthy of the Outdoors Those Worthy of the Franciscans Those Worthy of the Desert The Treasure Awaits After a Precarious Serpent’s Bend Find the Lonely Stone Cactus In the Rays of the Star Where Cibola Awaits Under an Earthen Plate.’
The lure of hidden treasure is still very much with us (observe the obsession with the Lotto Games that continue to seduce hungry gold hunters!) and Bryce plays on that vantage well. As the synopsis states, ‘The allure of hidden treasure in the American Southwest has endured for centuries. Beginning with Spanish expeditions searching for cities of gold, continuing through legends of the Old West and buried treasure, surviving today. A wealthy businessman has secretly hidden two million dollars as a legacy to outdoor adventure...with only a cryptic riddle serving as a map to the location. Many have sought the treasure. Many have failed. A new quest begins with old friends. And old rivals. The journey leads to some of the Southwest's most historic and unique places, highlighting New Mexico's distinctive cultural splendor.’
As with his other book is becomes obvious we are in the presence of an important American writer who manages to lock us into his fine story and while being placed in the suspense mode, allows us to appreciate quality prose. Highly Recommended.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.