It was time for another science thriller by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Thunderhead is set in the Pendergast-universe, though the FBI agent himself does not appear in this novel. The story takes places some time before Cabinet of Curiosities, that is even before the rather ambivalent Diogenes trilogy 1 2 3 that was my reason to start reading Preston and Child novels. The only known character (given the timeline of novels) is the journalist Smithback who accompanies an archaeological dig in a remote corner of Utah's canyon country. The leader of the expedition Nora Kelly will re-appear in later novels, too, one additional character that will be recycled throughout the series.
Thunderhead is less mysterious and less mystic than most other Pendergast novels. The solution to the single seemingly mystic puzzle is almost mundane. Yet, or maybe for this reason, the novel is a very entertaining and absorbing reading.