With an anthropologist for a mother and a paleontologist for a father, thirteen-year-old Maya seems destined to follow a career in ancient studies. She has learned everything anyone needs to know about scientific digs. Her divorced parents’ careers have often taken precedence over Maya. Thus, when her father is hired by the wealthy Randall Clark to help unearth a frozen wooly mammoth in the Arctic, she begs to go. What could be more educational than seeing a team of scientists in action?

Maya’s skills of perception start sending up red flags before the team even reaches the dig site. There is something suspicious about all the other researchers involved with the exception of Karen, the anthropologist who has brought her son Kyle along. As the only children on the trip, Maya and Kyle quickly become friends. Snooping around the camp, they discover that Randall has ulterior motives for sponsoring the expedition. The scientists’ work quickly reveals that his “mammoth” is indeed a fraud. Whatever is encased in the ice is no animal, but human-with wings.

The intentions of all the adults on the site come to light, but Maya never allows her love of science to cloud her moral vision. It is one thing to experiment on a frozen animal. It is another to treat a potential person as a specimen. Laura Quimby’s science fiction book raises serious ethical questions about cloning and human experimentation. Does scientific inquiry trump human rights? Maya does not think so, and she is not afraid to defy convention to protect an innocent life.

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Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...