This is a fascinating story about Native American culture, law enforcement, and bureaucracies that seemingly are intent on not carrying out their mandates. Especially if the crimes, no matter how egregious, are politically risky to investigate and could derail careers. The only reason why serial criminals, like the ones in this book, are brought to justice is because of heroes like now retired Agent Schroeder. She is a great writer who made me feel like I was there with her when she was undercover or dealing with incompetent and often self serving bureaucrats. I learned many new things about Native Americans and Federal law enforcement. Did you know that the southwest Indians used macaw parrots in their religious ceremonies? Or US agents work with foreign cops from countries like Norway? This story is well written and filled with suspense. I very much enjoyed reading it.
After reading Lucinda Schroeder's first book, A Hunt for Justice, I could hardly wait for another and Plunder of the Ancients didn't disappoint. Schroeder takes the reader into the dark side of human nature as seen through the eyes of an undercover agent. 0nce I started reading, I couldn't stop.
Unlike reality TV and most crime stories, the author uses facts, real people (some good, some bad, some in between) and real situations to weave a story about greed, betrayal and what it takes to actually conduct an undercover investigation...from dealing with bungling bureaucrats to bad guys who would rather kill an undercover agent than go to prison.
Plunder of the Ancients is about black market dealings in ancient Native American spiritual artifacts often incorporating illegal wildlife products like eagle feathers. When unscrupulous dealers and collectors exchange hundreds of thousands of dollars for these sacred items it's little wonder that laws and even human morality are ignored.
Schroeder did an outstanding job as a criminal investigator protecting our nations resources and an equally skillful job telling this story.
Lucinda Schroeder’s expertly-written “Plunder of the Ancients” is a strongly recommended and important book for several reasons:
• It offers an intimate look inside a federal investigation from the agent’s standpoint. No glamour. No detective novel embellishments. Just the facts.
• It portrays real people on both sides of the law. Good guys with serious flaws. Bad guys who slipped over on the wrong side. A justice system which is blind to the people it was supposed to serve. Agents with big hearts who won’t back down on core principles and common decency.
• It tells the story which needs a lot more attention of how greedy profiteers prey on poverty-stricken Native people, senselessly destroying a culture and desecrating their spirituality piece by piece.
• It spotlights one woman’s journey as a die-hard undercover agent who encounters a new spirituality and finds that true justice can take numerous paths.
I can’t wait to hear what former agent Schroeder will write about next. Her first book, “Hunt for Justice,” she carried the reader from a smoky, backwoods lounge in northern Minnesota to the obscure wilderness of outback Alaska to bust outlaw hunting camps. In “Plunder,” she pulls the reader in from the get-go. She’s tracking down criminals from the rugged New Mexico countryside to the art shops of Santa Fe and overseas in Europe.
“Plunder” is an enriching story written from the heart.
This fascinating narrative reads like a crime novel -- think Tony Hillerman -- but is a true story. I learned quite a bit about Native American culture and found the inside perspective on undercover work engrossing.