Dr. Alice Cameron is a famous scientist - an archeoastronomer - devoted to studying ancient Mayan culture. The era driving her career has always been the end of the Mayan baktun, so she's on the Yucatan Peninsula in December 2012 with her daughter Nixie...and so are fellow serious scholars, plenty of end-of-the-world crazies, and - at an international summit - the President of the United States and other heads of state.
When Nixie disappears into the past in the Mayan jungle, rationality and mysticism, the present and the past start merging. Meanwhile, Alice is drawn into the machinations of statecraft by an old friend. A savvy scientist, a handsome dreadlocked time-traveler, an ancient shaman, a noble Mayan couple, a computer nerd, and an 11-year-old traverse the past and present in a search for the meaning of life and a way to save two worlds.
Even those with a passing interest in Mayans will enjoy. I like the feeling of participating in history, and Cooper nailed it. My first thought was Oh no not another time travel. ... and it's not. it is so much more.