The Crystal Skull, by Manda Scott (Read by Susan Duerden)
Like binary code used to program a computer, the end of the world is linked to a series of numbers -- 121212, or December 12, 2012. What starts out a literary quest to decipher the poetry of Cedric Owen, and to find the relic to which he refers, turns into a life and death mission to save the world from total annihilation. Stella Cody is a caver, and when her new husband asks what she'd like as a wedding present, she says she wants to explore a cave that no one has ever been in. Coincidentally, his research of Cedric Owen has pointed him to an unexplored cave near their university home, so they innocently begin their exploration. What follows is a fast-paced journey through 400 hundred years of history, with personalized predictions and warnings from Nostradamus.
This audio book is really very entertaining. Ancient Mayan seers determined that the world would self-destruct at some future date unless certain conditions were met. They created a blue crystal skull that would protect against destruction if reunited with similar crystals at a predetermined time and place. Told in alternating chapters, the author weaves the 15th-century actions of Cedric Owen to preserve and hide the skull with the Stella Cody's ongoing task of deciphering his writings and sketches to discover his secrets.
Manda Scott introduces enough history of the periods -- the court of Catherine de'Medici, the Spanish Inquisition, and the colonization of the New World -- to provide background and engage the listener but not so much as to bog down the action with historical data. Shifting alliances among Stella, her husband, and their university colleagues and friends keep the listener guessing," Who can I trust?" until the startling conclusion. Susan Duerden's narration conveys the drama and emotions of the two distinct time periods and the many characters with a pleasing mixture of suspense and scholarly examination. This book is a perfect choice for Indiana Jones fans, ancient history buffs, virtual sleuths, literary history lovers, scientists, travelers, romantics -- in short, anyone.