Published by Berkley on December 5, 2023
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Rival archaeologists must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, or it could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins.
Archaeologist Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía has a bone to pick. Literally.
It’s been Corrie’s life goal to lead an expedition deep into the Mexican jungle in search of the long-lost remains of her ancestor, Chimalli, an ancient warrior of the Aztec empire. But when she is invited to join an all-expenses-paid dig to do just that, Corrie is sure it’s too good to be true...and she’s right.
As the world-renowned expert on Chimalli, by rights Corrie should be leading the expedition, not sharing the glory with her disgustingly handsome nemesis. But Dr. Ford Matthews has been finding new ways to best her since they were in grad school. Ford certainly isn’t thrilled either—with his life in shambles, the last thing he needs is a reminder of their rocky past.
But as the dig begins, it becomes clear they’ll need to work together when they realize a thief is lurking around their campsite, forcing the pair to keep their discoveries—and lingering attraction—under wraps. With money-hungry artifact smugglers, the Mexican authorities, and the lies between them closing in, there’s only one way this all ends—explosively.
I was hoping for an exciting Romancing the Stone adventure but Raiders spent more time delving into the relationship between Corrie and Ford.
Dr. Corrie Mejia has been fighting an uphill battle her whole career as a women in archaeology. It has only gotten worse after rumors of her adventures, which include outrunning a jaguar (not exactly true) or seducing a stolen artifact out of the hands of local drug lord (mostly true) and that one magazine article in Archeology Digest, which should have been a boone to her career but all anyone walks about are her too short shorts or her clingy tank top and not the amazing find. This is glaringly obvious since Ford Harrison was hired to find Chimalli, the Aztec warrior that Corrie completed her dissertation on, one she was rumored to be a descendant of.
Dr. Ford Harrison admits, at least to himself, that he stole this dig out from under Corrie, but just like the tenure at Yale, it wasn’t too hard for Ford to convince his boss that he was the best man for the job. Actually, until recently Ford has always been able to convince people to give him what he wants and while it was a lousy thing to do to Corrie, he needed the money that was promised if he find that missing ceremonial dagger for his mom’s cancer treatments.
But both Corrie and Ford admit that they were better students because of the competition presented by each other in their department. If only that one late night in the library had culminated in the kiss that they both wanted, their lives and careers might have been different.
The fact that he needed to bring Corrie in to consult proves how wrong he was to steal the dig from her, but he can’t tell her now that the investor originally wanted Corrie to run this dig. If she ever found out, she would never forgive him. It cuts deep that after three months of work in the sweaty jungle, Corrie walks into camp and knows immediately that they were digging in the wrong place.
But once they narrow down the actual resting place of Chimalli, it is their lives at risk since there is a spy in camp who is determined to get to steal the artifact for themselves. If that happens, not only will Ford lose Corrie, he will lose the bonus he needs to save his mom. But winning the race to the artifact may cost the safety of his entire crew.
I was unhappy with Raiders of the Lost Heart as the blurb for this story gave me real Raider of the Lost Ark/Romancing the Stone vibes and I was looking for an exciting running through the jungle, trying to outsmart the bad guys adventure. At the very least, it should have had more archeology discussion including proper techniques. It was as much dumb luck as Corrie’s research that got them their find.
If just weighing this as a second-chance, forced proximity romance, it was fine. My only complaint on that front would be that both Corrie and Ford focused on “that night in the library,” but even after all the talk about it, we never had a flashback as to why this time in the library was so special.
This appears to be the first novel by Jo Segura and while Raiders wasn’t a bad story, there was nothing about it that made it especially memorable either.