Plunder of Ancients the is a detailed and riveting true-life account of a federal wildlife agent investigating the little known clandestine pilfering of sacred Native American religious artifacts from the secret Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo religious societies for extraordinary profit. The writer takes you inside her world fighting both criminals and government bureaucracy in seeking justice for the exploitation of Native American tribal religious items protected under federal law. This well- written book is an eye-opener inside the complex working relationships of various federal agencies, the agents within, with some unbelievable results that are sure to astonish any reader.
The author takes the reader inside the inner workings of covert operations used to infiltrate and uncover the most egregious traffickers of Native American cultural material ever identified.
The twists and turns of every facet of these cases will make the reader wonder what justice, if any, will be met in the end of such a monumental effort from one individual seeking to make a difference. I believe the extraordinary unique work by this author would surely have pleased Tony Hillerman if he were present to read this highly unique non-fiction work.
Descendent of the Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico
Plunder of the Ancients succeeds on several levels. Lucinda is very good writer and therefore the book is easily read and moves along smoothly. Second of all, the story is an important one: the deliberate desecration of Native American religious items for no reason but pure profit. And finally, Plunder deals with the complications and exigencies of undercover investigations.
The destruction and desecration of Native religious items has been going on since the arrival of Europeans in the Southwest in the 16th century, but the illegal marketing of such icons and other materials to rich folks around the world is of a more recent origin; and the fact that such trafficking is illegal only rarely puts much of dent in the criminal activity. This is a true tale of an undercover operation which brought down at least two of the nefarious merchants. It also involves considerable insight to what the stolen and misused items mean to the people from whom they were stolen, in this case Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo Indians.
And finally, the story is something of a police procedural told from the inside. Lucinda had a thirty-year career in Federal law enforcement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. She spent many of those years working in undercover capacities of one sort or another, and what she writes has the ring of authenticity. When she discusses the dishonest and underhanded behavior of other federal agencies—their frequent unwillingness at all levels to cooperate with other agencies—readers correctly find it easy to believe. Readers also get a close look at the way in which the courts deal with such crime.
Lucinda’s first book, A Hunt for Justice: The True Story of a Woman Undercover Wildlife Agent, is a great tale, but this one is better. Maybe I think that because I don’t have the same level of interest in Alaskan wildlife crime that I do in New Mexico cultural identity theft.
New Mexico’s Centennial Author