Lincoln Child would like to thank Special Agent Douglas Margini for his ongoing advice on both law enforcement matters and electric guitars. I would also like to thank my cousin, Greg Tear, and my friends Bob Wincott and Pat Allocco, for particularly sage advice on the manuscript. Victor S. was very helpful in providing certain necessary details. I’d like to thank the following people for helping make sure that the life of a writer need not be that of a monk: Chris and Susan Yango, Tony Trischka, Irene Soderlund, Roger Lasley, Patrick Dowd, Gerard and Terry Hyland, Denis Kelly, Bruce Swanson, Jim Jenkins, Mark Mendel, Ray Spencer, and Malou and Sonny Baula. Thanks to Lee Suckno for various and sundry ministrations. Most importantly, I want to thank my parents, Nancy and Bill Child, my brother, Doug, and my sister, Cynthia, my daughter, Veronica, and especially my wife, Luchie, for their love and support. I would also like to gratefully acknowledge my adoptive hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, which—in the nostalgic spyglass of memory—retains all the charms and graces of small-town America while somehow managing to avoid its limitations.
Douglas Preston would like to express his very great appreciation to Bobby Rotenberg for reading the manuscript and offering excellent suggestions. I thank my daughter Selene for her invaluable advice, especially with the character of Corrie. I am deeply indebted to Karen Copeland for her tremendous help and support. And I thank Niccolò Capponi for innumerable fascinating literary conversations and excellent ideas. My thanks goes to Barry Turkus for dragging me up and down the Tuscan hillsin bici , and to his wife, Jody. I also wish to thank some of my Florentine friends for providing a counterbalance to many solitary hours spent in front of the computer. They are Myriam Slabbinck, Ross Capponi, Lucia Boldrini and Riccardo Zucconi, Vassiliki Lambrou and Paolo Busoni, Edward Tosques, Phyllis and Ted Swindells, Peter and Marguerite Casparian, Andrea and Vahe Keushguerian, and Catia Ballerini. I am also most indebted to our Italian translator, Andrea Carlo Cappi, for his friendship and advocacy of our books and for giving us a piece of excellent advice on this novel in particular. And how can I help but acknowledge the incomparable Andrea Pinketts? Finally, I want to express my greatest appreciation to my wife, Christine, and my two other children, Aletheia and Isaac, for their constant love and support.
And, as always, we want to thank in particular those people without whom the novels of Preston and Child would not exist: Jaime Levine, Jamie Raab, Eric Simonoff, Eadie Klemm, and Matthew Snyder.
Although we have used southwestern Kansas as the location for this novel, the town of Medicine Creek, as well as Cry County and many of the other towns and cities mentioned in the novel, are either fictitious or are used fictitiously, as are the characters that populate them. We have not hesitated to alter the geography and agriculture of southwestern Kansas to suit our fictional purposes.