If fans want to know where Anna Pigeon’s saga began, then they better start with The Rope. Anna’s grit and survival skills are honed here and develop into the razor-sharp wits that have kept Anna balanced on the right side of the law — and sanity — all these years. Set in 1995, with a 35-year-old Anna nursing a broken heart and battling alcoholism, against the harsh beauty of Glen Canyon National Recreational Area as a background, this glimpse into Anna’s history is raw, unvarnished and painful.
After work one morning, Anna takes a hike and wakes up, naked and injured, in a dark hole in the desert, her memory of the event that landed her there elusive, and with no supplies or an obvious way out. All her co-workers think the solitary young woman has just left, as her cabin is cleaned out. As she slowly fits the pieces back together, Anna must find the courage and will to live that she didn’t know she had in order to survive and, ultimately, find out who did this and why. (MINOTAUR, Jan., 368 pp., $25.00)