Andrea Hollister is an archaeology graduate student on the brink of earning her Ph.D. Her goal in life is to land a stable job as an archaeology professor, pursuing her passion for archaeological digs during summer stints and occasional, institution-funded ventures. Her father passed away when Andrea was in high school, so she worked her way through college, slogging through at a pace that she could afford, while lending a hand to her mother from time to time.
Andrea is rightfully proud of her accomplishments and she has made a name for herself at Horvath Levy College. She has also earned her position as the top doctoral candidate in the department. So when Daniel arrives and takes over the dig that she has counted on running for at least the past three years, she is justifiably taken back. What’s worse, Andrea has kept her love life on hold for almost the entire length of her doctoral pursuit. So when Daniel’s acutely sensitive gaze penetrates her defenses, Andrea realizes she’s got a double dose of trouble to address.
Daniel Fuchs is a complex character. He is a former prodigy, entering college at age 15 and attaining a Ph.D. while others his age are worried about which frat to pledge. A star before his time, he blazed through academia without a concern, and along the way met Madeline Grey–a coed years older than Daniel with a passion for unconventional theories and digs.
Daniel followed Madeline, finding her fascinating and attractive. As an idealist, Daniel adopted many of her views, based primarily on the work of her father, a famous, or perhaps infamous, archaeologist in his own right.
In Hearts in Ruin we learn something about the depth of Madeline’s influence on Daniel. We also learn see that Andrea is a person Daniel did not anticipate meeting. But what effect will she have? Can he complete the work he is determined to pursue, and should he? And is Andrea a help or a hindrance?
A catastrophic event occurs. The climate shifts dramatically. Bin and Tala, paleolithic lovers with a surprising command of civilized thoughts and techniques, endure the event, but suffer as a couple because of their different reactions to it. In an earlier era, we can presume that Bin and Tala would have lived an idyllic life.
They, and their culture, are forgotten in the obscuring mist of time–until 21st Century archaeologists find evidence they existed. (This discovery is at the heart of the Daniel’s dig–a discovery that Andrea consider in light of her own analysis to determine its veracity.)
The conflict between Bin and Tala arises only because of the Fire Star. They disagree about the magnitude of its fallout. Had it been just the two of them, they could have chosen a path–one sacrificing to be with the other. But with the lives of their children at stake, Both Bin and Tala take strong positions about the best course of action, and Tala must make a difficult choice.
Will Andrea and Daniel ever learn the full story of Bin and Tala? Or is it enough to know they lived and to learn something about their ways before the sands of time bury them forever?
Pamela Ruiz and Jeffrey Montague are students at Southwest Polytechnic Institute and friends of Daniel Fuchs. They have been boyfriend and girlfriend for a number of years. But like many such college relationships, there’s a question about whether it will continue into the future.
There is tension. Jeffrey is close to earning his Ph.D., and he needs Professor Lassiter to get it. But there is a conflict between Jeffrey’s view of archaeology and the professors–a conflict that Jeffrey is avoiding. In the meantime, Pamela is wondering whether her boyfriend is ready to grow up, or whether he will passively bend to secure a future that Pamela supposes would lack the passion she thought they both had in the earlier days of their relationship.
As we learn in Hearts in Ruin, both Pamela and Jeffrey are important to Daniel, and at least Pamela’s insights are valuable to Andrea as well. But will these two young lovers regain the passion they seem to have lost, or is it another college fling destined to fizzle?