Hi -- Lyn here. May I add my expressions of both dismay and hope to those of Rhys for our friend Elaine Viets, who is one of the great people in the mystery business. She is funny and tough, and if anybody can overcome this, Elaine is that person.
On another note, an article about how the normally arid fortress of Masada in Israel is in danger of collapse because of torrential rains made me think about how global warming is threatening some of our most cherished heritage sites. (I hasten to add that, as bonkers as I may be about history and antiquities, I do know this is not the most pressing issue re global warming. It is, however, one of the many irreparable effects that come along with it.)
So many heritage sites are threatened by acid rain and other environmental causes, but now we face an even greater threat. Ancient people picked the same spots to build as we do, for their convenience and their beauty, and there are many sites on coast lines that will disappear if sea levels rise as predicted. Fortresses like Masada and others in desert areas that have survived millennia because of the dry conditions are now just melting away.
When I was in northern Peru researching The Moche Warrior, I took a side trip to spend a day at Chan Chan near Trujillo where archaeologists were desperately trying to save the beautiful mud brick walls from an approaching El Nino season. How much worse will it be now? The Moche lived on a narrow strip of land between the Pacific and the Andes, sometimes a very few kilometers wide, and they, too built pyramids of mud bricks. Just a few inches rise in the level of the Pacific could obliterate so much of what we know of that dazzling civilization. Just one more reason to come to grips with the environmental disasters we are responsible for. Best, Lyn