Falling Woman is, uh, awesome. This oldie but goodie from Pat Murphy features a mother-daughter conflict spanning time and culture. Dr. Elizabeth Butler is a nutty professor focused on the Mayans. She’s a world-renowned archaeologist, and brings a hidden second sight to the profession Indiana Jones made unwarrentedly glamourous. She CAN, in fact, see dead people. However, they generally don’t see her. But then she meets Zuhuy-kak, the dead priestess of a forgotten goddess. Zuhuy wants to see her goddess rise again, and views Elizabeth as an accomplice in this harrowing mission. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is trying to stay not-crazy; she’s done time in a mental hospital and doesn’t want to repeat that at all.
Arriving on the scene is Diane, Elizabeth’s estranged daughter. She’s trying to come of age, recovering from the death of her father and a really crudtastic break-up. Do not, however, get it twisted. She’s not a nubile virgin sacrifice; she’s a twenty-something career woman in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, trying to regain the mother she never had. Her arrival fits into Zuhuy-kak’s plans quite nicely, tho; you don’t need to be a virgin to be sacrificial.
Diane’s arrival on the dig spurs into motion a series of events dedicating to reviving a dead faith. On the line are the wrath of a goddess, the sanity of her mother, and Diane’s own life. In the end, this surprisingly sensuous take on the academy leaves no one innocent and no one uninjured.