Sins of the Father has five separate and distinct plots woven together in a very creative fashion. Author Nina Bruhns includes characters from a prior book continuing to link her characters in a circular manner.
Archeologist RaeAnn Martin, nee Sommarby, has obtained a grant to excavate what appears to be a very small burial ground. In reality, the grant providers hope to solve the mystery of the disappearance of their Anglo ancestor a hundred years ago.
Roman Santaneglo is part Piute and all FBI agent, and he has a history with Rae Ann. He has used his FBI connections to find her; after 18 years he has located her from a permit application for this dig, His purpose is to apologize for literally disappearing into the night without a word 18 years ago and to explain the reason for his desertion, hoping it is sufficient for her to accept his apology.
Roman is also in the area looking for his father who had died there - an Indian martyr, for killing two FBI agents. He has pieced together enough data to believe his father may still be alive, so he is determined to find him and bring him in.
As he approaches the dig, Roman sees that several Indian youths, led by a boy named Toby, have tied Rae Ann to a tree, and are packing up her findings and relics and absconding with them. He frees RaeAnn, and they give chase only to find the boxes have been turned over to the Indian Tribal Council, for the weak reason that Indian ancestral bones might be disturbed.
The Council rules they may be returned to RaeAnn only if Roman is custodian since he is part Indian and the son of their “hero”. This doesn’t go down well with RaeAnn since their reunion had been anything but friendly, but she has little choice.
Soon the reader will realize that Bruhns’ plots are growing in complexity. A yet unidentified poachers’ ring is disclosed, a recently murdered Anglo is found at the dig site, and evidence that something is awry at a nearby logging camp all add to the intricacies as Bruhns deftly varies her pacing and adroitly shifts point of view to sustain the romantic tension and the evolving plot conflicts. Her characters are memorable and the plots are twisty enough to remain interesting.
One would think this many plots and characters would be too optimistic an endeavor for the limited word requirements of this series, but Bruhns handles the challenge nicely.