A Thief of Time

B20wdvwejzno t

At a moonlit Indian ruin—where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground in the name of profit—a noted anthropologist vanishes while on the verge of making a startling, history-altering discovery. At an ancient burial site, amid stolen goods and desecrated bones, two corpses are discovered, shot by bullets fitting the gun of the missing scientist.

There are modern mysteries buried in despoiled ancient places. And as blood flows all too freely, Navajo Tribal Policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee must plunge into the past to unearth an astonishing truth and a cold-hearted killer.

Curriculet Details
55 Questions
39 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in ninth and tenth grades, this free digital curriculum contains annotations, explaining character development, motive, tension, and foreshadowing. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about pacing, point of view, tension, and conflict. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of theme, conflict, and character development. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library


Kokopelli is the Anasazi fertility god. He is often associated with this picture as a hump-backed, flute player. He is god of childbirth, agriculture, and is considered a trickster. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Foreshadowing is a literary technique where authors provide clues to events that will take place later in the story. Reread the highlighted passage. How is this an example of foreshadowing? (This annotation contains a video)
Ellie is thinking about her mother's disapproval. How does Ellie feel about her mother's opinion of her career and life choices? 
What is Ellie looking for that will violate Navajo law, federal law, and professional ethics? 
Why is the whistle disturbing Ellie? 
Why does Ellie know that what is happening to the frogs is a human act? 


Why is Leaphorn surprised by his own interest? 
Skinwalkers are from Native American legends. Skinwalkers are witches that can take the form of animals such as coyotes, owls, eagles, foxes, and crows based on their needs. (This annotation contains an image)
This is the second time that Leaphorn's interest is triggered. What are the similarities in these two events? 
What might be significant about Ellie circling and writing notes in the margin? 
Why does Leaphorn finally get involved in the investigation? 


Why is Chee on motor pool duty? Cite evidence from the text to support your response. 
Why is Chee embarrassed? 
What do Chee's actions say about him? 
Watch the video on irony. Which form of irony is Chee experiencing with the events of the week? (This annotation contains a video)


What is Leaphorn's motivation for investigating Ellie's disappearance? 
How does the fact that both Chee and Leaphorn are at Slick's revival make him look suspicious? 
Why is Ellie meeting with Slick Nakai? 
This is an example of the Anasazi pottery with the Kokopelli design that Slick Nakai states Ellie was interested in. How does this information help readers and Leaphorn understand what Ellie was doing? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Leaphorn doubt that Navajos are the ones bringing in the pots? 
How does the author use language to change the pace of the story? 


Why is it an important detail that the Backhoe Bandit also sells pottery to Slick Nakai? 
Below is a picture of Mesa Verde, an Anasazi dwelling. Reread the highlighted passage and Chee's description of the cliffs. How is thinking about the terrain helping Chee connect the backhoe and trailer thefts? (This annotation contains an image)
Chee is elated that he found the backhoe and truck. What else has Chee found? 
What is ironic about the crime scene that Chee finds? 


What purpose does Ellie's disappearance serve for Leaphorn? 
What assumption is Leaphorn making about Elliott based on his appearance and his behavior? 
From the highlighted passage, what does the reader learn about Elliot? 
Watch the video below about conflict, then reread the dialogue between Maxie and Elliot. Which type of conflict does this discussion highlight? What about Elliot's conflict with Dr. Devanti- which type of conflict is that? (This annotation contains a video)
Chapters 1-6 Quiz 


The picture below is of a traditional sweat lodge where Native Americans would take sweat baths. Sweat baths were a spiritual experience for Native Americans. They were used to purify their bodies from outside influences that destroyed spirits. How does Chee use the sweat bath in this scene? (This annotation contains an image)
Tso and Chee are not lying to Janet Pete, but not telling the entire truth. Explain how what they are doing is the same as the salesperson who sold her the car. 
"Belagana" is a slang term in Native American language. It literally translates to mean "silly white man." It can be used in the literal sense or as a derogatory term. 
What conflict do Chee and Janet Pete face in their relationships with belegana? 
When Leaphorn asks Chee if he has heard about Leaphorn's terminal leave and then asks for him to go with him, what is Leaphorn really asking Chee? 


Recalling what Leaphorn remembers of Houk; that his family was killed by his son, who then drowned, how is Thatcher's description ironic? 
Why is Houk's reaction to seeing Leaphorn unusual? 
Is it suspicious that Houk assumes they are there to talk to him about the killings? Why or why not? 
In the earlier chapters, Leaphorn explained that Native American tradition was to burn the home or move out of it when a loved one dies. In the highlighted passage, what similarities and differences do you see in Houk's beliefs? 
From this encounter, which of his family members does Houk miss the most? 


Is the assumption that Nails was shot first a logical one? 
How is Chee's religious belief interfering with his job as a Navajo Police Officer? 
According to Leaphorn, what is the common denominator to both of their crimes? 
Is it likely that Ellie is still alive? 
Who else discovered a row of jawbones? 


Why does Leaphorn see the possibility of secrets in this tight-knit community? 
Why is it important that Jimmy Etcitty worked at Chaco? 
Why has the author connected the Navajo legend of the skinwalkers to the present crime? 
Thinking back to Leaphorn's conversation with Maxie and Elliot, how does this new information add to the conflict he witnessed? 
Why is Maxie bitter about Elliot's combat experience in Vietnam? 


Watch the video on point of view and cultural perspective. Throughout the previous chapters, we have seen the point of view of both Chee and Leaphorn. This chapter starts with Houk's point of view. Why is this change in point of view important? (This annotation contains a video)
Who is Houk afraid of? 
What does the highlighted passage foreshadow? 


Who is L. G. Marcy trying to protect by not sharing the buyer's information? How do you know? 
Why is the prepared dinner in the refrigerator such an important piece of evidence? Is it possible that it is a miscue, something Ellie just forgot about? 
Why is DuMont interested in the case? 
Why didn't DuMont tell Leaphorn about Ellie's visit? 
Chapters 7-12 Quiz 


Why does the situation with Mary Landon anger and frustrate Chee? 
What is Chee's conflict with Leaphorn? 
What does the highlighted phone conversation suggest? 
Watch the video below about tension. How has news of Houk's murder changed the tension in the story for Chee? (This annotation contains a video)
What is causing the tension between Slick Nakai and Chee? 
In chapter one, Ellie heard someone whistling. Now Chee is told by Whistler he won't go down because he heard Kokopelli playing his flute. What is likely the truth of what he heard? 


What is the problem Leaphorn faces in using the information in Ettcity's description? Cite evidence from the text to support your response. 
What is Leaphorn's opinion of Chee? From his description, does Leaphorn respect Chee as a police officer? 
What does the message say about Houk? 
What is a possibility that Leaphorn is considering, given the small caliber of gun that was used to kill Houk? 
Leaphorn returns home to get his gun. What does this foreshadow? 


Is Chee's feeling right? Does Leaphorn see him as an errand boy? 
Why is Janet Pete so upset? 
What is motivating Chee to check for permit registration? 
How does this information about Elliot make him look guilty? 
Why does it hurt that Janet Pete drove away crying? 


What is ironic about Arnold's explanation of anthropology? 
How have the various witness accounts and interviews helped Leaphorn discover where they need to search for Ellie? 
Who does the kayak belong to? 
Should Leaphorn take the kayak down the river, having significant evidence of possible danger? Should he wait for Chee? 


What is motivating Chee to forego his personal needs to pursue the case? 
Why would Chee be conflicted about his behavior? 
Why is it significant that everyone in Chaco knows about the message that Houk left Leaphorn? 
Watch the video below. How has the pacing of the story increased? How does the increase in pacing change the tension in the story? (This annotation contains a video)


Why is Leaphorn comparing himself to the egret? 
Although Leaphorn started looking for Ellie because of his mourning and love for Emma, why has he continued? 
How does Leaphorn know Brigham is the one Houk has been visiting? 
The pacing has slowed again, the urgency from Chee's story is less so here. Why? 
Leaphorn seems unconcerned with Brigham Houk's presence. What actions show that he is aware there is danger? 
Who has Leaphorn found? 


What has Brigham been witnessing? 
In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, there is a character named Arthur "Boo" Radley. He is an outcast of their society because he is unsocial and secretive. At the end of the book, we learn that Boo is childlike, but has a strong protective side towards the main character, Scout. Below is a picture from the movie version of Boo Radley. Reread the scene with Brigham Houk. How are these two characters similar? (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Leaphorn assuring Elliot that she is in a coma and hasn't spoken? 
What is the conflict that Leaphorn is faced with? 
What motivated Elliot to kill Nails and Etcitty? 
Brigham has become enraged and killed three people, yet Leaphorn turns his back on him. Why? 
Why is Leaphorn staying on the force and on the reservation? 
Chapters 13-19 Quiz