From the co-author of the two-million copy mega-bestseller The Rule of Four comes a riveting thriller with a brilliant premise based on the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon--perfect for readers of Steve Berry, Preston and Child, and Dan Brown. For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end. In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands. By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life's work and to one of history's great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate. With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out. Advance praise for 12.21 "A fast-moving tale . . . Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book."-- Kirkus Reviews "The most exciting novel of its kind since the days of Michael Crichton, 12.21 takes us from the frontiers of modern neuroscience to the riddles of ancient Maya texts, with nothing less than the future of our civilization at stake."--Vince Flynn Praise for The Rule of Four "One part The Da Vinci Code, one part The Name of the Rose and one part A Separate Peace . . . a smart, swift, multitextured tale that both entertains and informs."-- San Francisco Chronicle "Ingenious . . . The real treat here is the process of discovery."-- The New York Times "Compulsively readable."-- People (4 stars) "If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four ."--Nelson DeMille "The ultimate puzzle-book."-- The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.