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Dragon Teeth: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 23, 2017
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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“Among all Crichton’s novels, it’s one of his best, a beautifully detailed, scientifically engrossing, absolutely riveting story.” (Booklist, starred review)
“A totally unexpected flashback to the days when Crichton was central to the entertainment world.... If you like a good Crichton paleo-action story incorporating real historical figures, you’ll like this one.” (New York Times)
“Rollicking.... A page-turner.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Bears all the narrative traits of its techno-thriller ancestor, Jurassic Park. It’s a fun and diverting romp.... Dragon Teeth is filled with colorful Wild West characters... and Crichton writes vividly.” (Washington Post)
“A fast-paced page-turner that showcases Crichton’s singular ability to combine action, science, and history into one fantastic story. Fans will be thrilled, while new readers will discover what makes his books so enthralling.” (Library Journal)
“Dragon Teeth isn’t ‘literary’ fiction. Plain and simple, it’s Crichton fiction — a fun, suspenseful, entertaining, well-told tale filled with plot twists, false leads and lurking danger in every cliffhanging chapter. When you’re done, you’ll wish for more.” (USA Today (four stars))
“A lean, propulsively readable adventure story, filled with seamlessly interwoven exposition and sharp dialogue. It’s easily the best thing with Michael Crichton’s name on it since 1999’s Timeline.... Linking the word ‘dinosaur’ and the name ‘Michael Crichton’ is about as sure-fire a recipe for magic as the modern publishing world can muster.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“Dragon Teeth is an effective, page-turning combination of historical fact and fast-paced fiction.... A distinct pleasure to read.... [Readers will] be anxious to know if there might be more unpublished treasures waiting in the Crichton Archives to be excavated and brought forward for our reading delight.” (New York Journal of Books)
“A page-turner.” (NBC 2)
“On display... are [Crichton’s] many gifts as a popular novelist and Dragon Teeth is a gripping and entertaining read.” (Sunday Times)
From the Back Cover
NOT SINCE JURASSIC PARK HAS DIGGING UP THE PAST BEEN SO DANGEROUS
The legendary number one New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of paleontology in this recently discovered novel—a thrilling adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.
The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories, even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. While the civilized East debates Mr. Darwin’s heretical new theory called evolution, two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils while surveilling, deceiving, and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.
Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the West to win a bet against his archrival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edward Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice.
His honor at stake, William joins forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache from some of the West’s most notorious and wily characters.
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I have read with pleasure and benefit almost all of Crichton's previous novels. From that perspective, I would say this novel is OK but not striking--it certainly is not a page turner that grabs the reader. It is typical Crichton in that he instructs while entertaining. For example, he once again attaches a bibliography of related books for readers interested in pursuing the topic. He also stops the narrative at several places (107; 116;and 153) to explain the context of what is happening, so that the reader can fully appreciate the story. Since paleontology is the setting for the story, these brief explanatory interruptions are quite helpful. Crichston also attaches an author's note and postscript at the end explaining a few things.
He also adopts the practice of intermixing real figures with the story's characters. This technique requires real skill and discipline in not overdoing it, and Crichton does not abuse the practice. The two central figures in the novel, aside from the young Yale student narrator, are two real professors of paleontology who during 1876 are competing for the academic title of King of Bones. The prize goes to whomever digs up the most important and numerous fossils, generally drawn from the far west. So almost immediately, in effect, Crichton has shifted the story into almost a conventional western--an area I only previously saw him involved with in "The Great Train Robbery" and indirectly in "Westworld." So we have gunfights, Indian attacks, Deadwood, the U.S. Calvary, dance hall girls, stagecoach attacks, and other trappings of a western story. Yet throughout, Crichton keeps the theme of dino fossils first and foremost. Additional real life characters appear, including Collis Huntington (one of the big four founders of the UP railroad) and especially Wyatt Earp, who had come into prominence during the 15 years Crichton was crafting the novel.
So, folks interested in the West and/or paleontology (the title relates to actual fossil dino teeth) should enjoy this book. Its 283 pages pass quickly, and the author thoughtfully has converted the end papers into a detailed map which makes it easy to follow where all the stages of the story occur. It is good to read Crichton once again!
Crichton is probably one of my top three writers. Things I like about Crichton's writing:
- His characters are enjoyable and interesting.
- He writes as if he is sharing the true event, real people, or facts of science.
- He successfully ends each chapter with the last sentence making you beg for more.
- His writing style is easy, even when he uses scientific jargon.
In Dragon's Teeth, we find an expedition in 1876 going west looking for dinosaur fossil bones in the midst of paleontologists at, at times, jealously, violent odds against each other, Indians uprising, murderers, and god-forsaken small towns.
The chapter entitled, "The Second Attack," ended unexpectedly hilarious. Crichton interjects actual historical events and figure into his story that made feel I was reading a biography or historical non-fiction. Had to bop myself in the head to remind me its fiction!
Sad that we will no longer be entertained by Crichton storytelling.
All and all I really enjoyed this book and will read it again in the future. If you enjoy history, westerns, or fossils, and don't mind a slightly slower paced story than a typical Crichton novel do give this book a read!