Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Discovered in manuscript form among the late author's files, this new novel tells the story of one of the most notorious rivalries in the history of science. Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope were competing dinosaur-fossil hunters from the 1870s through the 1890s. Both were passionately motivated about finding and classifying new dinosaurs, but, at the same time, they often let personal antipathies and their own egos get in the way of scientific research. Crichton tells their fascinating story through the eyes of young William Johnson, an aimless boy from a wealthy family who winds up working with both men (he's dropped from Marsh's latest expedition because Marsh suspects he's a spy working for Cope, so Johnson joins up with Cope instead). The book is sure to garner a lot of attention a posthumous book about dinosaurs from the creator of Jurassic Park but it's more than just a literary curiosity. It's also a very good novel; in fact, taken among all Crichton's novels, it's one of his best, a beautifully detailed, scientifically engrossing, absolutely riveting story about the early days of paleontology. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Discovering an unpublished Crichton novel about dinosaurs isn't quite as big a deal as discovering, say, a very old dinosaur wandering about Central Park, but it's no small thing, either.--Pitt, David Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Crichton pays homage, again, to Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World in this entertaining historical thriller whose manuscript was discovered posthumously. But instead of the living dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, the focus here is on the fossilized ones at the center of the late 19th century's feud between rival pioneering paleontologists. As in Conan Doyle's novel, the hero is a callow young man who volunteers for a perilous expedition, headed by an eccentric academic, to prove a point, and grows up in the process. Here, it's Yale undergraduate William Johnson, who is embarrassed by a classmate's taunt into a bet that he will spend the summer in a West still populated by hostile Indians. By pretending to be a photographer, Johnson persuades Yale's Othniel C. Marsh to include him on a fossil hunt. Marsh is worried that Professor Edward Cope, a one-time friend, will try to take credit for his discoveries, and Johnson finds himself dealing with the consequences of their rivalry in a West made even more perilous in the aftermath of Custer's last stand. Fans of Crichton's historical suspense books, such as The Great Train Robbery, will be pleased. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
It's 1876, and a bet sends Yale student -William Johnson off to Colorado on a paleontological expedition with Othniel Marsh. When the paranoid Marsh suspects Johnson is a spy, he abandons him in Cheyenne, WY. Johnson joins up with another famous paleontologist, Edward Drinker Cope, and heads off to the Montana badlands. Near the end of the expedition, however, Johnson is presumed dead after a mishap. In reality, he makes his way to Deadwood along with half of the expedition's haul. He must now make his way back East with the scientific discovery of a lifetime, yet escaping his enemies may prove difficult. This newly discovered manuscript by the late -Crichton, who died in 2008, returns to a dinosaur theme, this time in a historical novel based on the lives of two 19th-century paleontology giants and their "Bone Wars" rivalry. VERDICT Although not on par with the author's best works (The Andromeda Strain; Jurassic Park), this posthumously published novel is 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. [See Prepub Alert, 11/7/16.]-Laura Hiatt, Fort -Collins, CO © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
In 1876, professor Edward Cope takes a group of students to the unforgiving American West to hunt for dinosaur fossils, and they make a tremendous discovery.William Jason Tertullius Johnson, son of a shipbuilder and beneficiary of his father's largess, isn't doing very well at Yale when he makes a bet with his archrival (because every young man has one): accompany "the bone professor" Othniel Marsh to the West to dig for dinosaur fossils or pony up $1,000, but Marsh will only let Johnson join if he has a skill they can use. They need a photographer, so Johnson throws himself into the grueling task of learning photography, eventually becoming proficient. When Marsh and the team leave without him, he hitches a ride with another celebrated paleontologist, Marsh's bitter rival, Edward Cope. Despite warnings about Indian activity, into the Judith badlands they go. It's a harrowing trip: they weather everything from stampeding buffalo to back-breaking work, but it proves to be worth it after they discover the teeth of what looks to be a giant dinosaur, and it could be the discovery of the century if they can only get them back home safely. When the team gets separated while transporting the bones, Johnson finds himself in Deadwood and must find a way to get the bones homeand stay alive doing it. The manuscript for this novel was discovered in Crichton's (Pirate Latitudes, 2009, etc.) archives by his wife, Sherri, and predates Jurassic Park (1990), but if readers are looking for the same experience, they may be disappointed: it's strictly formulaic stuff. Famous folk like the Earp brothers make appearances, and Cope and Marsh, and the feud between them, were very real, although Johnson is the author's own creation. Crichton takes a sympathetic view of American Indians and their plight, and his appreciation of the American West, and its harsh beauty, is obvious. Falls short of Crichton's many blockbusters, but fun reading nonetheless, especially for those interested in the early days of American paleontology. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.