Michael Crichton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park, 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. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop 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 arch-rival, 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, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join 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, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.
Genre: Historical Fiction / Adventure
I admit to having had mixed feelings when I first heard about this Michael Crichton manuscript that had been found and was soon to be published. I am normally a huge Crichton fan, but I was so terribly disappointed by Micro, that I didn’t want to get my hopes up and nearly decided to give this one a pass. Fear of missing out on something more like vintage Michael Crichton won out in the end though, and I’m glad it did.
What this book is not:
Do not let the giant dinosaur head on the cover fool you. This is not a prequel to, or in any way related to, Jurassic Park. I have to mention this because I have read a few complaints in other reviews from people who believed that was what they were getting when they picked up the book.
What this book is:
Dragon Teeth can best be described as Western Paleontological Historical Fiction. And if that wasn’t already an existing genre, it is now. After a losing a bet, young Bill Johnson joins an expedition headed to the wild west in search of dinosaur bones. The story follows Johnson as he leaves his comfortable city life and heads into the unknown with a group of relative strangers. While focusing on the real-life rivalry of paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edwin Drinker Cope, Dragon Teeth is a well-researched tale of armies and Indians, treaties and wars, gunfights and survival, and more than anything, of one 18 year old boy’s journey to manhood.
If you are a fan of Michael Crichton’s older novels, like the Great Train Robbery, then don’t miss this one.