“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.”
When HarperCollins sent me a complimentary Advance Reader’s E-Proof of Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton for review I was convinced that I wouldn’t enjoy it all that much. A book about Paleontology in the Wild West isn’t something I would have ever selected to read. By the end of the first chapter I was hooked.
Dragon Teeth is a thrilling historical fiction novel set in 1870’s, before the Wild West was “conquered”. After a terrible first year at Yale, William Johnson, a young man from Philadelphia and grandson of a Scottish immigrant, accepts a bet of $1,000 proposed by Harold Hannibal Marlin to go West on an expedition with Paleontologist Professor Marsh. The expedition was expected to be about 2.5 months long, but for William it ended up consuming a year of his life.
Professor Marsh’s arch rival is Professor Edward Drinker Cope. Marsh is a paranoid man who believes Cope is always spying on him. They are two Paleontologists competing in the strange new world of finding fossils, and naming undiscovered species of dinosaur.
William is given a list of supplies he’ll need, which include a knife, revolver, and rifle. That alone is enough to tell you that the next few months will be life-changing and life-threatening.
Some of the characters in Dragon Teeth were based on real people, and actual events.
Edward Drinker Cope was a “paleontologist who discovered approximately a thousand species of extinct vertebrates in the United States and led a revival of Lamarckian evolutionary theory, based largely on paleontological views.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-Drinker-Cope
Othniel Charles Marsh “spent his entire career at Yale University (1866–99) as the first professor of vertebrate paleontology in the United States. In 1870 he organized the first Yale Scientific Expedition, which explored the Pliocene deposits (2.6–5.3 million years old) of Nebraska and the Miocene deposits (5.3–23 million years old) of northern Colorado.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Othniel-Charles-Marsh
Wyatt Earp was a “legendary frontiersman of the American West, who was an itinerant saloonkeeper, gambler, lawman, gunslinger, and confidence man.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Wyatt-Earp
Charles Hazelius Sternberg “was an American fossil collector and amateur paleontologist.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hazelius_Sternberg
William Johnson, is an entirely fictitious character who undergoes a tremendous attitude change throughout the novel. There are themes of Greed vs Downfall, Betrayal, Heroism, Sacrifice, and Isolation. During a time when Americans were at war with Native Americans, before the Wild West was won, this novel was bound to be a page-turning thriller.
Also by Michael Crichton:
“Westworld is an American science fiction–thriller media franchise. It began in 1973 with the release of the film Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton. It depicts a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated by androids that malfunction and begin killing the human visitors.
It was followed by the sequel film Futureworld (1976).
In 1980 there was a short-lived television series, Beyond Westworld. A new television series from HBO, based on the original film, debuted on October 2, 2016.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westworld
“Jurassic Park is a 1990 science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections (iterations). A cautionary tale about genetic engineering, it presents the collapse of an amusement park showcasing genetically recreated dinosaurs to illustrate the mathematical concept of chaos theory and its real world implications. A sequel titled The Lost World, also written by Crichton, was published in 1995. In 1997, both novels were re-published as a single book titled Michael Crichton’s Jurassic World, unrelated to the film of the same name.“
For more info about Michael Crichton’s work visit http://www.michaelcrichton.com/