by James F. David
Review by Mel Jacob
Forge Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323781
Date: 24 December 2012 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
James David provides a pastiche of science fiction, time travel, fantasy, and thriller in the third volume of his dinosaur series. Dinosaur Thunder takes the reader from the Earth to the Moon and even to Mars and from the Cretaceous past to the future. Eighteen years ago, fusion explosions created a rift in time and some cities were transported into the past and replaced in the present with pieces of the Cretaceous with dinosaurs and other creatures.
The story begins with a crew on the moon recovering artifacts from the previous nuclear explosion there. Then they encounter a running T-Rex, but not actually in their time. That sets off a major investigation and, coupled with the sudden appearance of dinosaurs outside the established preserves, raises questions about another time shift.
Meanwhile, dinosaur wrangler Carson Wills answers the call about a velociraptor. He kills it and plans to take the carcass to the Ocala Preserve. He also discovers a nest of eggs. He steals the eggs, planning to sell them. He tells his girlfriend Jeanette and they hide the eggs in a barn on his property.
Once Nick Paulsen from the Office of Science Security learns about the incident on the moon and the appearance of the velociraptors, he fears another time shift. He goes to the nest site and locates a portal to the dinosaur's world. Determined to find out more, he takes Carson and others through the tunnel. Paulsen and his wife Elizabeth had been involved in sealing off the past in earlier books.
Interesting elements include Jeanette mothering the chicks, the man-like nonhuman, and the portal to Mars. The scenes with chicks protecting Jeanette provides a very different picture of raptor dinosaurs than that shown in Jurassic Park.
The narrative shifts from the present to those caught in last time shift in the Cretaceous. It's hard to imagine anyone surviving such a transition. At times David reaches too far and risks rejection by some readers. He manages to keep the reader on edge, but one-dimensional characters detract from the suspense. Other titles in the series are Footprints of Thunder and Thunder of Time.
Dinosaurs have been popular theme among speculative fiction writers. Who could forget Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land Time Forgot or Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park?