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Dinosaur Thunder    by James F. David order for
Dinosaur Thunder
by James F. David
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I must say I looked at the cover, and muttered to myself, 'ho hum, yet another dinosaur book'. Thank goodness I delved further into this excellent (near future) SF thriller. And, though Dinosaur Thunder can be enjoyed standalone, I recommend reading the series in order, starting with Footprints of Thunder and Thunder of Time. Having missed both, I plan to go back and catch up.

Fortunately the Prologue summarizes what came before. We're told that eighteen years have passed since the Time Quilt when 'the planet was swept by time waves intermixing the Cretaceous and modern periods.' Whole cities disappeared and millions of people were displaced to the past and 'replaced with dinosaur-infested forests.' The world adapted and 'Dinosaur preserves became popular tourist attractions.'

Ten years later, ecoterrorists attacked the time line, infiltrating a secret gorvernment project to gather orgonic energy. They detonated nuclear bombs, creating time/space connections between that site, the Yucatan, and the moon. Nick Paulson (Director of the Office of Security Science) and his team thwarted them and continue to work to save the day in this episode too.

You know you're in the hands of a good writer when you come upon phrases like 'I'll take a Russian women's hockey team' after a moon mission spots something kicking up dust and takes bets on the cause. What they do find clues us in to some of the science underlying later events. We also learn of an increasing frequency of earthquakes worldwide.

Next we meet Dinosaur Wrangler Carson Wills, whose company does pest control for dinosaurs that have escaped from preserves. At the Mills Ranch in Florida Wills comes up against more than he bargained for, a mating pair of velociraptors. Barely escaping with his life, he takes the eggs home to his office manager/lover Jeanette. She nurtures them, and when they hatch they imprint on her.

Far back in the past, a settlement (Neverland) of displaced humans, under the strict leadership of the Reverend, hunt to survive. When they poach on the territory of Inhumans (sentients they've fought in the past), they stir up plenty of trouble. And Nick Paulson, Carson Wills and others land right in the middle of it when they investigate the tunnel that led the velociraptors to the Mills Ranch.

Other groups follow Paulson back in time (including his wife Elizabeth and Jeanette with her raptors). They encounter each other, the Inhumans, and very dangerous dinosaurs, as they try to find a way back home before time runs out for all of them - and for their future world. Of course, most of them make it, but with a twist that sets the scene nicely for the next episode.

I don't enjoy science fiction that's heavier on science than on story. Fortunately, James F. David does an outstanding job here of seamlessly weaving complex science into a riproaring adventure involving a variety of intriguing individuals. Don't miss this excellent series!

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