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Dragon Teeth

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Michael Crichton, the number one New York Times best-selling author of Jurassic Park, returns to the world of palaeontology 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. Against this backdrop two palaeontologists pillage the Wild West for dinosaur fossils while deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to win a bet against his archrival, William has joined world-renowned palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, and abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice.

Soon William joins forces with Cope and stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. The struggle to protect this extraordinary treasure, however, will test William's newfound resilience and pit him against some of the West's most dangerous and notorious characters....

©2017 Michael Crichton (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

295 pages, Hardcover

First published May 22, 2017

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About the author

Michael Crichton

294 books16.4k followers
Michael Crichton (1942-2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas and Jeffery Hudson. His novel A Case of Need won the Edgar Award in 1969. Popular throughout the world, he has sold more than 200 million books. His novels have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and thirteen have been made into films.

Michael Crichton died of lymphoma in 2008. He was 66 years old.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,001 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,829 followers
September 18, 2017
Another posthumous offering from Crichton. I hope they keep finding them! This book was great! It is a western - pure and simple - gunfights, saloons, Indian war controversy, and even the appearance of some famous Western names. But, instead of gold nuggets, the treasure is dinosaur bones.

It's something I think people really don't think about. One of the best sources of dinosaur bones is the American West, and their discovery began right in the middle of all the tobacco chewing, stage coach holding up, showdowns at high noon barbarism we equate with westward expansion. Imagine in the middle of that, thousands of miles away from resources and safety, college professors and students with no gunslinging skills digging up thousands of pounds of fossilized bones and transporting them hundreds of miles across a barren landscape at risk from a wide variety of dangers to get to the nearest train station that will get them and the bones safely back to their civilized Ivy League school in the east. Well, you don't have to imagine it, Crichton has you covered!

In the afterward it says that his idea for this story began back in 1974 - long before Jurassic Park. It is amazing it took this long for the book to come out. Sad that he missed it!

You like Crichton? You like Westerns? You like paleontology? Read this!
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,240 followers
November 11, 2022
Nine years after the untimely demise of the bright Dr. Michael Crichton a good writer , more talented than many believed, his third posthumous novel Dragon Teeth, is published (he's been busier than numerous authors still technically alive) . If you're looking for an early version of Jurassic Park you will be disappointed, but this book has a feel to it that will keep you turning the page...Essentially the story of two ruthless pioneering paleontologists , historical figures, and great rivals in the 19th century, "The Bone Wars" , digging in the old , dangerous west , in canyons , hills , deserts, always lethal accidents or unfriendly incidents can occur, caused by humans both red and white, for dinosaur fossils , an ancient extinct animal, recently discovered. College professors Othniel Charles Marsh from Yale and his younger, former friend Edward Drinker Coke, from the small Quaker university in Philadelphia, Haverford, both are mad. Any underhanded trick to spoil and discredit the other is fine, they hate with a passion. Big eastern newspapers, (if you pardon the pun, had a field day with their plots) grown men , seeking glory in new finds... And loathsome childish pranks that kept readers amused. William Johnson 18, a lazy freshman at Yale, a rich man's son, quite full of himself, during the centennial celebrations of 1876, held in his hometown, Philadelphia, a short trip from the New Haven, Connecticut campus were he doesn't study...twice put in probation, wrecking private property he gets bored easily and father pays for damages...what's the big deal? Professor Marsh is taking students out west this summer, and Mr. William Johnson, not wanting to lose a bet from his nemesis a fellow arrogant student , an insufferable archenemy... so instead of a leisurely pleasant voyage to Europe and a sightseeing tramp around the continent... it becomes a dirty, awful, backbreaking dig for some old bones as the relentless sun and boss, burns your hide... the Sioux are on the warpath ( if I were you, I'd stay out of Montana), all this nuisance just to show how brave he is.... Famous people he encounters, (Wyatt Earp in particular , is charismatic) on trains and western boom towns , some less known, quickly after a brief acquaintance, enter boot hill , not very happy going... Marsh and Coke he works for the unscrupulous duo, not at the same time obviously, neither one tells the truth very often or fails to kick a man when he is down. An unexpected, enjoyable romp into history, for people who like to experience the atmosphere of a bygone era and walk in other men's and women's boots. They too can join their hazardous adventures for a short duration...
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews997 followers
April 30, 2018
3.5 Stars

"We are finding wonderful dinosaurs!" exulted Cope. "Wonderful, marvelous dinosaurs!"

Good ol' dinosaurs are wonderful and marvelous as always, and men will always be men: competitive, violent and vengeful. Dragon Teeth is Crichton's third posthumous publication, and fourth historic fiction (Fifth, if you count Timeline). The novel tells the fictionalized account of historic 19th century Bone wars, a race between two paleontologists to unearth and claim dinosaur bones.

Meet Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.

We are introduced to William Johnson, our fictional narrator who joins professor Marsh's expedition to wild west on a college bet. Johnson is portrayed as a spoiled and rich young gentleman with the potential to grow and excel if an occasion is presented. We see the story through his narrations and journals, and one of the strengths of the novel is the challenges Johnson faced and the methods by which he survived them.

I started reading Dragon Teeth with caution, as his posthumous publication has the same track record as the Tyler Perry movies. I thought my worst fears were coming alive as I felt the no pulse in opening chapters. But by the end of part one, the narration picked up as the hunt for giant bones commenced!

From a historical point of view, the story is not just about bone wars. It also gives us a peek into the way of life in 19th century west, the state of American Indian Wars during the bone expeditions and living dangerously in Deadwood.

While reading the novel, I raised an eyebrow (Figuratively, all my life I've been trying to raise an eyebrow with no avail) when the story shifted from hunting bones to Deadwood, but thankfully Deadwood and I have a history.

Three seasons of history, to be exact.

Hence it was a pleasure to go back to this notorious town.

"There is no law here, this is Deadwood"

Overall, Dragon Teeth is a story helmed by interesting historical characters, incidents, and locations, it's a tale filled with the adventurous soul of Verne's Around the world in eighty days, and it's a novel that explores loyalty, courage, and survival. The story is not as linear and strong as The Great Train Robbery, and neither is it overstuffed and directionless as Crichton's Pirate Latitudes. Sometimes the story is confused about what its focus should be, but for most of the time it's bloody good fun.

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
February 26, 2019
Such is the draw and popularity of Michael Crichton that nine years after his death, his new releases are still going to be bestsellers.

Truth be told, before I began reading I knew nothing about his 2017 posthumous publication, found from notes and put together lovingly by his wife and his literary estate. Also, to be honest, there are gaps and loose ends that a fan would not expect from the meticulously researched and well written books we have all come to love from him. But this is also resonant with his voice, the excitement and enthusiasm he brings to a scientific story, and I know that had he published this in his lifetime, all of the hard edges and rough spots would have been polished and made clean and smooth.

First of all, this is a western. Yes. And a damn good one at that. Set in the 1870s, we follow a young easterner Yale student as he recklessly finds himself going out onto the wild frontier as a part of a paleontological research mission. This is contemporaneous with Custer’s inglorious end and readers can imagine Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves to get a good visual. This was not a boy scout trip.

Crichton describes and gives life to the "Bone Wars" between rival scientists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, who fought for years over dig sites and buried fossil finds. In an afterward, Crichton’s widow opines that rather than building spectacular hyperbole for books sales, her husband probably actually toned down the vehemence of animosity between the two as modern readers would find a more realistic portrayal hard to believe. We are also introduced to other colorful western historic persons and this is far from a staid and uneventful scientific journal.

As good as most of his writing, this is for fans and new readers alike.

Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
June 20, 2017
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton is a book of Crichton's I didn't like. I have read all of his and loved them all but this was so un-Crichton. It lacked the spark, the thrills, the adventure that kept me glued to the others. I was bored to tears and forced myself to finish it. I got this book from the library and noticed the total ratings on it was only 3 stars and wondered why, now I know.
Profile Image for LA Cantrell.
424 reviews544 followers
May 13, 2018
Most of us get a fuzzy feeling when an author seems to include us in an inside joke. The writer is, of course, someone we'll never meet let alone befriend, but unlike appreciating the performance of an artist or actor or musician, the musing of a writer feels more personal. In just one novel, he or she whispers into our mind's ear for ten or fifteen or twenty solid hours as we read. In a way, it resembles conversation.

When that time together brings us to familiar territory, it can feel like traveling home with an old friend. And that is where I've been these past few days.

I am a geoscientist. While most people have a vague notion of what we do in our areas of specialty (look at rocks? drill oil wells? watch volcanoes explode? predict earthquakes? dig up fossils?), what we experience in undergrad and graduate studies is not widely known. We all spend weekends and months and weeks doing field work, clambering over hills, hiking mountains, and noting, measuring rock formations, then drawing maps that reflect an area’s geology. Not that you care, but this writer really did!

What Crichton's characters - based on real geologists - went through is something I've lived and breathed and sweated myself. Climbing and digging through rocky outcrops, assembling a picture of the past, fending off heat and exhaustion in the name of curiosity alone... all of my various weeks of field work came back clear as a bell. This was the 'inside joke' for me, and it was thrilling!

The geologists in the tale are vertebrate paleontologists - people who study fossilized bones. Marsh and Cope, real people, were in huge competition with one another in the late 1800s, racing out west to find the biggest and most unusual fossils they could find. Their hatred for one another was legend, and I can remember hearing wild stories about them in my very first geology course nearly 40 years ago. To trick his nemesis, one of them grabbed the skull of one prehistoric creature, limbs of another, the tail of yet another, and so forth - knowing full well his competitor would try to steal credit for this 'new' creature. The other accidentally switched the pelvis around of one dinosaur and the other turned him into a laughing stock for it. They told awful lies about one another to boot.

The story here follows a young man who ends up on one of their major fossil digs and along with fellow students, has to fend of attacks by the Sioux, by gunslingers, and by his competitor's geology team. We get death by arrows, gun fights in Deadwood, and poisoned water holes here.

Any book by Crichton is going to include science, of course, but in reading this one - the one that gave birth to his later ideas for Jurassic Park - it felt like coming home. Lots of western fun, great trivia, good suspense. Of course, I loved it.
Profile Image for Jan.
424 reviews252 followers
July 8, 2017
Not what I expected, but I don't think there is anything he has written that I wouldn't love.

I was hoping this would have the feel and flavor of the Jurassic Park novel, which is one of my all time top 5 books that I have read. If you are hoping for the same thing, I can tell you unequivocally this is completely different. Are there dinosaurs? Yes, but none that have been cloned or a threat to mankind. In fact, this story takes place in the year 1876, when paleontologists didn't get near the recognition that they do today.

Loosely based around 2 real life arch enemy paleontologists Charles Marsh and Edwin Cope, (I actually googled them once I finished) and one fictional William Johnson, the story takes place in the old wild West where 2 separate teams head out in search of dinosaur bones. William was hired on by Charles Marsh, all because of a bet, but was soon left behind as Marsh's paranoia leads him to believe that William is a spy, working for Cope.

Cope quickly adds him to his team and they head to the Black Hills, where they make a momentous discovery. What happens after this event is nothing short of brilliant writing. From sketchy women to gun fighters, to Indians and the battle of the Crow War, William Johnson finds himself in one mess after another, all the while just trying to get himself and his dinosaur bones back home. Wyatt Earp even makes an appearance!

This is not a book I would ever have picked up if it hadn't been written by Micheal Crichton, so don't let the lack of a terrorizing T Rex stop you from giving this a go!
I hope they continue to find lost manuscripts, or even additional work he might have partnered on.
This man could make a phone book entertaining!!
Profile Image for Blaine.
749 reviews609 followers
June 21, 2022
You would think that people who had experienced injustice would be loath to inflict it on others, and yet they do so with alacrity. The victims become victimizers with a chilling righteousness. This is the nature of fanaticism, to attract and provoke extremes of behavior. And this is why fanatics are all the same, whatever specific form their fanaticism takes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dragon Teeth. I mean, Michael Crichton probably left it unpublished for a reason, right?

Well I’m happy to say Dragon Teeth was better than I expected. It read like some of his older works. Unlike so many of his novels, this book is very light on the science. Instead, this work is historical fiction, with a heavy focus on the history of the 1870s American West. Numerous real-life figures appear throughout the pages (Wyatt Earp was my personal favorite). The story moves fast, is interesting, and has a nice mix of humor and drama. Recommended for Crichton and/or Wild West fans.
Profile Image for Tom Quinn.
545 reviews147 followers
December 22, 2020
What we might call speculative nonfiction stretched to the extreme, Dragon's Teeth is a nifty little bildungsroman cobbled together from scraps of historical memoranda and a lot of imagination. Crichton is a tight thriller writer and this book feels more script-like than literary, as melodramatic as any radio drama. It also feels a lot like a rough draft with some predictable "Wild West" staples and cameos shoehorned in uncomfortably. The subject matter doesn't generally leap off the page, not without a lot of massaging. But it's still a breezy diversion that calls back a lot of the great "adventuring gentleman's wager" genre, which is a fun way to pass a few afternoon hours.

2.5 stars out of 5.
Profile Image for Jason.
200 reviews70 followers
May 29, 2017
All new Crichton!

New in the sense that the novel is new, but not so new in the sense that this novel takes place in the late 1800's.

And the verdict: it sure is a snooze.

Crichton has always been hit or miss for me. He's had his gems: Jurassic Park, State of Fear, even Airframe was all right. But with Dragon Teeth it really felt like Crichton was just phoning it in.

This was a lazy, half-ass attempt at a novel. Now, I am not oblivious - I do know that Crichton is no longer alive; however, this was supposedly discovered in his archives, among which there are other completed but unpublished works. So, he did write this when he was alive (obviously) and therefore isn't getting any passes from me. The only thing that this novel really had working for it was the clever jacket art, which taps into your Jurassic Park nostalgia with a bolder and more modern look.

That's about where the excitement stops for me. Even though I knew this book took place in the 1800's, and even though I knew it had nothing to do with living dinosaurs, I was really hoping for that knockout punch. After all, even the book was marketed by saying: "William joins forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions." I didn't think they meant literally...sheesh. I thought he would take a more fantastical, yet believable, approach to an epic discovery. Alas, the discovery of epic proportions is just a dinosaur bone.

On the writing: everyone knows Crichton was no master wordsmith. And on a sentence by sentence examination, his writing in this one isn't awful. It's not yet approaching good though, either. Crichton has always been about the story, the tale he tells that opens up your mind to knew ideas. This novel did none of that for me for two reasons. First, Crichton took what should have been an 800 page epic and squashed it down into fewer than 300 pages. Second, Crichton seemed confused over whether he wanted to tell a historical fiction novel, or just a straight up historical account of these events. An aside - someone who I think does historical fiction well is Erik Larson.

Let me flesh that out a bit. A lot of the material, and almost all of the events in this novel, are based on real accounts. Crichton uses mostly historical fact and lays out a story, inside which he even uses real quotations from personal diaries of the men involved. But the 'fiction' part of it gets drowned in the true historical part of it. I felt as though I was reading a poorly constructed history textbook on the early palaeontological expeditions of late 1800's. But what annoyed me most was the complete disregard for character development. Crichton crammed a 3 month journey into a tight novel, and the tight novel was broken up into smaller chapters, which were squished down into bit-sized paragraphs. And it was inside these bit-sized paragraphs that an entire story, days (sometimes weeks) long would take place in a few sentences. Then it was off to a point down the road a month later. There were so many massive time gaps that I felt like Crichton was simply being lazy and didn't want to do any real work. He slapped down the historical accounts which were already in front of him, strung them together with a few sentences of "fiction" and called it a day. Sigh.

This novel could actually have been made into an epic novel, if he had taken the time to churn out about 600 more pages of material. We then could have gotten to learn the characters more. A lot of people die in this book, and I cared not of a single one (I know, how cold blooded of me). But there is some fascinating history that could have been examined, such as the ongoing wars between the white man and the Indian tribes (their words, not mine).

I would have liked to see Crichton's estate tag on another author to this work (like they did with Micro) and then made something real out of it. Instead, it falls short. And like a sucker, I paid 36 buckaroos for this puppy.

I'd enjoy seeing more Crichton books publish posthumously. But I'd urge whoever is in charge of that decision to take a careful read through the next one and ask themselves if the story has been told. And if there is something missing, fill it in. We like us some Crichton, and I'm sure the germ of a brilliant idea is there, but it may need to be stretched out a bit. No harm in that.

Probably less than two stars, but I'm rounding up because I'm nice like that. ;)

As always, you can also see my review on my blog at: jasonramstad.wixsite.com/mysite
Profile Image for Steven Brown.
Author 5 books199 followers
August 11, 2018
In 1876, the hunt for ancient bones is more thievery than science. When a spoiled Yale student takes a bet that he can’t survive one summer in the Wild West with paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, he’s in way over his head.

His boss might be paranoid, but the bullets are real.

This is one fantastic story! Dragon Teeth is a thriller set in the past (not a Jurassic Park novel), so the antagonists read like Indiana Jones villains in the Wild West. (Not dinosaurs.) But here’s the crazy thing: they’re actual historical figures. And the locations and surrounding events that form the novel’s setting are real too—including the intense rivalry between paleontologists Marsh and Cope. Only the direct plot line is invented, and not even all of that.

Crichton blurs the line between fact and fiction just as masterfully in the distant past as he does in the near future of his best sci-fi titles.

In fact, the only character that seems to be entirely fictional is William Johnson himself, and he’s one of the most realistic protagonists we’ve ever read. He’s rich. He’s spoiled. He’s arrogant. And his development over the course of the novel is one of the most fascinating aspects of the book.

The beginning does a marvelous job of introducing William and laying the foundation for the world he lives in. The very idea of evolution and extinction was tantamount to heresy in 1876; the hunt for credible evidence was shrouded in secrecy; and the rivalries between fossil hunters played out with a level of intrigue and espionage worthy of Mission Impossible.

Once the novel hits the Wild West, it grabs you and never lets go.

This comes as no surprise from the author who wrote and directed the 1973 film Westworld, the movie on which the modern TV series is based. Crichton has a love for the time period that shines through every page, while bullets fly in the untamed badlands—where fortunes can be made and lives can easily be lost over a single “dragon’s tooth.”
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
June 15, 2017
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/06/15/...

I’m a huge Michael Crichton fan, but admittedly I went into Dragon Teeth with reservations. After all, posthumously published works tend to make me a little wary, and the last two novels published after Crichton’s death have not exactly disabused me of this bias, reinforcing my belief that most “found manuscripts” are doomed to disappoint. So you can imagine my surprise when I finished this book and found that I really enjoyed it. Granted, I love paleontology and I love Westerns, but unlike Pirate Latitudes or Micro (completed by Richard Preston), both of which I felt were unpolished and sloppy in their execution, Dragon Teeth actually felt solidly put together and complete.

It all began with a not-so-friendly wager. The year is 1876 and William Johnson, a Yale student and the son of a wealthy shipping magnate is goaded into traveling west by a rival student, who bet a thousand dollars that privileged and sheltered William would not have what it takes to visit America’s wild and lawless frontier. Fueled by his pride, our protagonist impulsively signs on with a bone-finding expedition to the western territories, claiming himself to be a professional photographer, not realizing just how far in over his head he’s gotten himself. For you see, the expedition is led by renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, who is embroiled in a bitter rivalry of his own. Notoriously difficult to work with, Marsh is unscrupulous and paranoid, convinced that his arch nemesis, the equally distinguished paleontologist Edwin Drinker Cope is always on his trail, ready to swoop in and steal his research.

Unfortunately, that paranoia ultimately leads Marsh to abandon William in Wyoming, believing him to be one of Cope’s spies. In an ironic twist of fate, however, Cope himself finds our poor, confused protagonist and extends an invitation to join his own expedition, to which William has no choice but to accept. To his pleasant surprise, he winds up finding Edwin Drinker Cope to be a rather pleasant fellow, with a fearsome temper to be sure, but still nothing like the monster Marsh made him out to be. Their expedition might also be smaller and less organized, but on the whole William is much happier since he switched sides, his enthusiasm for the work increasing the more he learns. Then one day, their team stumbles upon a huge find. But in the paleontology field, the discovery of a lifetime often goes hand in hand with plenty of dangers. From the moment William decided he was going to go west, he had known he would be facing all kinds of challenges, but little did he expect just how far he would go for a pile of dusty old bones.

Unlike Crichton’s other novels about dinosaurs, Dragon Teeth is pure historical fiction, its premise based on a frenzied period of fossil research and discovery in the late 1800s known as “The Bone Wars” or the “Great Dinosaur Rush”. It’s a fascinating topic, and I was impressed to see how deftly all the seemingly mundane details were woven into such a tight, thrilling and intense page-turner. That said, this is also a story that just begs to be told. In a time when explorers, settlers, and gold seekers were heading their way west in the hopes of striking it rich, paleontologists were instead scrambling all over the rich bone beds of the western territories, searching for fossils. Both Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope were real, and so was their feud where they infamously sought to destroy each other’s’ careers and reputations, often resorting to underhanded tactics like theft, slander and outright sabotage. While William Johnson himself may be a fictional protagonist, through his bamboozled and mystified eyes, readers are given front row seats to witness the full extent of their roaring rivalry.

In the end though, the plot of Dragon Teeth comes down to a journey of personal growth. William is a stuck-up entitled jackass when we first meet him, used to power and money getting him whatever he wants. But the West changes him, stripping away his privilege and hardening his spirit. Far from home where no one knows or cares who he is, William quickly learns to pull his own weight and ultimately finds that there is more to life than empty materialism and shallow pleasures. Reading about his fraught adventures is just as enjoyable as reading about the history of the time and place, especially in the novel’s second half which sees the story evolving into something straight out of a Spaghetti Western. After a run in with a notorious outlaw, William even winds up allying with none other than Wyatt Earp.

Still, I must warn that while Dragon Teeth feels very much like a complete, articulate novel, the level of detail is nowhere near that of some of Crichton’s best works. In some ways the book reads like a highly polished draft with the finished framework in place, simply waiting for the author to put more meat on its bones but of course he never got the chance. Despite characters and descriptions being a bit sparse though, the story itself does not suffer much, nor is the overall novel less readable because of it. In fact, it’s possible some readers might even prefer this straightforward and pragmatic approach and appreciate the novel’s swift, no-nonsense pacing.

In sum, Dragon Teeth was a lot better than I thought it would be, and unlike Pirate Latitudes or Micro, I would actually recommend it. That being said, you still shouldn’t go into this expecting an epic adventure with the level of research and detail on par with the author’s more famous novels that he wrote in life, but as far as posthumously released publications go, this one was pretty damn decent.
Profile Image for María.
193 reviews79 followers
February 3, 2021
Una novela de aventuras, basada en hechos reales, ligera y entretenida.
Profile Image for Alex.
5,175 reviews1 follower
Want to read
January 1, 2017
How many of these "recently discovered" manuscripts are there?!
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,509 reviews27 followers
October 28, 2022
This book was discovered after the author's passing. This book is a historical fiction book. It is a fiction novel based on real life characters. In this one, we follow a college student as he is involved in a personal conflict between two different paleontologists and it is set during the Old West.

I thought this book was interesting and I liked it. Michael Crichton definitely has written much better books. It is my theory that he knew it too as this one wasn't published during his life. I like the idea of scientist trying to work and make discoveries while dealing with the dangers of the Old West. Basically this book is a scientific western novel. The scientific part was a little loose and I believe that is why I didn't give it a higher rating. When I go into a Crichton book I expect some way out there scientific theory that makes me think. That never really occurred in this one as it was pretty much straight forward. But the scientists dealing with Native Americans, the conflict with other scientists, or brigands was an interesting concept. And deep down this story was a coming of age story for the main character. Although I thought it was weird that the story was about him but the point of view changed several times. It went from first person to third person and I thought that was a little jarring.

I have read most of the novels by this author including the famous and the highest rated ones. I know I am getting down to the nitty-gritty and it shows. This book lived up to my expectations. I didn't expect to be blown out of the water but I enjoyed it while I was reading it.
Profile Image for mwana .
370 reviews207 followers
Want to read
May 22, 2017
So a manuscript of Michael's, the god behind one of my favourites ever Jurassic Park, had a manuscript lying in wait all along. And it really is original. No question,

Profile Image for Dee Arr.
734 reviews89 followers
May 25, 2017
What began as a measure designed to protect a young man’s pride soon turned into an adventure that William Johnson would not soon forget. Michael Crichton’s novel about the early days of paleontology in the United States is a mixture of whimsy, seriousness, humor, and just good old fun.

The late Mr. Crichton’s manuscript was found in his files by his wife, and it is wonderful to read a “new” novel by a talented author. Though the character of William Johnson was born in Mr. Crichton’s imagination, many of the other people featured in the book were alive back in the 19th century. As readers make their way through the pages, we meet the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and his brother Morgan, Chicago movers and shakers Armour, Swift, and Field, and various bit players such as Robert Louis Stevenson. It was interesting to learn (after finishing the book) that the two paleontologists featured in the book, Cope and Marsh, were not fictional, and the relationship between the two men was even worse than described in the book.

A simple bet sends Yale student William Johnson to the western United States in the 1870s, a trip that William thought would be dull and filled with hours of hot and dusty work. It is not long before William finds himself personally responsible for the success of the expedition, and his resulting adventures are comical and entertaining. Readers should be forewarned that despite the cover illustration, this story is not in the same genre as his more famous dinosaur tales. However, the combination of wild Indians, gun battles, famous as well as devious people and anything and everything Mr. Crichton could think of team to make this a wonderful read. Five stars.
Profile Image for Martin Rondina.
108 reviews427 followers
May 1, 2020
Novela ágil, intrigante y súper interesante! una apuesta lleva al estudiante Johnson de la Universidad de Yale a una frenética aventura en busca de fósiles, donde la traición y la crudeza del Oeste serán un peligro constante. Recomendada!
Profile Image for Paul.
2,307 reviews20 followers
February 19, 2020
I'm always a little wary of reading historical fiction as I worry that my poor already-addled memory will confuse fiction with actual history after I've read it.

I'm also a bit wary of books published posthumously because I can't get away from the fact that the author might not have wanted the book published for a good reason.

That being said, I really enjoyed this tale of rival fossil hunters in the Wild West. It's fast-paced, fascinating, engaging and just downright fun! Not Crichton's best work, and I do wonder how much of it was polished by other people, but a very entertaining read all the same.
Profile Image for Carlos.
588 reviews289 followers
August 4, 2017
This was such a fun book . it is the perfect book to take to the beach (specially during this hot summer), to read on the train or take on vacation. The plot is not very complex , but cowboys and dinosaurs are involved...it doesn't get any better than that . The main character goes through a tough journey and finds out that sometimes caring is an important trait for a man to have. The dinosaur bones and the rivalry between two of the characters helps give the story context and add another tier to the story. And I hadn't noticed before but this was my first "westerner" book that I have ever read...because I think that this does count as belonging to that classification. The only reason that I gave this book a low rating was because I felt like the story went too fast . Recommend it if you are in search of a fast read.
June 10, 2017
So sorry to say that this book was just awful. It looked to be cobbled together in such a haphazard manner that it seemed a child wrote it. I am sorely disappointed in this as I have often so enjoyed Crichton's novels. That being said this book was suppose to be "found" many years after Mr Crichton's death. Makes one wonder! This is no Jurassic Park nor is it a prequel to that amazing book that entertained so many so very well.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,942 reviews158 followers
August 8, 2017
In 1803 Thomas Jefferson said it would take a thousand years for the West to be settled. By 1876 he was proven gravely wrong. This is Crichton's "lost manuscript" that was been published.

It is one of his historical fiction novels (much like "Great Train Robbery" or "Eaters of the Dead"). In this case the year is 1876 and the topic twofold. The first is the competition between Drs. Marsh and Cope. Marsh was a Yale man and Cope a Univ of Penn man. Both were Paleontologists. I had not realized just how recently, relatively speaking, the study of fossils and specifically dinosaurs are. It really only started in the late 1800's and these finds that the story is about were instrumental in forwarding our knowledge of the various dinosaur species. VERY interesting.

The second part of the story is describing the West. In 1876 the Wyoming/Montana territories were barely settled. Plains Indians roamed and hunted. This was the time of the Army campaigns against the Sioux and the Crow in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. This is a story about lost places like Deadwood. It's about a time when law and justice did not pass west of a certain demarcation line of civilization.
We not only are exposed to a West that hasn't existed for nearly one hundred years. We run into famous characters like Wyatt Erap and his brother. The time spent in Deadwood was instructive and entertaining. Rough place.

While the main protagonist-William Johnson is fictitious, the story behind the Marsh-Cope conflict ,as both chased fame and academic one-upsmanship, is based on true events. This was an early manuscript from Crichton and as such is not to the level of his later works. But it is still a great read. His hallmark style of fascinating information coupled with action is indeed here. I am glad this was published and glad to have added this to my Crichton collection.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,650 reviews406 followers
November 28, 2022
A wonderful read after recently watching Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

This has a prequel feeling of the original dinosaur finds in the West and encountering the Native Americans, and it was delightful to have accurate historical figures take prominence in the book with visits to locations of Montana and Deadwood.

If you have ever enjoyed a Michael Crichton book, then this one also starts off a little slow but then quickly gains steam as you get sucked into the wild west and the intrigue around the "teeth" and "rocks."

Solid 4 Stars
Profile Image for Colleen Fauchelle.
494 reviews60 followers
February 15, 2019
I havn't read any other Michael Chrichton's other books but of course I have seen all the movies and have loved every one.
This is what I like in a book real history in a fiction story with real people and places to set the story. I read and I have the computer beside me to look up the people and places it's my happy place. There is such a place as deadwood. The people were crazy brave back in the past and even though travel was slow and tough it didn't stop them from going out exploring.
This is set in 1876 William Johnson was hoping to go to Europe for summer break but instead finds himself traveling across America after another student dare's him to join Marsh on a dinosaur bone hunt. He leaves as a yale student and returns as a man having faced all sorts of dangers.
Profile Image for Megalion.
1,479 reviews45 followers
February 26, 2017
A previously unpublished book.

If you're expecting Jurassic Park, the prequel, you will not get it. This is a Wild West type of story.

To be more precise, a historical fiction tale set in the Wild West of 1880s about the literally cutthroat competition between 2 key figures in the hunt for dinosaur bones.

A rare step away from his normal speculative fiction back into the early days of dinosaur fossil hunting. What we now call palentology but with less bloodshed.

From his research, he presents a novelization of his interpretation of what happened in this real life clash over discovering dinosaurs.

Begins with an snotty rich college kid who gets "forced" into joining a dinosaur bone hunting expedition in order to save face among his peers.

Not a great start. Jerks like that, who needs them?
The first hook for me was that he dedicates himself to learning photography in order to be allowed into the very selective group.

Then there's the odd and seemingly paranoid stuff from the professor about credit stealing conspiracies.

From there, I don't think it's an unfair characterizion to say that he became Alice and fell down a rabbit hole lined with dinosaur bones and Indian arrows.

Not the best Crichton book ever, but a decent one and since he's been 6 feet under for almost a decade, I'LL TAKE IT!

Thank you to the publisher for the free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Chad.
7,722 reviews868 followers
February 16, 2020
Dragon Teeth is a posthumously published work of historical fiction from 1974. William Johnson is a student from Yale who heads West one summer on a bet. He hooks up with a paleontologist, Charles Marsh, headed out on a fossil hunting trip. He soon gets pulled into the real-life feud between Marsh and Edward Cope, the other leading paleontologist of the time. Out West, Johnson must overcome Indians, outlaws, and the Badlands, eventually winding up in Deadwood. This is very much a coming of age story for the young directionless Johnson. Once in Deadwood, he finds it impossible to leave and impossible to stay. Now he must figure out how to get out of Deadwood with his crates of fossils before he's waylaid by criminals or fossil hunters.

The Good: I loved the amount of historical fiction in the book and real-life characters Johnson comes across.

The Bad: This one takes a while to get started. There's not much characterization for the first half of the book and almost reads like a historical record.

The Ugly: Johnson meets an incredible number of scoundrels and reprobates as he treks the lawless West.

Received an advance copy from Harper and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♛ Garima ♛.
894 reviews178 followers
Want to read
April 4, 2017
Who is writing this book?

"Michael Crichton passed away from lymphoma in 2008. He was 66 years old."
Profile Image for Kandice.
1,533 reviews237 followers
May 6, 2021
That was a great read! It was fun and well researched and really had the voice of Crichton.

There was just enough truth to make the fiction feel like fact. It's easy to see how Crichton's love of dinosaurs and paleontology later turned out the Jurassic Park franchise which I adore. I'm not a big western fan, but it had never occurred to me that many fossils were found in the Badlands, despite our being introduced to Alan there in the opening scenes of JP. The Badlands of today, well the 1990's, is very different from the same Badlands depicted on these pages.

We are given glimpses into Custer and the Earp brothers' personalities and since none of them are alive to disagree, I have to say they seemed pretty plausible. The rivalry depicted between bone hunters Cope and Marsh was ridiculous. I had heard of them, of course, and knew there was some sort of hullabaloo, but as I read I felt Crichton must have exaggerated a bit. Not so! The PostScript and Afterword both attest to the fact that the rivalry was much more serious, more ridiculous, and severe than Crichton felt an audience would believe.

I find that every time I finish one of his books I end up spending hours on the computer or at the library looking up what he only hinted at, or didn't elaborate enough for me. For me, that is a testament to good writing.
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