Tens of millions of years before the earliest humans would tread the same earth, a giant theropod lowered its snout to the forest floor and sniffed.
It was almost time.
A second, more urgent, need now joined the bitter hunger already clawing away in its stomach. The big dinosaur arched its neck skyward and stared with unblinking eyes through the edges of the forest to the flood plain below. Soon a small parcel of air laced with promise of warm flesh and brittle bone streamed through its nostrils.
Dinosaur Knights brings together the past, the even further past and the near future. An ambitious team of scientists, backed by private interests, hope to transport a live dinosaur to the future by stretching time. A sceptical investigative journalist has been flown in from Australia to record the anticipated culmination of years of research. The viewpoint changes constantly as the reader experiences life in the different time zones. In the future, the journalist seeks to understand the motivation for wanting a live dinosaur. In the middle ages, twin boys of complementary natures (one a would-be warrior, the other a would-be healer) struggle to save their father from a corrupt official. And in the prehistoric past, a carnivore dinosaur hunts. Tension escalates as a thread is pulled through all three times.
Knights, dinosaurs and modern science are an unusual combination given their existences didn’t ever overlap. Or did they? Bauer postulates a scientific ‘what if?’ and creates a film scene-like story where the impossible happens. The short chapters and scene-shifting from time period to time period keeps the pace a-cracking. Symbols at the start of each chapter make it clear which period is hosting the action. Then it changes when the dinosaur is stranded in the middle ages and the chapter headings cue the viewpoint character/s. Quotes from Einstein accompany each of the three parts. Along the way, morals and ethics are examined – in an age appropriate way – and provide ample opportunity for discussion. In the future, the scientist and the journalist both investigate in their own way. In the middle ages, two boys suffer for the politicking of others in the castle and in the time of the dinosaurs, the therapod seeks to survive. A thrilling story which lasts beyond the final words. Recommended for upper primary readers.
Dinosaur Knights, Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books 2009
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