Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thunder of Time by James F. David (2006)

Note: This is a sequel to Footprints of Thunder, reviewed below.

Hardback cover blurb

Ten years ago, the prehistoric past collided with the present as huge swaths of the Cretaceous Period were transported into the world of the twentieth century. Entire neighborhoods and cities were replaced by dense primeval jungles. Humanity suddenly found itself sharing the earth with fierce dinosaurs – with catastrophic results. In the end, desperate measures were taken to halt the disruptions, and the crisis appeared to be over.

Until now.

Slowly at first, but with increasing frequency, time begins to unravel once more, and dinosaurs again roam the earth. What’s worse, Nick Paulson, director of the newly formed Office of Security Science, uncovers evidence that the time displacements are being manipulated by unknown parties, utilizing a technology as yet unexplainable by modern science. The very integrity of the space-time continuum appears to be at risk.

To preserve both the future and the past, Nick and his allies must seek out the answers to a mind-bending mystery whose secrets lie hidden within in a lost temple at the center of a dinosaur-infested jungle… and in an enigmatic structure on the surface of the moon. But they are not alone in their quest. A cult of ruthless fanatics is also intent on controlling the time waves, and they will stop at nothing to reshape history to their own design…

My thoughts

Thunder of Time
is a sequel to David’s first novel, Footprints of Thunder. When the sequel came out in 2006, I was pretty hard on it at Amazon.com, and I make no apologies for that. Usually an author improves after his first novel as he refines his skills and his storytelling techniques. Thunder of Time, however, is a major step backward for David.

The novel is just badly written. Bad prose, bad pacing, bad characterization – you name it. The author throws in a literal army of throwaway characters to serve as dinosaur chow, so unlike the first novel, where you were not sure who would make it to the end, it’s pretty easy to figure out who’s going to be living happily ever after when this book is over. That saps a lot of the fun out of it.

Also taking away from the fun is the political stereotyping. David is obviously a political conservative of the Rush Limbaugh persuasion, so anyone shown as having the slightest environmentalist leanings is portrayed as either a buffoon or evil, while at one point, we have a good guy tell us about his decision to become a Christian. When an author, liberal or conservative, needs to resort to such simplistic caricatures to make a point, that’s simply lazy writing.

The worst sin of all is the treatment of the dinosaurs. Despite all the weird and wonderful dinos he could have picked to include his novel, David pretty much sticks to T. rexes and velociraptors – and the Hollywood version of velociraptors at that, given they are portrayed much larger than the real thing. Call me a snob, but I prefer my authors to put a little more research into a work rather than just renting a DVD of Jurassic Park.

I really can’t recommend Thunder of Time to anyone. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Footprints of Thunder instead. It is far more enjoyable.



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