IMAGINE THE WORLD AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN…
THE WORLD WEST OF
From a master of imaginative storytelling comes an epic tale of the world as it might have been, a world were the age of dinosaurs never ended, and their descendants clashed with a clan of humans in a tragic war for survival.
It is the tale of Kerrick, a young hunter who grows to manhood among the dinosaurs, escaping at last to rejoin his own kind. His knowledge of their strange customs makes him the humans’ leader, the dinosaurs’ most feared enemy.
West of Eden is the start of a trilogy of novels set on an alternate earth where the dinosaurs never went extinct and have survived to the modern day. The asteroid (or comet) that killed off the great reptiles missed entirely, so mammals never got the chance to take over. One group of reptiles, the mosasaurs, have evolved into the intelligent but cold-blooded Yilane. However, humans also have evolved in
West of Eden is essentially a more literary take on One Million Years B.C., although
What works best about the novel is the Yilane.
Given the effort he put into his villains, it’s too bad
That said, West of Eden still works as an old-fashioned adventure story with a good sense of wonder. The Yilane are appropriately evil (although they do have good individuals), and it’s easy to sympathize with the Stone Age humans who are trying to avoid genocide at the hands of a technologically superior race. The only let down story-wise is the deus ex machina ending. It’s a book worth reading, even if more science-literate readers will be left wishing
- West of Eden was republished in 2004, although I’ve never had any trouble finding copies of the book in used-book stores.
- The author’s web site is www.harryharrison.com
- West of Eden has a Wikipedia entry.
- The only ones I can find spoil the ending, so I'm not linking to them.