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Dragon Teeth, an unpublished novel by the late Michael Crichton, has been acquired by HarperCollins for publication in May 2017, the publisher announced Thursday.
The story is a fictional telling of the notorious real-life rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh in the 1870s at the beginning of the hunt for dinosaur fossils. Crichton uses the invented character William Johnson, who works as an assistant for one and then the other, to illuminate “the ‘Bone Wars,’ the golden age of American fossil hunting, as the basis for a thrilling story set in the wilds of the American West,” the publisher said in a statement.
Crichton, who died in 2008, was among the best-selling authors of his generation, known for Jurassic Park, Congo, Timeline and many other books. He also was responsible for the screenplay for Twister (1996) and was one of the creators and executive producers of the TV series ER. Crichton directed the 1973 film Westworld, which was based on his original screenplay, and a TV series version created by Jonathan Nolan is scheduled to premiere in October on HBO.
Dragon Teeth is the third posthumous book from Crichton. The first, Pirate Latitudes, came out in 2009 and the second, Micro (completed by Richard Preston), came out in 2011.
Crichton’s widow Sherri, who has been managing the prolific author’s archive via her company CrichtonSun, said, “When I came across the Dragon Teeth manuscript in the files, I was immediately captivated. It has Michael’s voice, his love of history, research and science all dynamically woven into an epic tale.” She added it “was clearly a very important book for Michael.”
Said publisher Jonathan Burham: “This is pure Crichton, the work of an exuberant imagination operating at full blast, taking readers on a ride into a world of wild adventure, with a plot full of exciting twists and turns, and a host of memorable characters. It harkens back to some of the great historical novels that Michael wrote — such as The Great Train Robbery — but it also looks forward to Crichton fiction that explored more futuristic scenarios.”
Sloan Harris and Jennifer Joel of ICM Partners and Michael S. Sherman of Reed Smith LLP represented Sherri Crichton and CrichtonSun. Publisher Jonathan Burnham and executive editor Jennifer Barth represented Harper.
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