Remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World
, in which an expedition led by Professor George Edward Challenger discovered an Amazonian plateau where dinosaurs still roamed? In Dinosaur Summer
, Greg Bear assumes that Challenger's expedition really took place, and that for nearly 50 years dinosaurs have been relatively commonplace in zoos and circuses throughout the world. But the beasts are not easily kept in captivity, and slowly but surely their numbers are dwindling. Now there is only one dinosaur circus left, and it's shutting down. The dinosaur trainer wants to return his animals to the wild, so an expedition is organized to return the dinos to their nearly inaccessible plateau. Accompanying the group (which includes special-effects master Ray Harryhausen) is 15-year-old Peter Belzoni, the son of the National Geographic
photographer covering the story. The boy is about to have the adventure of a lifetime.
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From Kirkus Reviews
Fantasy built on a fantasyin Bear's alternative 1947, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World wasn't fiction, but fact!mingling real and imaginary characters with a quite unbelievable hodgepodge of defiantly unextinct beasties from the Carboniferous on up. Circus Lothar, the last dinosaur circus, is closing down, and its animal trainer, Vince Shellabarger, is determined to return his charges to their home, the isolated Venezuelan plateau of El Grande discovered by Professor Challenger in 1912. National Geographic's Anthony Belzoni will cover the event, assisted by his 15-year-old son Peter. Filming the cavalcade will be Willis ``OBie'' O'Brien (of King Kong fame) and special effects/animation genius Ray Harryhausen. The tough journey is made more difficult by the Venezuelan Army's quarrel with both the politicos and the local Indians. Still, the expedition reaches the rickety bridge leading on to El Grande, and most of the animals cross safely. But Dagger, a vicious predator, escapes from his cage; predictably, the bridge falls, marooning Peter, Anthony, OBie, Ray, and Billie, an Indian pursuing a spirit quest. After various adventuresthe group is menaced by critters ranging from giant salamanders and hungry therapsids to huge ``death eagles''they make it back, minus assorted limbs and teeth, bearing a couple of precious eggs. Amiable, sometimes stirring incident-packed baloney: a yarn that screams I wanna be a movie! (illustrations) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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