Fossil Hunter: Book Two of The Quintaglio Ascension Paperback – Feb 10 2005
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From Library Journal
While a young archaeologist unearths information that may help his people save their race from cosmic destruction, a battle for planetary leadership theatens to undermine the fabric of Quintaglio society. This sequel to Far-Seer (Ace, 1992), set on a planet where dinosaurs evolved as the dominant species, explores the repercussions of a peoples' discovery of their true origins. Doctrines of evolution and creationism clash in an unexpected context in this thoughtful and compelling sf adventure, which belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Every bit as good as its excellent predecessor."-Science Fiction Chronicle on Fossil Hunter
"A superlative science fiction novel. Strongly recommended."-The Toronto Star on Fossil Hunter
"Doctrines of evolution and creationism clash in this thoughtful and compelling SF adventure."- (Library Journal)
"A superlative science fiction novel. Strongly recommended." (Toronto Star)
"Every bit as good as its excellent predecessor." (Science Fiction Chronicle) See all Product Description
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Fossil-Hunter is the second book of Sawyer's Quitaglio Ascension. Sawyer brings back the fascination to Science Fiction that I haven't experienced since I was a young teenage boy reading Norton and Heinlein. The next book in the trilogy is Foreigner: Book Three of the Quintaglio Ascension The first book is Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio AscensionIn Fossil-Hunter
Sawyer borrows elements from real History to add bits and pieces to his characterizations. In this one he borrows bits and pieces from Shackleton's Antarctic exploration, a little Charles Darwin, a blind Sherlock Holmes (I realize that Holmes was fictional), and a little David and Goliath and even a little Rocky Balboa ( another fictional character). This time the characters include not only Afsan, but also, his children, Toroca,et al.
In this book, Sawyer introduces the Watcher, a character that is even more important in his book Calculating God.
Next comes Foreigner, Oh, Joy.
I strongly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next one. Can you tell?
I immediately orderred "Iterations: And Other Stories" to see what Sawyer's Short Stories are like. You might want to,too. This guy is good!
Gunner April, 2007
Toroca's father, Afsan, is meanwhile caught up in the defense of the Emperor of the Quintaglio. Facing more than simply a palace revolution, the future of the Quintaglio people may be hanging in the balance. Challenged by a brother to relinquish the throne, Dybo is coached by Afsan in preparation for a test of strength to answer the challenge. As so often happens, cunning, not strength, is the determining factor in the outcome. Afsan must also confront the novelty of murder, rare in Quintaglio society. Adding to the stress is the fact that the victims are his own children.
Sawyer develops the theme of a society alien to ours, but with significant parallels. His tactics in presenting the Quintaglio are effective. It's an interesting concept. The trilogy makes a good addition to any speculative fiction collection.
The problems of leadership and acceptance of differnt ideas are central to the Fossil Hunter. Sometimes you can avoid death by standing still after studying the enemy. It is a terrific set up to the conclusion of trhe series. I highly recommend the entire Quintaglio series.
In the previous volume, Asfan is an apprentice astrologer. His master is Tak-Saleed, the Royal Astrologer, a very contrary and overbearing Quintaglio. But he has done some brilliant work.
Asfan has wanted to be an astrologer since he discovered the night sky. He has been an apprentice to Saleed longer than any of the previous six. Yet sometimes he just has to get away from his master and be alone. On those occasions, he goes to a hillside outside the Capitol on an even night (when almost everyone is sleeping) to watch the stars and other celestial objects pass overhead.
Returning from one such escape, Asfan finds his master arguing with a former crechemate. After commenting on his (usual) tardiness, Saleed introduces Asfan to Captain Var-Keenir, a legendary shipmaster. Asfan is very impressed, for everybody has heard about Keenir and his ship, the Dasheter.
After Keenir leaves, Saleed mentions the device that they had been arguing about: a tube with lens at both ends that makes distant objects appear closer. Saleed dismisses this so-called "far-seer" as unnecessary to a practicing astrologer; everything he would need to know is recorded in the works of the ancients.
In this novel, Kee-Toroca is a son of Afsan and Novato. Toroca is the head of the Geological Survey of the Land.
Sal-Afsan is the first astronomer. Afsan had determined that their planet would break up within five hundred kilodays. Since he was blinded, he uses the monitor lizard Gork to guide him.
Wab-Novato was the inventor of the Far-seer. Now Novato has been appointed as head of the exodus project. Like most females, Novato laid eight eggs. When they hatched, all eight siblings were allowed to live.
Haldan is a female sibling of Toroca. She is a naturalist.
Delphas and Spalton are geologists in the Geological Survey. They are on Toroca's team.
Dy-Dybo is the Emperor. Dybo had inherited the throne early when his mother died.
Dy-Roclox is the Governor of Edz'toolar Province. Roclox had also inherited his title early when the former governor died.
Dak-Forgool is a eminent geologist and fossil hunter. Forgool has recently been assigned to the Geological Survey.
Wab-Babnol is a fossil hunter. Babnol is Forgool's apprentice.
Var-Keenir is the captain of the Dasheter. Keenir is taking the Geological Survey team to the South Pole.
The Watcher is an immaterial being from the previous universe. He has absorbed enough dark matter to effect ordinary matter. He has been sending organic and biological samples from Crucible -- the first planet to develop life -- to other planets for billions of years.
In this story, the Watcher has separated dinosaurs from mammals. Both were becoming more intelligent, but the mammals had reached a limit. They needed to become larger for their brains to develop, but dinosaurs occupied all the available slots. So the Watcher sent samples to different planets to allow them to evolve without competition.
Toroca and his team are in Far'toolar Province searching for fossils below the chalk line now called the Bookmark layer. No fossils have ever been found below the Bookmark, but plenty were found within and above it. The geologists believe that the chalk layer marks the first life on the planet.
Toroca notices that two of his Surveyors are bobbing their torsos up and down. Obviously they had come too close to each other and now are in the frenzy of dagamant. The quintaglios have a territorial instinct, but Toroca doesn't seem to have this instinct.
Toroca separates the two geologists. Spalton is weak from the loss of blood, but Delphas asks how he could get so close to them. Toroca doesn't bother to answer her.
He leaves immediately to meet Forgool in Otok. As he is waiting, he notices someone coming toward him. Since the quintaglio is female, she obviously could not be Forgool.
Babnol greets him and says that Forgool had died from a fever. She is Fargool's apprentice and volunteers to become Fargool's replacement. She is not a geologist, but is a collector of fossils. She has sketched various fossils with a talented hand.
Toroca returns to the beach with Babnol. It is a long walk and gives him time to learn more about Babnol. When he reaches the team, he introduces Babnol to each of the others.
Toroca continues his search for fossils below the Bookmark. He finds a blue hemisphere just below the chalk layer. Obviously it has been buried for a long time.
The blue object also is obviously a manufactured object. Toroca finds a way to open it, but doesn't find any gears or other moving parts. Also, it has a handgrip designed for someone with six fingers. Toroca is puzzled, but takes it along to show to the engineers.
Toroca is waiting for Keenir to bring Dasheter to pick them up for the trip to the South Pole. Since the offshore beach drops rapidly, the ship stays further out. The passengers are picked up by smaller boats.
Meanwhile, Roclox interrupts a parade by blocking the progress of the Emperor. Roclox asserts that he is the sibling of Dybo. Then he challenges Dybo to a duel.
Dybo goes to Afsan at his thinking area, the Rockscape. Afsan gets Dybo to admit that Roclox is probably right about being his sibling. Yet this does not prove that Dybo wasn't rightfully selected to be the Emperor.
This tale takes Afsan to Haldan's apartment building. She had been very late for an appointment with him. He finds Haldan dead in the apartment.
Gork is very upset by the spilled blood. The next installment in this sequence is Foreigner.
Highly recommended for Sawyer fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of geological surveys, political intrigues, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin