David Walton is an author I’ve followed ever since I first read the fabulous The Genius Plague. Walton delivers time and again on hard sci-fi premises with just the right mix of taking itself seriously and campiness. Living Memory is another roaring adventure that absolutely nails the feel of hard science mixed with total insanity that makes books like this so much fun to read.
Walton asks a simple question with the main story of this book: what if dinosaurs really did have some sentient creatures among them, but didn’t have ways we could detect their presence among the bones we’ve found? He takes that premise and runs with it, delivering two parallel storylines that converge in the best ways. I can’t say a lot about one of them without spoiling too much, so suffice to say the second plot is great.
The primary story follows archaeologists as they make a series of startling discoveries that suggest there may have been intelligent dinosaurs. It turns out that some world governments are very interested in these findings, and the race is on to find out why and prevent mega-weapons from being developed. The premise is gripping, and the characters are well-written. There’s a lot of action here, as the archaeologists are set to dodging local and non-local authorities, dealing with corruption, and trying to figure out why they’re suddenly on the most-wanted lists.
Comparisons to Jurassic Park are inevitable. I can tell you these are wildly different works, though fans of the well-known Crichton novel should definitely sink their teeth into this one. Walton also nails the ending, sticking us with a potent plot point that has me yearning for the second book, which is already promised for next year (2023)!
Living Memory is a fast-paced read that still delivers on the nerdy goods of fake science. I can’t recommend it enough to fans of dinosaurs, hard sci-fi, or adventure novels.
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