cover image Dinotopia Lost

Dinotopia Lost

Alan Dean Foster. Turner Publications Inc, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57036-279-8

With a film version of their adventures in development from Columbia Pictures, it's no surprise that the supremely intelligent and civilized dinos of James Gurney's slight but immensely popular illustrated fantasy yarns Dinotopia and The World Underneath are again tromping between book covers. What is an unexpected pleasure is Foster's storytelling this time out, so much more resourceful than in The Dig, the most recent of his many spinoffs and sequels. A band of pirates, lost at sea and led by the crafty and blustering Captain Brognar Blackstrap, invade the kingdom where dinos and humans live peaceably side by side. The brigands capture a family of dinosaurs, aiming to bring them back to England or the U.S., dead or alive. Their plans are foiled, however, by 18-year-old Will Denison, hero of Gurney's tales. In Foster's Swiftian take, the dinosaurs are moral, civilized beings, whereas humans can be brutish and dangerous. The pace is sometimes as slow as a stegosaurus, but this endearing tale should captivate readers with its imaginative storytelling and ecotopian message. 100,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.)