Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Here There Be Dragons

Imagine, if you will, that myths are often based on some form of reality. Imagine more, if you will, that a myth that has appeared in all corners of the world with little difference between the different details told by isolated civilizations millennia apart. With that imagination at work, you have the start of a thriller of a book, The Great Zoo of China, by Matthew Reilly.

Reilly has brought to life a myth that does span many civilizations and human era. Dragons. The Chinese have found real dragons and have decided the way to finally surpass the United States is to out-do Disneyland/Disney World. Hence the great zoo centered on real, live, fierce looking but "trained" but not tamed, dragons. Reilly acknowledges his debt to Jurassic Park, so don't think of it as a rip-off of that novel. Think of it as another attempt to bring myth to life.

So what could go wrong?

Everything of course. I will not spoil any of it for you. It is a true sci-fi thriller as one of the pre-grand opening press junkets is there when things fall apart and an American woman reptile expert gets caught in the middle. As does the US Ambassador to China, his aide and the scientist's brother. It starts early in the book and doesn't let up until the end. A roller coaster of fun and edge-of-your-seat writing.

In the interview at the back of the book Reilly says he wants to write books that you can speed through. Amen to that. He succeeds.

Sure it is fiction. We all know that, but he did get me thinking-

where did all those similar stories about dragons really come from?

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