Unpublished Michael Crichton Novel Dragon Teeth to be Published by HarperCollins

Posted on July 30, 2016

Michael Crichton photo

An unpublished manuscript by the late Michael Crichton has surfaced and HarperCollins has snapped up the rights to the novel. The book is called Dragon Teeth and is based on the real-life rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. The dueling scientists were part of the great Bone Wars in the American West in and around 1878.

The novel adds a young fictional character named William Johnson, who apprentices to both men one after the other. Johnson is the hero of the story whose historic find changes everything. The two paleontologists left behind detailed notes of their adventures and Crichton weaves the real life story into something more.

Crichton's widow Sherri Crichton explained how excited she was when she found the manuscript in her late husband's files: "When I came across the Dragon Teeth manuscript in the files, I was immediately captivated. It has Michael's voice, his love of history, research and science all dynamically woven into an epic tale."

She said that the book was clearly very important to her husband. She found correspondence between her husband and Professor Edwin H. Colbert, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History which sheds more light on the novel.

Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham described the novel this way: "This is pure Crichton, the work of an exuberant imagination operating at full blast, taking readers on a ride into a world of wild adventure, with a plot full of exciting twists and turns, and a host of memorable characters. It harkens back to some of the great historical novels that Michael wrote – such as The Great Train Robbery – but it also looks forward to Crichton fiction that explored more futuristic scenarios." He promises that Crichton fans will be "very happy" with the novel, which hits bookshelves in May, 2017.

Photo: Jonathan Exley