I read this book a few years ago, and it features a most unusual lead character in a time period one would never consider for a piece of historical, make that, pre-historical fiction. The lead character is a Utahraptor, which we know only as “Red”, and the time setting is the lower Cretaceous period. Red has just lost her pack and mate due to an volcanic eruption in what could possibly be the western subcontinent that will become part of North America . There is much upheaval not only in the geological makeup of the land itself, but in the social structure of the creatures in Red’s lifetime. Utahraptors are very intelligent and social animals. They hunt in packs and mate for life, and this is Red’s tale to find a new place in her topsy-turvy world where just about anything can happen. In her search for a new clan and mate, she finds allies in her natural enemies when floods threaten to destroy them all. She encounters others of her kind, and fights for what she claims to be hers, as in a new, young mate. The dominance of the female Utahraptor is nothing to mess with, and when two female are fighting over one male, it goes beyond cat-fight. She evades larger predators, and finds her own happy ending, that is, about as happy as it can get for a carnivorous dinosaur. We could all learn some great survival skills from this tough lady.
Robert T. Bakker has given us one of the best lessons in paleontology in an amazingly creative manner, and even though the adult language here and there to describe Red’s world is peppered here and there, this book would be a great tool for natural science classes. Red is such a deep and strong character, for a dinosaur, that I really want to know whom else Mr. Bakker might be telling us about in other stories, but sadly, Raptor Red is his only “biography” so far.