Excerpt from The Dinosaur Feather by S J. Gazan, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Dinosaur Feather

by S J. Gazan

The Dinosaur Feather
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2013, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 544 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The conversation had occurred on the fifth day of the expedition by which time Anna had already gained a reputation for being something of a chess wizard. They played on a small board with horn pieces, which von Molsen had conjured up from the left-hand pocket of his jacket, opposite the one in which he kept his pipe, and he balanced the board on his right thigh. Anna had slipped up when, in an attempt to support Darwin's views, she had mentioned a fossil that wouldn't be discovered for another seventy-four years, and had, in order to cover up her gaffe, dug herself into an even bigger hole by citing the feathered dinosaur from China, which two Chinese paleontologists would find and describe 124 years into the future. At this point, von Molsen had become so outraged that he accidentally knocked his own queen off the board. Anna felt like banging her head against one of the tent poles. "We're talking serious science here, not tomfoolery and nonsense," von Molsen had sneered as he picked up his queen. Anna gave up. After all, it was just a dream.

From that day onward Anna's mood had gone steadily downhill and this morning when von Molsen, in an exuberant state of mind, started gesticulating toward England with his pipe, Anna decided that, as far as she was concerned, the excavation was over. She would return to Munich, eat a decent meal, then take the train back to Berlin and from there travel home to Copenhagen. She rubbed her eyes and tried to wake up, but the wind swept heedlessly across the Bavarian plain and von Molsen had turned ninety degrees north and reinserted his pipe. In the distance Anna saw a hare rise onto its hind legs to sniff the air before it disappeared into the scrub. She sighed.

During the day, when Anna was awake, the year was 2007, and she was enrolled in the master of science program at the College of Natural Science at the University of Copenhagen, more specifically at the department of Cell Biology and Comparative Zoology at the Institute of Biology, where she had spent the past year writing her dissertation on a scientific controversy which had been running for more than 150 years. Were birds present-day dinosaurs or did they originate from an even earlier primitive reptile? She had just handed in her dissertation and her dissertation defense was in two weeks. Scientific controversies were par for the course. People had argued whether the Earth was flat or round, whether man was related to the apes, the status of the Milky Way compared to the rest of the universe, with a fervor that ceased the moment sufficient evidence became available. The earth is round, man is a primate, and the Milky Way does mainly consist of red stars. However, the controversy surrounding the origins of birds appeared to be different. It rumbled on, even though, scientifically speaking, there was nothing left to discuss.

Von Molsen relit his pipe and the sweet tobacco aroma tickled Anna's nostrils. Someone started to make coffee. She could see and hear Daniel, one of the other students, clatter with a saucepan while he said something to von Molsen and hitched up his trousers, which tended to fall down. Daniel had been fairly chubby five weeks ago when the excavation began, but since then he had lived on the same food as everyone else: beans, oatmeal, cabbage, and coffee. Anna suspected that Daniel secretly questioned von Molsen's dismissal of natural selection. The day she had debated it with von Molsen and had completely shot herself in the foot by referring to the two as yet undiscovered fossils, she had exchanged glances with Daniel, who was standing a little further away pretending to secure a couple of guy ropes, and she thought she had detected something in his eyes. Something that told her he had genuine doubts as to whether Darwin's theory of natural selection was really as far-fetched as the older established scientists of the day were claiming.

Excerpted from The Dinosaur Feather by S J Gazan. Copyright © 2013 by S J Gazan. Excerpted by permission of Quercus. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Do No Harm
    by Henry Marsh
    British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh might already be familiar as the subject of the Emmy-winning ...
  • Book Jacket: Everybody's Fool
    Everybody's Fool
    by Richard Russo
    Written from multiple viewpoints, Everybody's Fool features an ensemble cast of inhabitants ...
  • Book Jacket: The Strings of Murder
    The Strings of Murder
    by Oscar de Muriel
    As Jack the Ripper eludes the police at Scotland Yard in London and all efforts to catch the most ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams

    The Roaring Twenties comes to life in this tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.