Reviewed by Shona Kinsella
This book is a classic example of portal fantasy. We start off with Dr Anna Fayne and ex-SEAL Eric Slade setting off on a mission to discover more about mysterious happening including disappearing planes and the discovery of Neanderthal corpses. While on the exploration, their helicopter is pulled into a storm of black flames and crashes in another world.
This is where things got a bit confusing. The party supposedly survive in a strange world, surrounded by dinosaurs, for two years before the story rejoins them and straight away my suspension-of-disbelief was stretched to breaking point. Especially since they seem to still be wearing the same clothes and using the same weapons.
This book has many fascinating ideas; the frogmen, the founders, the Neanderthal civilisation, zombies, cyborgs, dinosaurs, magic and dragons. I’m just not convinced that they all belong in one book as none of them seemed to get the time or development that they deserved.
The characters had the potential to be very interesting but in the end, fell short for me so that I couldn’t really empathise with any of them. I suspect that this was because so much was jammed into the plot, the pace was break-neck, even in a fairly substantial book.
I really wanted to enjoy this story more than I did. The author did some great world-building and obviously has a lot of ideas but it just didn’t come together for me. Having said all that, the writing was clean enough that I would give another book by Cavallo a chance.