Review: The Dinosaur Hunters by Patrick Samphire

Review: The Dinosaur Hunters by Patrick SamphireThe Dinosaur Hunters
on 16 June 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: ebook
Goodreads

Mystery, murder, and adventure on Mars…

Mars in 1815 is a world of wonders, from the hanging ballrooms of Tharsis City to the air forests of Patagonian Mars, and from the ice caves of Noachis Terra to the Great Wall of Cyclopia, beyond which dinosaurs still roam.

Sixteen-year-old Harriet George has never had the chance for an adventure. Now her older sister is determined to marry her off. Harriet can’t think of anything worse.

Meanwhile, her brother-in-law, Bertrand, has a problem. He’s never been much of a police inspector. As far as Harriet knows, Bertrand has never caught a criminal in his life. But now the famous jewel thief, the Glass Phantom, has come to Mars, and Bertrand has been given the job of tracking him down. If he fails, Bertrand will lose his job and the whole family will be ruined.

Harriet will not let that happen.

So she comes up with a plan: she will capture the Glass Phantom herself. Even if that mean that she and Bertrand have to follow the thief’s intended victim, the Countess von Krakendorff, on a dinosaur hunt in the perilous Martian wilderness. But there is far more going on in this expedition than mere robbery, and the dinosaurs are not the greatest danger.

If Harriet cannot solve the mystery, her family won't just be ruined. She and Bertrand may not make it out of the wilderness alive.

The Dinosaur Hunters is a thrilling adventure set in the world of Secrets of the Dragon Tomb.

Dinosaurs, Mars, and a Regency society. You need skill to make a setting like this work, but Patrick Samphire writes it convincingly. Meet Harriet George, a clever sixteen-year-old girl, and an assistant to her brother in law, a detective with the local police force.

This isn’t the first story of Harriet George I read. Patrick Samphire had another story in the brilliant anthology The Underwater Ballroom Society. It was my second favourite story in there, with the first being written by his wife, the wonderful Stephanie Burgis. Patrick was kind enough to send me The Dinosaur Hunters as a review copy.

Harriet is a delightful character and I can’t wait to read more about her. The two novellas aren’t nearly enough to get to know her well. I’m sure that she’ll surprise us with her wit and humour in future stories as well.

The world that Samphire has created is intriguing. I love books set in a Regency society (Pride and Prejudice is still one of my favourites), but I’d never think to transfer that to Mars. The added steampunk elements make the world more interesting as well. I love what Samphire did and how well he did it. The world is very much alive and he wants you to explore it with him.

Mysteries aren’t my usual genre, but I do enjoy a good mystery when the reveal is surprising. I didn’t immediately guess the reveal in this one, although a more experienced mystery reader might have picked up on it. I wish the story was longer with more room to sidetrack or misdirect the reader from the reveal. I just want more.

The Dinosaur Hunters has earned four and a half stars. The surprising setting and great execution are enough to make this book enjoyable. I’ll definitely read more by Patrick Samphire and the world he created on Mars. Secrets Of The Dragon Tomb is the first novel in another series with the same setting.

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