The Hand of Dinotopia by Alan Dean Foster, James Gurney |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Hand of Dinotopia

The Hand of Dinotopia

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by Alan Dean Foster, James Gurney

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A long-lost legend is found...

Will is a skybax rider, one of the elite couriers of Dinotopia, a land apart from time where humans and dinosaurs coexist in harmony. Protected for centuries by raging currents that wreck any ship that comes too close to its shores, this strange land is cut off from the outside world. When headstrong Sylvia


A long-lost legend is found...

Will is a skybax rider, one of the elite couriers of Dinotopia, a land apart from time where humans and dinosaurs coexist in harmony. Protected for centuries by raging currents that wreck any ship that comes too close to its shores, this strange land is cut off from the outside world. When headstrong Sylvia disappears in search of the legendary Hand of Dinotopia, a landmark that points toward clear sea passage to and from the island, Will follows her, accompanied by his four-footed Protoceratops companion, Chaz. Their quest for the Hand takes them to a startling destination where they're met with a choice as unexpected as the journey.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a film version of their adventures in development from Columbia Pictures, it's no surprise that the supremely intelligent and civilized dinos of James Gurney's slight but immensely popular illustrated fantasy yarns Dinotopia and The World Underneath are again tromping between book covers. What is an unexpected pleasure is Foster's storytelling this time out, so much more resourceful than in The Dig, the most recent of his many spinoffs and sequels. A band of pirates, lost at sea and led by the crafty and blustering Captain Brognar Blackstrap, invade the kingdom where dinos and humans live peaceably side by side. The brigands capture a family of dinosaurs, aiming to bring them back to England or the U.S., dead or alive. Their plans are foiled, however, by 18-year-old Will Denison, hero of Gurney's tales. In Foster's Swiftian take, the dinosaurs are moral, civilized beings, whereas humans can be brutish and dangerous. The pace is sometimes as slow as a stegosaurus, but this endearing tale should captivate readers with its imaginative storytelling and ecotopian message. 100,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
Dinotopia is a land where man and sentient dinosaur live together in harmony. If your rational mind can get past that quantum leap, this book might appeal to you. On the hidden island called Dinotopia, dinosaurs never died out; rather, they adapted and evolved, developing intelligence equal or greater than their human companions. Humans occasionally shipwrecked on the island and usually learn to live the Dinotopian way. When Brognar Blackstrap and his band of pirates find themselves stranded, however, their greed and avarice threaten to destroy the peace. Soon, the scheming pirates have kidnapped several smaller dinosaurs and are demanding a ransom. In this fantasy adventure tale, based on James Gurney's "Dinotopia" series, Foster introduces interesting characters, both human and saurian. Eighteen-year-old Will Denison enlists on a dangerous rescue mission along with a Struthiomimus, a cranky Protoceratops, and two worried Tyrannosaur parents. And if facing a brigand of murderous pirates isn't enough, Will and his fellow rescuers must battle a once-in-a-generation storm. In the end, Will and his friends prevail upon the pirates to see the error of their ways, and Dinotopia is saved. 1998 (orig.
Will Denison is searching for his fiancée, Sylvia, who has taken off for the desert. She is on a quest to find the legendary Hand of Dinotopia, said to point the way to safe sea passage to and from the island. Of course, Will's translator and reluctant companion, Protoceratops Chaz, is ordered to accompany him. They find Sylvia, trek across the desert, are kidnapped by nomads, chased by raptors, and teach a rogue band of Deinonychus to fish, and they do indeed discover the Hand. After seeing bas-relief depiction of the horrific war that resulted from the passage's use years before, they decide that their discovery is best reported to and handled by the proper Dinotopian authorities. A charming bit of Dinotopian lore; I would wish for more than the one pencil sketch. Sure to be a hit with teens watching the TV show. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, HarperCollins, Avon, 409p., Hoy
Library Journal
Although previous friendly dinosaur works (e.g., Dinotopia, Turner Pub.) were more popular among children than adults, this installment by a best-selling sf writer (e.g., The Spoils of War, LJ 4/15/93) should have wide appeal.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Following up on Dinotopia Lost (HarperCollins, 1998) with this doorstopper sequel set in the idyllic land of intelligent dinosaurs created by Gurney, Foster sends his intrepid protagonists Will and Sylvia from harsh desert to steamy rain forest in search of the fabled Hand-rumored to be a key to the sole safe passage between Dinotopia and the outside world. As can be expected from this veteran author, it's a smoothly crafted tale with an entertainingly contentious supporting cast, grandly formal language ("You claim there is something out there, Sylvia. Let us go and find it"), and replete with jawbreaking dinosaur nomenclature and a plot urged along at a steady, if deliberate, pace by well-timed adventures and discoveries. What makes this effort practically unique among epic fantasy is its lack of an evil adversary. Aside from an encounter with a threatening band of painted, spear-bearing deinonychids, the weaponless expedition faces only the occasional flash flood, giant centipede, or other natural hazard. Ultimately, the quest is successful, but with the revelation that the Hand's passage was concealed after an ancient war with human invaders, Will, Sylvia, and their scaled companions turn back in dismay-until the next sequel, perhaps. The story's (mostly) gentle dinosaurs and underlying pacificism make a rare break from the swords-and-monsters routine.-John Peters, New York Public Library
Roland Green
Born with the wonderfully illustrated children's-book-for-all-ages that gave it its name, the Dinotopia phenomenon has produced two best-selling books, is incubating a feature film, and now hatches a novel by prolific and popular fantasist Foster. Lacking the added dimension of artwork that made the first two Dinotopia books so dazzling, the book is still a well-told tale. It continues the sentimental environmental utopianism and dinosaur-hugging of its predecessors and reasonable amounts of their wit and ingenuity, too. The plot revolves around a band of pirates whose ship miraculously survives the reefs around Dinotopia and who set out to turn what they find there to profit. Will Denison, the nineteenth-century discoverer of the symbiotic human-saurian society, is dragged into taking a leading part in defeating the pirates, most of whom are converted to the Dinotopian way of life (the rest are converted into dino munchies, especially on account of their less-than-brilliant kidnapping of a baby "T. Rex"). Although the saurian characters are better limned than the human ones, Foster's addition to Dinotopiana will agreeably reward the fantastic place's many fans.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Dinotopia Series
Edition description:
1st Edition
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.43(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Sy1via's missing."

The words echoed in Will Denison's head as he repeated them to himself, over and over. No matter how many times he spun them through his mind, they still made no sense. The force of repetition could not hammer them into anything that made sense.

The utterly unexpected and irrational revelation had hit him hard, all the more so because everything had been going so well: not only between them, but in his new life in general. As if that were not enough, it was an exceptionally beautiful day.

Now, the assertion on the tiny message scroll that had been delivered to him had shattered the feeling of peace and contentment that had been luxuriating within.

The other passengers on the ferry ignored the silent, brooding skybax rider. A few took notice of his distraught expression and were sympathetic, but no one approached him. It would have been impolite to interrupt his contemplation. Not knowing the cause of his distress, it would have been presumptuous of any of them to offer any kind of solace or condolences. Privacy was a valued commodity in Dinotopia, one no one could put a price on.

The ferry was embarked on its regular morning run between Belluna, the principal town on Grand Isle, and Sauropolis, the capital of Dinotopia. The large, square canvas sail of the modified Roman galley billowed in the steady breeze that blew down the Polongo River as her oars rose and dipped in time to the beat bleated out by the energetic young Parasauralopbus in the hold. The customary winsome drone was clearly audible up on deck.

As the ferry cruised close to the north shore, humans and dinosaurscould be observed working side by side to gather the bounty of the great river. Using their flat bills, hadrosaurs, edmontosaurs, krittosaurs, trachodonts and others slogged their way through the reed-choked shallows, probing the sand and mud in tandem with swimming humans.

Upon locating a cluster of oysters, clams, or crabs, the duckbills would proceed to root them out. Those shellfish not gathered gently in long, flat bills would be netted or pulled from hiding places by the human divers. Heavy canvas sacks strapped to the backs of the big duckbills bulged with the river's abundance. Young men and women armed with flat-tipped knives were busy prying the more recalcitrant shellfish from their underwater perches.

Farther inland, where the shore became even more marshy and the footing difficult, humans riding camarasaurs and apatosaurs filled sacks suspended from massive flanks with hand-gathered wild rice. While the great sauropods were not averse to devouring the harvest right out of the marsh, like their human companions they much preferred the final, threshed product.

As they grazed, men and women riding on swings suspended just above the waterline used delicate primate fingers to pluck the rice. When gathering baskets were full, they were hauled up onto the lumbering, slowly rolling broad saurian backs by other humans waiting there, and the accumulated rice dumped into larger sacks secured to small storage buildings. In this fashion a single sauropod and its attendant human crew could harvest an area that would take dozens of humans working from many boats an entire day to process.

The shellfish gatherers and rice harvesters looked up frequently from their work to wave to the passengers on passing boats, including those aboard the ferry. Children and parents watching from the railings waved back, but Will did not join them. His thoughts had been turned to unpleasant possibilities.

The message had arrived, literally, like a bolt from the blue. Well, like a sheaf of paper from the blue, anyway, he corrected himself. The ferry had hardly left Belluna when Will, soaking up the morning sun on deck, had heard the little girl standing just forward of him cry out, "Look, mother -- there's a skybax without a rider!"

While it was not unusual to see the great skybaxes at play or simply out exercising their vast wings, this was not a common sight in the immediate vicinity of Sauropolis. The skies above the capital were usually filled with resolute riders either departing for or returning from the distant corners of Dinotopia. Lifting an idle glance skyward, Will was shocked to see that the circling, soaring Quetzalcoatlus was none other than his very own skybax, the noble great-winged Cirrus.

While visiting friends in Belluna, he had left Cirrus behind at the main Sauropolis skybax rookery. What had prompted his membranous partner and companion to come looking for its rider on his own?

Utilizing the whistling calls he had learned from Oolu, the master skybax instructor, Will had finally managed to gain Cirrus's attention. To the delight of the human and saurian youngsters on board the ferry, the skybax had responded with a direct dive at the boat, folding its wings and dropping steeply, only to open them again at the last moment to sail majestically past the bow. The plunge was designed to do more than spawn squeals of delight from the assembled children on board, however.

The tightly bound scroll that Cirrus dropped on deck was caught by a fast-moving crewman, who was quickly joined by Will. Sure enough, it was intended for him. Expecting to find himself reading some sort of official communique, he was stunned to discover that the enclosure was a personal message directed to him. He read it twice to make certain he had not misunderstood.

Now the import of it churned his thoughts as he stood at the railing, watching the teams of humans and dinosaurs harvesting the bounty of the riverbank, seeing but not hearing the men and saurians handling the smaller river craft like dhows and paddleboats that hugged the shore. One small fishing boat pulled alongside the ferry while several handsome jawless fishes were passed to eager customers on board. Will paid no more attention to the brisk commerce than he had to a passing, frolicking school of ichthyosaurs.

Sylvia was missing.

The Hand of Dinotopia. Copyright © by Alan Foster. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Alan Dean Foster is the author of Dinotopia Lost, and The Hand of Dinotopia, which are based on Dinotopia and Dinotopia: The World Beneath, written and illustrated by James Gurney. Mr. Foster has written novelizations of many popular fantasy and science fiction films, including Star Wars and the Alien films. He and his family live in Prescott, AZ.

James Gurney's fantasy art has appeared on the covers of more than 70 books, and his art appears regularly in National Geographic. He is the author and illustrator of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, Dinotopia: The World Beneath, and is currently working on his third Dinotopia book, which will be published in Fall 2000. He lives in the Hudson Valley of New York State with his family.

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The Hand of Dinotopia 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the Dinotopia series- I have read all of them. This was a very good book because it is a longer version for older readers, yet it has same subjects as the series. I definately suggest it for anyone because you do not need to read any of the other Dinotopia books to understand it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was oneof the greatest trek stories I have ever read. Most 'survivor' stories are such that nothing bad happens to the characters. I prefer a story in which the charactrs have to struggle in order to stay alive. My tastes were satifyed with this book. I can highly recommend this book to any readers who enjoy fantasy books and 'good yarns.'