Michael Potts' Rating
2.5 / 4
A tale of two civilizations and a third way. Three palaenontologists find evidence for a Dinosauran civilization and uncover messages and artefacts from 65 million years ago. When they find viable dinosauran eggs they run from military agencies, to save our past and future, and the hunt begins - - -. John Coppinger is a sculptor and designer for movies and museums. He sculpted Jabba the Hutt for Star Wars and the Diva for The 5th Element. Tertiary is his first novel.
Michael: It is not everyday that you get the opportunity to read and review a novel written by the sculptor of the fearsome gluttonous slug gangster, affectionately known as ‘Jabba the Hutt’. I jumped at the chance; I anticipated delving into a novel written from the mind of the artist who helped shape an iconic image that has stayed in the collective consciousness of fandom for decades.
Tertiary was originally intended to be a film, and I could tell in the early stages of the novel that the book had evolved from a script. The novel is an admirable first effort from John Coppinger, and I look forward to reading future fiction from this multi-talented artist.
I'll be honest that it took me a very long time to read Tertiary, for a few reasons. I have a very busy reading schedule, I work shift work, and unfortunately, I left the novel in my car at work one day, and the Darwin heat didn't agree with the book, and the binding fell apart. Nevertheless, it made for an interesting 'serial' read and I was engrossed with a few pages per day.
The structure of the novel resembles the ‘NJO: Force Heretic’ trilogy with the book being broken up into larger acts, rather than smaller chapters. In regards to ‘Tertiary’, this may be the result of the novel evolving as an adaptation of a screenplay. Personally, I prefer novels divided into at least a dozen chapters, as it seems to tighten pace, and it is easier to break up reading when it is time to put a book down.
'Tertiary' presents a plausible (well, in a science-fiction kind of way) alternate history of the planet, featuring the central plot of prior advanced civilizations before the rise of man, their resurrection, and subsequent global consequences. What is interesting is that the Dinosauran society which is presented is eerily similar to modern man with a mammalian psychology rather than reptilian; rival nations, advanced technology, flawed characters, etc. This story telling aspect is a way of showing how history often repeats itself. I was unsure where the story was headed for the majority of the novel, however, once the character Anasaza makes an appearance, 'Tertiary' takes off at a blistering pace. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue woven through the story, and I found there to be many influences ranging from the obvious such as Jurassic Park, to the X-Files, to Deep Impact.
In summary, ‘Tertiary’ is a great first novel by Mr. Coppinger, and I hope that this book one day fulfils its original purpose by being made into a feature film.