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Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka

Prophet of Bones (edition 2013)

by Ted Kosmatka

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8419143,474 (3.23)12
Title:Prophet of Bones
Authors:Ted Kosmatka
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2013), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:thriller, arc

Work details

Prophet of Bones: A Novel by Ted Kosmatka

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Paul Carlsson is a scientist, a "bone guy," and has been interested in science since he was a boy. When he is called from his work to do an archeological dig in Indonesia for a mysterious company he doesn't think twice about it, because judging by the pictures they may have found something that no one has ever seen before. However, when the archeological site is ambushed and Paul nearly loses his life, he realizes their is much more at stake than he ever imagined.

Prophet of Bones is...interesting. It's actually well-written for the most part, but there were some interesting choices that kind of baffle me. The whole book takes place in an alternate-history setting, with an entirely different scientific history, but this was never really utilized in any way. Other than giving the author an out for sketchy science, there really isn't much point in going that far. I mean, it's science fiction, sketchy science is fine by me.

The author also forgets to feed the reader, so to speak. When Paul discovers the bones in Indonesia, we are made to believe that they are incredibly important, but from then on we are never given any information as to why they are so important. The characters go to great lengths and constantly risk their lives for the information, but we are never told why. Certainly the author wanted to give us a big reveal at the end, but you still have to entice us through the book, giving us nuggets of information and inciting our curiosity. Instead the characters do drastic, over-the-top, life-risking things and we just have to assume their is a good reason for it, since all we know is that the bones from the beginning of the book were weird somehow.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading Prophet of Bones, and I'd certainly read more by the author, but I can't deny there are some flaws with this one. ( )
1 vote Ape | Feb 12, 2017 |
Fun triller, very much in the tradition of Crichton. I found the short it's based on, "Prophet of Flores", vastly more satisfying. The novel fails to engage with the larger possibilities of its alternate-history setting, and introduces a new plot--hybrids between humans and apes/extinct hominids-- that falls into a surprisingly and disappointedly old-fashioned others-are-monsters, apes-are-coming-for-our-women bag of tropes. ( )
  jakecasella | Nov 7, 2014 |
A good scientific thriller, set in an alternate world where evolution is disproved and the earth is believed to be just a few thousand years old. When a chance discovery on the island of Flores threatens to upend that worldview, powerful forces will do whatever needs doing to keep the new knowledge secret. And back at the home base of those powerful forces, deep in the Florida Everglades lies a mysterious compound populated by ... well, you'll just have to read the book to find out.

Read in one sitting - it was difficult to put down once I started. ( )
  JBD1 | Sep 13, 2013 |
Prophet of Bones is a novel that delves into evolution-ism and creationism...an archaeological dig unearths bones never before seen, then the dig is shut down and from that point on Paul Carlson's life changes forever and leads him to the man that has the answers. Martial Johnson, in my opinion, is trying to be God in that he has been conducting experiments with cross breeding of animals such as horses and donkeys, lions and tigers then moving onto chimps and humans. What results from these experiments is rather frightening. One critic said that this story is very reminiscent of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, where a man is messing around with dinosaur DNA with disastrous results.
I did find the book a bit hard to get into what with all the scientific jargon, but I stuck with it and found that I really got into it after a few chapters. I enjoyed the writing and came away from the novel hoping that scientists are not conducting these kind of DNA manipulations at all. Kind of scary stuff for sure. If you enjoy a scientific murder mystery/thriller then I can say that this book is for you, or if you, like me, find this kind of story intriguing, go out and get yourself a copy of this book.
I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review. ( )
  celticlady53 | Jul 1, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka

I received a free copy of this book through the "early reviewers" program in exchange for an HONEST review.

PLEASE keep in mind, this review is written by my “taste in books”/my opinion. Check out my library ratings of other books to see if your tastes are the same as mine before judging this book by my review.

Despite being rather slow at times, the overall story did keep my interest. The plot was a variation of the "I'm doing something evil/bad and trying to hide it while you're trying to figure it out and expose me". So it doesn't get many points for originality in this area.

Another complaint I had was the constant use of complex scientific equations, etc. I like when a sci-fi/fantasy books goes into to detail...it creates believable and interesting stories...but this one just went overboard in MANY places describing formulas and processing that added very little if nothing to the overall story/plot (except slow it down).

The beginning chapters were extremely slow and I was tempted to quit reading many times until I hit somewhere around chapter 5. After that the pace picked up and things began to become interesting.


The general story is about a guy named Paul whose mother and father were scientists. Paul starts to do his own experiments on rats at a young age until his father finds out and destroys the cages telling him not to "play god". This somewhat long and SLOW trip through Paul's young life is followed by and slightly shorter trip through his college years, etc until he is a grown adult.

Paul gets mixed (unknowingly) with the same company that his father used to work for and gets caught up in trying to discover what "secrets" the company is hiding and expose them to the world.

Many things come full circle (so to speak) with Paul finding out that his father was a head scientist at the company when he was younger in addition to his father's work also being similar to "playing god".

I'm skipping around somewhat here just to give you an idea and not ruin the whole story...

Overall, I enjoyed the read but I won't read it again. I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone unless they LOVED scientific research or something along those lines. It really reminded me of Jurassic Park but with primates (think the missing link) and slightly more deviant and perverse (as far as genetics goes).

I rated this book 3.5 stars. ( )
  Disco_grinch | May 16, 2013 |
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If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like? — Voltaire
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805096175, Hardcover)

Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society, but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:03 -0400)

A dazzling young scientist runs for his life and searches for answers after being chased away by paramilitaries from an archeological dig where bones belonging to a puzzling, new species were discovered.

(summary from another edition)

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