Thunder of Time

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9780765346841: Thunder of Time

Ten years ago, the prehistoric past collided with the present as time itself underwent a tremendous disruption, transporting huge swaths of the Cretaceous Period into the world of the twentieth century. Entire neighborhoods and cities were replaced by dense primeval jungles and modern humanity suddenly found itself sharing the earth with fierce dinosaurs. In the end, desperate measures were taken to halt the disruptions and the crisis appeared to be over.

Until now.

Slowly at first, but with increasing frequency, time begins to unravel once more. What's worse, Nick Paulson, Director of the newly-formed Office of Security Science, discovers that the time displacements are being manipulated by unknown parties, utilizing a mysterious new technology. Indeed, the very integrity of the space-time continuum appears to be at risk.

To preserve both the future and the past, Nick and his allies must uncover the secrets hidden within in a lost temple at the center of a dino-infested jungle-and in an enigmatic structure on the surface of the moon. But they are not alone in their quest. A cult of ruthless fanatics is also intent on controlling the time waves, and they will stop at nothing to reshape history to their own design . . . .

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

James F. David has a Ph.D. from Ohio State University and is currently a professor of Psychology at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He is the author of the thrillers Footprints of Thunder, Ship of the Damned and Before the Cradle Falls. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Tigard, Oregon.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One
NORTH QUILT
 
While there are those who would play politics even in this time of unprecedented crisis, my decision to seal the break in time with a nuclear detonation on American soil was the only viable option. While we cannot bring back the family and friends we have lost, or send the dinosaurs back to their own time, we have stopped the time disruption once and for all.
 
--Scot McIntyre, President of the United States
 
Western Alaska, October,
Ten Years After The Time Quilt
 
"Hike!" Eilene Stromki shouted to her dogs, urging the team on.
 
There was little need to shout, no need to crack a whip. Her huskies lived to run, winning the Iditarod two of the last three years since it had been resumed. Sixteen miles out from her ranch, they were climbing a six percent grade. The dogs were laboring, breaths deep but steady, each dog steaming like a locomotive. Eilene knew her dogs like family; their personalities, their likes and dislikes, what spooked them and what motivated each.
 
Kamiak ran in the lead, a position he was bred for. Another lead dog, Max, was back at her compound and was almost as good as Kamiak, but there wasn't another dog in Alaska with Kamiak's nose for the trail. Bacardi and Tecumsah ran second in line as swing dogs, both strong and quick to answer to Eilene's commands to "Gee!" and "Haw!" turning the sled right and left. Wemme and Roscoe ran next in line, perfectly matched in strength, stamina, and heart. Blacky and Nellie were mid team, followed by Draco and Monty, good natured, steady and strong. Lindy and Wanda came last, running as wheel dogs just in front of the sled. It would be Lindy's last Iditarod. Reliable, and a peacemaker in the pack, she had run seven races with Eilene, and she would retire her reluctantly. Like a grand dame reaching middle age, Lindy clung to her youth, even as the trail aged her prematurely. Sensing her retirement, Lindy pushed herself hard, never holding the others back. The team would sense no weakness in Lindy's last run.
 
"Hike, Kamiak!" Eilene shouted, encouraging her powerful lead dog to keep a steady pace.
 
Eilene's teams seldom won sprints, but the Iditarod was 1,100 miles of treacherous terrain and fickle weather. Victory went to the strongest, not the swiftest. With legs as powerful as pistons, a broad chest, and the heart of a champion, Kamiak was the key to Eilene's victories. With a blaze of white on his chest, the wolf-gray husky punched through the thin frozen crust to firm footing underneath. The lead dog had to be the strongest to set the pace and break the trail. The swing dogs, Bacardi and Tecumsah, did a share of the plowing, each pair in the rest of the team finding the way easier than the one ahead. Only Kamiak at the lead had no one to compact the snow for him. Eyes busy, the lead dog picked the best footing for the rest as they raced over nearly hidden trails and across frozen lakes. With a preternatural feel for the trail, Kamiak deftly skirted loose snow, polished ice, and crumbling ledges, and he did this in thick fog and howling blizzards.
 
The day was mild; comfortable. At fifteen degrees, slight southerly wind, and thin overcast, Eilene wore only goggles, the hood of her parka thrown back, enjoying the crisp feel of the wind on her permanently weathered face. She loved the silence of the trail, the few forest sounds masked by the constant whooshing of the wind past her ears and the steady thumping rhythm of paws. She'd heard that marathon runners entered a psychological zone somewhere between the sixth and tenth mile, oblivious to their surroundings, totally within themselves, as if running in an alternate dimension, a dimension of one. Sled dog racing was the opposite; the quiet isolation teased the senses into opening wide, like the iris in total darkness, blossoming to its fullest to catch every stray photon. Eilene was more alive on the trail, more aware of nature's nuances, every scent, sight, and sound. After a long trail run, Eilene came back to civilization more than what she had been when she left.
 
"Gee," Eilene called, signaling a turn.
 
Kamiak, who knew the trail, had already started into the right turn before the command. As they came to the turn, Eilene leaned into it, then dropped briefly to the ground, holding on to the handlebars, dragging the sled around to complete the turn. Three quick running steps and she was back on, the team straining to bring the sled back to running speed.
 
Eilene was using her racing sled today. Built out of lightweight wood, the sled carried most of the required gear: axe, sleeping bag, snowshoes, spare booties for the dogs, food for both her and the dogs, spare boots and clothes for her, and a rifle. The rifle wasn't required under the rules, but Eilene began carrying one after a moose had gotten into her team, killing two of her best dogs.
 
Another mile and she slowed the team to a walk. The dogs, with their tongues lolling and legs still strong, were ready to run on command. They crested a small ridge, then started down a gentle slope. Eilene gently applied the brake to keep the sled from sliding into her dogs. The crest was rocky, but as they came down the slope the soil improved and the forest thickened with old growth firs. Three months a year there was a hiking trail here, now buried under a month's snow. The trail led to a small lake, loaded with trout. It would be a snow meadow by now, the surface frozen a foot thick, covered in a deep blanket of snow.
 
There was a fork in the trail now and Kamiak automatically veered right. They hadn't taken the left fork since the government stole more of the land and fenced it off. Now it was restricted, with no hunting, fishing, or sledding. Eilene had run the perimeter many times, curious about what went on inside, but there was little to see. The base was built in a small valley known locally as Fox Valley, named by the trappers who had worked the area up until the last section of fence went up, cutting them off from their livelihood. Eilene resented being cut off from land she had hunted and fished since childhood, but the fence worked two ways. It kept her out, but it kept the government people in.
 
The lake was just ahead, a bright white oval ringed by ancient protecting forest giants. Coming through the last of the trees, Eilene let Kamiak lead them into the center where she stopped the team and set the brake. As one, the dog team lay down to rest, panting to control their body temperature. Their thick fur protected them from the cold of the snow.
 
While the dogs rested, Eilene would check their condition, examining each paw, each limb, chest, and muzzle, looking for wounds, wear, or bruising. She also noted how long it took them to recover, an indicator of their physical condition. Sled dogs were as finely conditioned as Olympic athletes, and the dogs would soon be up and prancing, anxious to resume the run.
 
Unzipping the sled bag, Eilene dug out "honeyballs" and tossed the snacks to the dogs. Sled dogs could burn up to ten thousand calories a day and the baseball-sized honeyballs were loaded with the fuel and nutrients the dogs needed. Made from beef, powdered eggs, brewer's yeast, vegetable oil, multivitamins, and honey, they were relished by the dogs. Tossing the last honeyball to Lindy, Eilene leaned against the sled munching on honeyball crumbs, enjoying the feel of the bright sun on her weathered face.
 
Suddenly there was a peal of thunder, followed by a bright flash and a warm blast of air. The dogs yelped in surprise, jumping to their feet and jerking the sled. Eilene stumbled and fell, confused. The blast of heat told her that the lightning had struck nearby.
 
Getting to her feet Eilene searched the sky for the storm. Being at the center of the lake gave her a 360-degree view and there was nothing but thin overcast. Eilene could still feel the warmth from the lightning strike and briefly worried that it had started a forest fire. Then through the trees to the east she saw a ribbon of bright green--not the forest green of the north woods, but bright variegated greens. With a splat, a large mass of snow dropped from a fir bordering the lake. With her finely tuned senses, Eilene heard the forest begin to play the symphony of spring; the steady drip, drip, plop sounds of the spring thaw. Her dogs were standing, ears pointed, listening to the sounds of spring in winter.
 
"Let's go take a look, Kamiak," Eilene called, releasing the brake. "Hike," she shouted, the dogs straining against their harnesses, breaking the sled free. Guiding the team toward the peculiar colors in the forest, she kept the dogs to a walk, letting Kamiak pick his way through the trees. Eilene was amazed by what she saw. She knew these woods; a long march of trees, interrupted only by the occasional lake, natural meadow, or forest road. The closest logging was six miles south. Yet, now the forest ended abruptly and at its edge was vegetation like she had only seen in movies. Most of the foliage was knee high, but there were taller shrubs and, in the distance, towering palms. Instead of needles, leaves were broad, flat, and glossy and a riot of green.
 
Calling for a stop, Eilene left the sled in the trees, her team alert, curious, sniffing the unfamiliar. Humid heat washed her, flowing through the trees, past her team to dissipate in the vastness of the north. Stopping at the edge of the forest she stared dumbstruck.
 
Eilene wasn't a traveler, if you didn't count the long sled races, and she rarely left Alaska. She had never been farther south than Seattle and no farther east than Calgary, so she had never experienced tropical vegetation. She looked at it now with the same childish wonder of Dorothy, stepping from her fallen house into Munchkinland. A fern at the edge of the clearing tilted toward Eilene, its tip barely over the crude line that marked the beginning of the harsh conditions of a northern coniferous forest, as if to taste this new environment. Eilene kicked the fern, the only plant she could identify. It was real, giving way as she tapped it back and forth.
 
"Kamiak," Eilene said, loud enough for her team to hear. "I heard about these but I never saw one except on TV."
 
The heat of the jungle warmed the forest and Eilene unzipped her parka. Taking two steps into the vegetation, she sniffed air flavored with foreign perfumes and the stink of rot. Every nuance of the jungle smelled as fresh to her as a baby's first tastes of food. Behind her, more sensitive noses were busy with canine curiosity. With even less experience than Eilene, the dogs could not tell harmless plants from predator animals and missed the olfactory warning.
 
"It's a time quilt," Eilene announced, talking to the dogs. "They got something like this down where Portland used to be, except I heard most of the original plants are dead now. Damn foolish city folks turned it into a park."
 
Suddenly, thirty yards away, a head appeared in the chest-high foliage, stared right at Eilene, then dropped down again. The head was triangular, earless, the skin reptilian green. Cursing her stupidity, Eilene remembered that the Portland time quilt hadn't just brought plants to the future. Eilene hurried back to the team.
 
"Trouble coming, Kamiak," Eilene announced.
 
Sensing her fear, the team paced and whined in their harnesses, anxious for action, flight or fight. The trees were raining now, the snow melting at a dangerous pace. As the water dripped from higher boughs to lower, the burden on the limbs increased, the lower boughs bending, threatening to break. Under a steady shower, Eilene pulled Kamiak around 180 degrees and started back the way they had come. The runners cut deep into the wet snow now and Eilene ran behind the sled, pushing to help get the sled up to speed. Risking a look behind, she saw the dinosaur standing at the edge of the forest, head down, sniffing the snow. Then its head came up and it sniffed the air. It stood on two feet, counterbalanced with a long tail. It had two long arms ending in clawed hands, its head carried on a long neck. When it finished sniffing the air it looked at Eilene and her team retreating through the woods, then at the snow again. Then it raised its head, let out a screech as sharp and as penetrating as a chainsaw hitting a tree spike. A few seconds' later two more of the creatures came out of the jungle foliage, heads down, sniffing the snow.
 
"Hike, Kamiak, hike!" Eilene shouted.
 
Risking another look back, she could see all three of the creatures had their heads up now, pointed at Eilene. Then the first creature, slightly bigger than the other two, raised its head and bugled long and loud. Then all three charged into the woods. Quickly, Eilene estimated the speed of the predators--she wouldn't make it across the lake.
 
"Haw! Kamiak, haw!" Eilene shouted.
 
At Eilene's command, Kamiak executed a sharp turn, and like a train of Conestoga wagons circling to repel an attack, the dogs came around. The dogs barked and yelped, snapping at each other in confusion. Eilene threw the sled to its side, and then dug in her sled bag for her rifle. With the rifle in one hand, Eilene commanded her dogs to lie down and drew her knife, running along the line of dogs, cutting them free. Then she threw herself behind the sled, slapping the rifle on the side, taking aim down the open sights.
 
Eilene and her team were near the middle of the lake, the surface slushy from the jungle heat. The heat was dissipating quickly; however, the ice surface was still protected by two feet of wet, insulating snow.
 
The attacking dinosaurs came out of the woods, a surreal spectacle of long-extinct predators, emerging from a winter wonderland forest, their three-toed feet digging deep into the snow for traction with six-inch serrated claws. Driven by hunting lust, they came on, oblivious to the unfamiliar surface or the rapidly falling temperature.
 
The dinosaurs spread out as they came. Lining up her sights on the chest of the big dinosaur in the lead, Eilene's finger tightened on the trigger. She took her time, making sure of the shot. She only carried six rounds. Then the dinosaur slipped, wobbled, and went down, skidding through the mush on the surface. Her target now lost in a spray of snow, she turned to the left, finding this dinosaur swinging wide as if to circle and come in behind. Her dogs were all up now, barking and posturing. Then with the bravery of youth, reckless Tecumsah charged the dinosaur Eilene was taking aim on, Roscoe and Wemme right behind. Eilene fired over the heads of her attacking dogs, the report of the rifle triggering a new level of aggressiveness in the dogs, their knife-sharp barks echoing off a distant ridge. The slug hit behind the dinosaur's right shoulder. The beast stumbled, slipped, and skidded, spraying pink snow. Tecumsah, Roscoe, and Wemme charged the wounded predator. There was no time to confirm the kill.
 
A flanking dinosaur came from behind Eilene's right shoulder. She pulled the bolt back, ejecting the sp...

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