You should be reading The Tyrannosaur Chronicles

I wanted to make sure you are know about Dave Hone’s excellent new book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles. I’d hoped to blog about it several weeks ago for the UK launch, but I had a slew of end-of-semester grading and sundry other deadlines. The upshot of that decision is I’ve now had a chance to read the entire book, and can say without hesitation that you are in for a treat.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Who would write a book about tyrannosaurs? They’re so utterly boring!”. Despite the millstone* of writing about Earth’s most famous predators and their kin, Dave does a great job of making the topic fascinating. He covers all aspects of tyrannosaur anatomy, biology,  and the relationships of the entire group. He also has a knack for conveying the science to non-specialists in a manner that is approachable, but doesn’t water down the story or cut down on the wonder of scientific discovery. The text isn’t heavy on technical terms, and the ones he does use are introduced to the reader.

The book is as up-to-date as you can make a book with a 6+ month lead time between final text and publication. It captures all of the modern ideas about the group, right down to the fuzzy T. rex skeleton on the cover.

Speaking of which, that’s my feathered T. rex skeletal on the cover! So to be forthcoming I want to be clear that I did the illustrations for the book. The team at Bloomsbury were kind enough to put together a budget to license my images, but the relevant part for you, dear reader, is that I was paid up front, so I make the same amount whether the book hits #3 on the New York Times bestseller list or finds itself in the bargain bin by July.

So I hope you believe me when I say this is a book that dinosaur enthusiasts will love. Not because of the illustrations (though naturally I’m rather fond of them), but because it’s an excellent way for a general reader to get a deeper understanding of paleontology in general, and tyrannosaurs in particular. That’s not to say the book could be read by anyone - the text would certainly be too dense for my 8 year old daughter. But I think that an advanced middle school reader or an enthusiastic high school dinosaur fan should be able to enjoy it. In fact one of the reoccurring thoughts I had while reading the book was how dearly I would have loved to have this book in high school (another reoccurring thought I had was how excited-yet-freaked-out I’d have been to see illustrations and an illustrator’s note by my future self).

The book is/will be available in all of the usual physical and digital formats. It’s launched in several markets, but it looks like in the U.S. you can only get the digital version (and some paperback copies on the Amazon marketplace).  The official launch, in hardback and paperback reaches these shores on July 5th.

If you or someone you know enjoys a good popular account of science (and dinosaurs, in particular), you should run-don’t-just-walk to your nearest bookseller or online retailer and pick up a copy for yourself.

*I am totally trolling Tom Holtz at this point.