“Kronos Rising: After 6 Million Years the World’s Greatest Predator is Back” Max Hawthorne (Far From the Tree Press, 2014)

Kronos Rising

The book Jaws by Peter Benchley was published in 1974 and became an international bestseller, followed by the movie adaptation that became an instant cult classic and a favorite of many. Since then some sequels have been made, and many knock-off novels that play on the whole idea of a sea monster on the loose terrorizing a small town and its people.

I thought Kronos Rising would be another unrealistic example of this genre: predictable, over the top, and simply inaccurate, but the bookwas in fact a complete surprise.

It is a classic setting: a small American town on the east coast where things are simple and straightforward and haven’t changed in some time. Jake Braddock is the town sheriff, a former Olympic fencer who lost his wife in a tragic accident and has made some bad choices in his life, but now he’s on the straight and narrow and does just fine dealing with simple, small-time crimes, until that all changes.

People are starting to disappear out on the water and at first it seems like there might be a man-eating shark on the loose, but the evidence seems to point to something bigger, much bigger. And when an uneaten part of a rich senator’s son shows up, things really begin to heat up. The media gets involved wanting to know what creature is behind the attacks. Braddock enlists the help of a pretty scientist who has shown up with her crew from the World Cetacean Society; she has some evidence revealing that the creature is not just big, but enormous; a surviving relic from the time of the dinosaurs know as the kronosaurus queenslandicus. It is hard to believe but the evidence is irrefutable.

The media has a field day with this announcement, not believing it until the giant creature shows up in the harbor and wreaks havoc upon the residents. The rich senator calls in an élite group to take care of this creature, enlisting the help of Braddock and the scientist, though the sheriff knows they’re getting in way over their heads.

The characters in Kronos Rising are well developed, each with their own complicated backgrounds that have a strong bearing on their current lives. The key to a good story is conflict, and this book is full of it, as the characters come into conflict with each other, which at times feels a little contrived, but nevertheless makes for addictive, page-turning reading.

Max Hawthorne has also done his research into marine biology and ocean life, which all helps make his characters more knowledgeable and interesting and the whole world more believable, even if there is a giant monster eating people in it. The writing is compelling and action-filled so even though the book is well over 500 pages long, it is still an addictive read. While the last third of the book goes off the rails a little and some of the characters become almost caricatures, overall the book is a great addition to this genre, worthy of sitting on the shelf next to Peter Benchley’s Jaws.

Originally written on May 11, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Kronos Rising from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.


7 thoughts on ““Kronos Rising: After 6 Million Years the World’s Greatest Predator is Back” Max Hawthorne (Far From the Tree Press, 2014)

  1. Disappointed. The characters are caricature, the story classic and the science not even respected, there was never any prehistoric marine reptile reaching that size.

  2. “Kom” needs to learn proper grammar and punctuation before leaving such a blatantly biased review. Having said that, there have been prehistoric marine reptiles called Icthyosaurs confirmed at 75 feet. About the size of the predator in Kronos Rising. Was something eating them? Quite possibly. And pliosaurs of 20 meters are, per paleontologist Richard Forrest, likely. In fact, none of that matters, though. Because the pliosaur in Kronos Rising is a theoretical creature, not a real one. The book is a NOVEL, it is NOT documenting fossils, so why the bitching and moaning? Kronosaurus imperator is presented as an undiscovered and theoretical species. As such, it could be anything. The key to the success of Kronos Rising (and yes it is rapidly becoming the favorite of dino-buffs everywhere) is the author’s ability to present the story in such a way that it comes across as both inherently plausible and believable. And it is. it is gripping, scary and addictive. People I know all say the same thing: once they start it they can’t put it down. As for the obviously inane “caricature” remark “Kom” made, I’ll just copy and paste a recent Amazon review that was done by a media professional:

    “Every once in a blue moon, a page-turning adventure novel of theatrical proportions hits the shelves, and “Kronos Rising” is the new leader of the pack. Max Hawthorne’s first major foray into the fiction arena envelopes all the elements of a major blockbuster film or network mini-series that will keep readers and fans of this genre glued to the pages. He skillfully takes his readers on an E Ticket/ “Six Flags” roller coaster ride that never stops! With the dexterity of similar genre legends such as Michael Crichton, Peter Benchley and James Patterson, new generation scribe Hawthorne sets the scene off the coast of Florida and establishes the main characters whose histories and personal dramas reveal themselves as the action escalates. Incorporating his obvious knowledge of the marine and maritime worlds, and some impressive technical science, natural history and zoology background, Hawthorne weaves a credible and believable account of the shocking and horrifying appearance of one of the prehistoric world’s apex marine predators. “Kronos Rising” definitely thrills and rises out of the water as this year’s “man vs. nature” epic tale of terror that leaves readers gasping for air through its climactic end……or, has it truly ended??!”
    -Kevin Sasaki

    I think that more than sums it up. If you’re going to attack someone you better bring your “A” game. Or put another way, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

    • Stanley needs to learn that the 75 feet ichthyosaur S. sikanniensis was a slender, light for its weight animal and that it lived much earlier than the first pliosaurs ever evolved. There was nothing preying on them as there were no reptile predatory groups already as large to stalk them.

      Baseless speculation.

      There’s no evidence for 20 m pliosaurs and Richard Forrest has certainly updated his information since a long as the 20 m estimate was based on erroneous assumption of the skull/body length in pliosaurs.

      Check your facts right.

      The book itself is cool enough but comparing it to Crichton works ? LOL

      • Evidence for 65’+ pliosaurs is based on fossil teeth and vertebrae and is supported by several top paleontologists. Check your facts, twit. And comparisons to works by Crichton and Benchley (tops in the field) have been by professional editorials as well as by numerous fans. Given your poor grammar and ill-suited grasp of the English language, you’re obviously a preening, uneducated foreigner. Stick to your own language. You’re not suited for ours.

        • Beside Richard Forrest, which paleontologists ?

          That’s not my fault if I dont find any sources. All what I find is that pliosaurs reach 40-50 feet at most, that’s kind of weird no ?

        • The novel was good enough but “Kom” is right.

          Beyond his skills as a writer, Max Hawthorne has gained a small reputation among paleo-enthusiasts and readers for overexaggerating pliosaurs size and skills, some internet memes even have started to come about that.
          That’s well explained in Adam S. Smith review.
          Hawthorne plays too much the prehistoric monster expert on his webpage and often says fanciful things.

          How a 16′ tooth could suggest a 65 feet pliosaur while 33 feet pliosaurs specimens already possess 12′ teeth ?

          That’s the only problem with the man, his tendency to act as an expert and to exaggerate the badassness of his favorite prehistoric creatures.

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