Imagine waking up in a tropical forest. It’s nothing like the military bunker you’ve slept in for weeks, nor is it like the vehicle you last remember. The surroundings don’t match your mission objectives. Suddenly there is a load noise, some type of animal you’ve never heard before. You manage to move yourself enough to look around and that’s when you see it.
A dinosaur attacking one of your comrades.
That is the world that Corporal Jack Mallory finds himself in Bryan Young’s new science fiction novel Operation Montauk. A gutsy woman named Veronica and an older man called James Richmond rescues Mallory from the attack and take him to Fort Robinson before he has time to process what went wrong.
Veronica and Richmond are two of the time travelers stuck in the late Cretaceous period. Captain Abigail Valentine, Peter Grimsby, Albert the chimpanzee, Wan Li and Nokolai all arrived to this place at various points, but none have been there for even half a year. None tried to end up millions of years in the past.
The residents of Fort Robinson are not only trying to find a way back home, but are also avoiding death by the local wildlife. Richmond, an inventor from the late 1800s, is working to crack the code to their escape.
Young takes readers on a fast-paced race for survival. There is no real downtime in Operation Montauk. If it’s not a raptor or Tyrannosaurus Rex trying to score a snack, then there are new arrivals to try to figure out.
The cast of characters come from a variety of eras and cultures, making each very different from the other. Mallory, the main hero, is the good World War II solider, ready to do what needs done. His mental musings about Veronica’s dress or behavior towards a lady remind the reader that he is one of the “good ol’ boys.” Veronica shows the most anger at being stuck in the past, but she doesn’t let that slow her down. From plunging headfirst into the dangerous wilderness to taking on the vicious raptors, she controls as much of her fate as she possibly can.
Sparks fly between Mallory and Veronica in an adrenaline-fueled affair. Though Veronica’s relationship interactions seem a bit flighty, it’s forgivable given the circumstances. Their romance is brief, filled with the idea that death is around the corner.
Readers will enjoy Captain Abigail Valentine firm hand and logical reasoning. Peter Grimsby is the doctor everyone needs on an expedition. Not only is he good at what he does, but he cares about the patient and isn’t afraid to get his hand dirty. Wan Li, Nokolai and even Albert all play a vital role in the tale for survival.
And then there is James Richmond, esquire.
Richmond is the inventor, wearing his facial hair in muttonchops, trying to find a way home. He doesn’t let his predicament keep him down, however. Richmond takes in both the positives and negatives of the situations. As the first to arrive, he started Fort Robinson. He marvels at technology past his time, but doesn’t let it slow him.
Operation Montauk keeps readers glued to the page. Capt. Valentine’s theory around the middle of the novel will send readers in a swarm of questions about the truth of nature and time and increases the race for survival. Young uses time travel in a way that doesn’t seem cliché or overused. Instead of humans beating time, time challenges them.
Read my interview with Bryan here.