by Michael Crichton
This story takes place six years after the Jurassic Park disaster.
The book starts out with Ian Malcom giving a speach on his theory of extinction at a
place called the Santa Fe Institute. As he’s talking, a tall man stands up. His name is
Richard Levine. He’s a paleontologist, and he is fairly wealthy. He interrupts Ian to tell
him that he doesn’t think dinosaurs are really extinct. He believes there’s a lost world on an
island somewhere off Costa Rica.
“I’m quite serious. What if the dinosaurs did not become extinct? What if they still
exist? Somewhere in an isolated spot on the planet?” (5) Ian tells him this is nonsense,
and continues on explaining his theory.
Outside of the Santa Fe Institute, Ian meets up with his long time friend, Sarah
Harding, a well-known biologist who studies large predators in Africa. They discuss what
Levine said, and they come to the mutual conclusion that Levine probably doesn’t know
what he’s talking about.
Meanwhile, Levine is secretly preparing equipment for a jungle expedition. He enlists
the help of a man called Doc Thorne, who was a college engineering professor, but now
designs souped-up vehicles for expeditions and searches. He also enlists Doc Thorne’s best
mechanic, Eddie Carr. Levine has Doc Thorne and Eddie rig a Ford Explorer and a
motorcycle to run on batteries. He also has them build reinforced trailers to house
biological labs. Levine inspects the equipment and sees that it is satisfactory and almost
ready to go. He suggests that instead of testing the prototype vehicles first, they take them
directly to Costa Rica to start the expedition. Thorne doesn’t like the idea, but because
Levine is so enthusiastic, he agrees. Levine sets to leave at midnight from San Francisco,
and the expedition is to join him in Costa Rica about forty-eight hours later.
As they’re finalizing their plans for the trip, a black kid, Arby Benton, about ten years
old, wearing glasses and a suit, and a taller white girl named Kelly Curtis walk in and catch
wind of the plan and immediately want to go. They had been expecting to go on another
small expedition with Levine over their spring break to study fossils having already had
permission from their parents. Since they already had permission to be away from home,
they decided it wouldn’t hurt to go a little farther. Levine, Thorne and Eddie immediately
say, “No,” thinking that the risk would be too high. Levine leaves later that night for Costa
Back at the Santa Fe Institute, Malcom says goodbye to Sarah, because she is going
back to Africa to continue her study of hyenas. As Malcom watches her leave, he decides
to go visit his friend Doc Thorne in a day or two.
Levine reaches Costa Rica the next day and charters a fishing boat to bring him to Isla
Sorna, one of five islands in a chain known as the “Five Deaths.” Satellite evidence
indicates to Levine that a volcanic island in this area may be home to nests of living
dinosaurs. Before Levine leaves for the island, he hires a local guide, named Diego, who
visited the island frequently as a child and claims to have knowledge of the island’s trails
and primitive roads.
They set out for Sorna and reach it two hours later. Levine and Diego are forced to
climb steep cliffs to reach the plateau at the top of the island. As they reach the top, Diego
looks around and confidently tells Levine to follow him. Diego leads the way to a stream
where Levine stoops down to take a drink. In the undergrowth around him, he notices
several small, chicken-sized dinosaurs. He recognizes them as procompsagnathuses.
Diego also notices them and reaches out his hand to pet them. Levine warns him that even
though these dinosaurs are small, it’s possible that they could have a venomous bite. Diego
quickly pulls his hand back just as one of the dinosaurs jumps at him and tries to bite him.
Suddenly, the little dinosaurs begin to chirp and become skittish. They quickly scatter into
the underbrush and disappear. Levine looks around worriedly for a some sign of what has
frightened the diminuative dinosaurs. As he glances around, he can tell something is
wrong, but he can’t put his finger on what it is. Suddenly, Diego is jerked from his feet
and dragged screaming into the surrounding bushes. Levine fills with panic and blindly
begins running into the jungle. He doesn’t make it far, however, before he is smashed
from behind. He is saved only by his backpack, which the animal on top of him begins to
tear to shreds. Levine manages to struggle loose from his back pack and quickly scrambles
up the nearest tree.
Back in San Francisco, Malcom opens the door to Thorne’s office and sees him sitting
at a computer console with Arby and Kelly. Before Malcom can say “Hi,” the satellite
phone on Thorne’s desk rings. He picks up the phone, only to hear static and the words,
“Help…trapped…Isla Sorna.” They recognize Levine’s fear-stricken voice immediately.
Then the connection goes dead. Thorne looks at Malcom and tells him to contact Sarah
Harding and have her meet them on Isla Sorna as soon as possible.
Then Thorne sends Arby and Kelly home, after steadfastly denying their request to go
on the expedition, stating that it would be too dangerous. Arby and Kelly act as if they are
leaving, but sneak into a trailer as stowaways in a cabinet.
Meanwhile, at a cafe in Chinatown, Lewis Dodgson, a researcher for the Biosyn
Corporation, learns from his spies of Richard Levine’s expedition to Isla Sorna. He decides
to take advantage of the situation and take his own expedition to Isla Sorna. He intends to
steal Levine’s research and pass it off as his own. He also plans to collect an egg from each
species of dinosaur. He and his accomplice, Howard King, another researcher at Biosyn,
and the unwitting Professor George Basilton decide to head to Costa Rica and get to Isla
Sorna as quickly as possible.
In Africa, Sarah gets Ian’s phone call while she is studying a hyena kill of an African
bison on the savannah. She’s learns of Richard’s dire predicament and says that she will
meet the expedition on Isla Sorna as soon as she can.
Doc Thorne, Ian Malcom and Eddie Carr reach Puerto Cortez in Costa Rica the next
day and waste no time in getting their equipment ready for sling loading by helicopter to
They reach the Island an hour later and land in a grassy clearing in the jungle. The
helicopters leave, and the members of the expedition set about readying their equipment.
Eddie drives the battery-powered Explorer out into the open and is followed by Ian and
Thorne, who are driving the lab trailer. Eddie leads the way down what appears to be an
old, overgrown jungle road. After about a half mile, Eddy stops at a stream. He flips on a
radar monitor to see if he can detect the sensor that was carried by Levine. A red dot,
indicating Levine’s position, flashes on the monitor. Eddy conveys to the rest of the team
that he has a visual on Levine’s position. They decide to press on.
After another half mile, they come to a fork in the road. A nearby sign points left to
“swamp.” To the right it points to “Site B.” They mutually agree to investigate Site B.
Eddy puts his foot on the gas, but abruptly stops. Over the CB, his shocked voice can be
heard saying, “What’s that!?” They all gaze in the direction he’s pointing, just in time to see
a dinosaur the size of a cow cross the road, followed closely by a dinosaur three times that
size with a bony frill on its neck and three large horns. Ian calmly explains, “That’s a
triceratops. A young one, by the looks of it.” (125) Everyone watches in amazement as
the dinosaurs trundle across the road and disappear into the trees.