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Serpent Catch (1991)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Serpent Catch (1991) Written by Dave Wolverton. This may be one of the most entertaining novels I've ever read. The premise is that thousands of years from now mankind is exploring the galaxy-and Earth's Paleobiologists established, for all practical purposes, a live 'zoo' on the moon of a distant gas giant, called Anee. It's a storehouse of dinosaurs and other exctinct species cloned and re-created from fossil remains. These creatures live on three different continents, which are patrolled by genetically created 'dragons' (to keep the pterodactyls from eating the Mammonths) and 'serpents' (to keep the dinos from swimming across the ocean and eating the people). This includes Neanderthals and large ape-like creatures that resemble Yetis. Keeping track of and balancing these different species are the Creators, these huge wormlike biological computers. They can create and replenish animals when they are needed.
Then, another space-faring race, who believe humans a threat, destroy all of Earth's spaceships, stranding these scientists on Anee. Some befriend the Neanderthals and others try to enslave them. A thousand years pass-and much has changed in that time. Humans have interbred with the Neanderthals and the descendents of the power hungry scientists are now known as the slave-lords and are trying to take over the rest of the planet. But some people, including a half-breed Neanderthal named Tull, live free in a frontier area called 'The Rough'. When they see that the serpents are starting to die they realize they have to do something before the dinosaurs start swimming over and killing all of them. So Tall and an assortment of interesting characters, including a thousand year old man who is the last of the original humans, go on a quest to try to capture serpent eggs and replenish their area of the ocean with them. On the way they encounter many of the different animals such as the 'Mastodon Men', huge cannibalistic ape-like creatures and the dryad's, who protect the forests and look like beautiful women. And they experience the cities of the dreaded slave-lords.
SERPENT CATCH is an epic tale, reminding me of a cross between LORD OF THE RINGS and John Varley's TITAN series. Everything is in this book and it all meshes together quite well.
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