This entry was written by AkityMH, who you can find at https://www.deviantart.com/akitymh. I may have made a few touch ups and notes here and there, but the bulk of this entry is their work!
Some years after I read all of the current Meg novels by Steve Alten, I sought out similar media of prehistoric and/or deep sea horror novels with monsters in them. There is a plethora of that, but I have to admit a lot of it is the same… Like, really the same. They’re all usually the same prehistoric creature.
And this entry isn’t a catch all for them, I am focusing on a specific one that does that best. Kronos Rising, not the only Horror Novel in its series of books, but one of them, as its direct sequel is far more sci-fi thriller and action. Not a bad thing, though.
Anyway, Kronos Rising is probably the best runaway Kronosaurus story there is. The author is Max Hawthorne, a man who I somewhat admire for his own hobbies. The guy likes the water, likes to fish, and loves giant monsters… Needless to say, those three things accumulate rather well in this book.
Curiously, this book does not start out with the hubris of man, but rather by natural circumstances. This is a story not where nature was awoken by a nuclear bomb, but rather a strong Earthquake in the Caribbean Isles. Specifically, off the coast of Cuba. There, a fictional Volcano exists called Diablo Caldera, named the “Cretaceous Lake” that ended up being full of cretaceous life forms for the last sixty-five million years. The crater acted as a giant stone prison that now had a few openings in it, resulting in the release of the titular Kronosaurus of this novel that now is cruising the islands of the Caribbean. This creature has no name, but I will just refer to her as “Krono”.
The story follows a few people, the main character being Jake Braddock and the secondary main being Amara Takagi. Both have a slightly rough past, as Jake is a man who was raised by a toxic as hell father and ultimately lost his mother to his father’s flaws, and then lost his wife tragically as well. Amara grew up trying to protect marine mammals for the most part, going as far as standing up to seal hunters and taking a pickaxe to the abdomen that forever will be a literal pain in her rear end.
Between the two, the facts come to life that some large marine animal has been attacking boats and eating people. No one listens because who believes that crap, and then said Kronosaur enters the marina of the island this takes place on and reeks absolute havoc until it miraculously climbs over the breakwater after it gets trapped inside like a eighty-foot long loggerhead sea turtle.
It’s been a hot minute since I read the first initial book, by a few years for that matter, so I can’t recall a terrible lot of unique things about this story. It sure as hell is far from the only one of its kind. A similar book, Devour, is very similar. That said, I think this is the best out of all of the prehistoric sea monster books to come out in the wake(ha) of books like Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror. I also think it held up a lot better when it came to sequels, but let’s not get carried away with talking about a bunch of other books.
The book does its best to shine with its characters. Jake and Amara are quite compelling, and have equally engaging side characters. That is what sold it to be, anyway. Jake does his best despite having a lot of baggage, helps his younger coworkers out as he upholds the law on this small island. Amara is just a treat, and then the secondary villain… Harcourt. This guy from the start of the book is mentally unhinged, and that goes all in down to his demise near the end. He owns all of the island, Paradise Cove, and basically controls it all… except for Jake, to which most of the book he is trying to manipulate Mr. Braddock and get him thrown out of position. The human drama here is definitely top notch, and is probably what makes this series really stand out amongst many others.
All this time, I never talked about our monster, now have I? Well, to be forward, Krono is an absolute unit. At eighty feet long, she is twice as long as any fossil evidence. Not only that, but she is smart. Kronosaurs in this series are wickedly sharp, intelligent as dolphins, chimpanzees and I dare say as smart as a human. They will wickedly plan the demise of one human being that has caused them harm. The climax comes right down to this giant sea monster just wanting to kill Jake and Amara, doing its best even after being attacked by a huge pod of Orca and rendered blind. She is an absolute beast and it is terrifying that this one massive, angry animal just wants to kill one or two people that have made it angry. This beast is also outright evil, devouring unborn whale calves for an example. Not out of malice, but if you wanna make a proper antagonist, have them eat a beloved baby animal and everyone will be on board to drop a nuclear bomb on it.
Down to it, this is more or less a Kaiju media piece due to how big the Kronosaur and its kind are, and how quickly they adapt as the series goes on. Spoilers here: This Kronosaurus was a gravid parent by the start of this book, going ashore and laying eggs much like a sea turtle… and out of eighty eggs, one is a large mutant that we learn in the second book is capable of reproducing live birth much like some sharks, giving birth to large, very capable predators. Did I also mention by the second book, those eighty or so babies have reproduced into a few thousand? Yeah, and they have effectively, efficiently destroyed the entirety of the oceans ecosystems. Large sharks and whales are going out the window, and it is so bad that other prehistoric animals have reappeared now released from the same place. Xiphactinus, Sabre Tooth Salmon… And there are a few other things I will not dare spoil. Things have escalated to some rather insane reaches, and I can’t hate a single thing I’ve been given thus far. I would compare it to Tremors… The first movie was outright atmospheric and terrifying with a good dose of comedy, and each sequel things grew far more outlandish and insane.
By all accounts, great Atomic Horror.
But it began with the first one that starred in Kronos Rising. Hot damn, these books are frigging great. The first one is full of straight science fiction/thriller/horror, and the rest…. Well, go read them. Please, by all means, go read these damn books if you have not already.