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THE VERMILION PARROT by David Rains Wallace


by David Rains Wallace

Pub Date: June 26th, 1991
ISBN: 0-87156-630-3
Publisher: Random House

 Nature-writer Wallace (Bulow Hammock, The Turquoise Dragon, etc.) produces another delightful, fast-paced ecological thriller, this one featuring a unique survivor from prehistoric times--a five-foot-tall talking parrot--along with condor thieves, religious cultists, the CIA, and one beautiful spy, among other attractions. Along for the ride (and quite a ride it is, at novel's end, a mind-boggling white-water journey down a Mexican river on an overloaded raft) is the reluctant hero of that first novel, George Kilgore. Here, George takes a seemingly innocent job as manager of a land preserve after his tree-nursery business goes bankrupt; but when he and a friend set out to find evidence that land developers are capturing California condors and removing them from the land so that it can be developed without complaint from ecologists, things get complicated. They discover a feathered, highly evolved dinosaur that has been hidden for over 20 years in a mountain bunker by the US government--a very talkative creature that soon co-opts George and an alluring Eastern Bloc spy (with the unlikely name of Jill) into fleeing with it to Mexico, with government agents in hot pursuit. Once they're below the border, the creature's surprising secret is revealed, the condor smugglers are confronted, and everything builds to the wet and wild climax. An enjoyable and diverting read--not really as farcical as it sounds--that offers some thoughtful comments on the human condition.