Bone Wars by Brett Davis
Baen Books, 1998
Price I paid: $2.95
Montana, 1876. Othniel Charles Marsh, one of the two top paleontologists in the world, is in the state’s Judith River fossil beds, doing what he does best: digging up the bones of dinosaurs. Montana is a big state, but Marsh can’t rest easy. Edward Drinker Cope, his biggest rival, and the other top paleontologist in the world, is also in the area, and there simply aren’t enough bones for both of them, leading them to play dirty tricks. And time itself is against them: the fierce snows of winter are on the way and, rumor has it, so is Sitting Bull, fresh from his triumph at Little Big Horn.
Another complication: two foreign scientists are also competing for the bones. One says he’s from Sweden, the other says he’s from Iceland. One of them enlists Cope to help him, while the other befriends Marsh.
Marsh and Cope don’t want the fossils to leave the country, so they decide to bury the hatchet and work together to outwit the visitors. This turns out to be harder than they thought. The foreign scientists possess amazing technology, but that’s because they are much more foreign than they claimed. They don’t just want to take the bones out of the country—they’re fighting over who will get to take them clean off the planet…