A Hundred Million Years and a Day is everything I like in a novel. Spare prose about people testing themselves against the extremes of nature. Stan is a paleontologist who is seeking the skeleton of a brontosaurus hidden in an Alpine cave. His search is based on a story told by an old man from his home town who said he found a dragon. People laughed at his stories, but Stan, a budding paleontologist even in childhood believed he was telling the truth and that he had seen a brontosaurus.

He goes with his good friend Umberto, a former assistant, and Umberto’s assistant Peter. They are led by an excellent guide named Gio. Success often seems close at hand but the mountain fights to keep its secrets.

A Hundred Million Years and a Day is a slight book but it holds a lot within. It tells of the remarkable friendship between Stan and Umberto and how that friendship can strain and mend. There is the adventure, the bonding of four men with a shared goal, and how they divide. There is the struggle of man against the environment. And on top of all that, there is a rich backstory of Stan’s childhood and the love and trauma that made him who he is. I finished the book last week and have spent hours thinking about it because it’s that kind of book, the ones that stick with you.

I received A Hundred Million Years and a Day from the publisher through Shelf Awareness