The novel bears several similarities to Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, though Carnosaur preceded the latter work by six years. Brosnan feared that the public would have thought that his Gollancz reissue of Carnosaur would have been seen as a plagiarism to Jurassic Park. He admitted he liked the scene in the Crichton novel film adaption involving dinosaurs rampaging through a museum, as it bore direct similarities to an incident featured in Carnosaur.
Set in a rural village in Cambridgeshire, England, the novel opens in a chicken farm which is attacked one night by a mysterious creature, leaving the farmer and his wife dead. A story circulates that the killer was a Siberian Tiger which had escaped the private zoo of an eccentric lord called Penward. A reporter named Pascal investigates the carnage and notices that the blood stained room where the attack has taken place has been thoroughly cleansed in a seeming attempt at covering the killer's footprints. A few days later, the creature attacks a stable, killing a horse, the keeper and her daughter, leaving one survivor, an 8 year old boy. Pascal arrives at the scene, only to find Penward's men already there, towing a concealed animal with a helicopter. Pascal interviews the boy who reveals that the killer was not a tiger, but a dinosaur. After unsuccessfully trying to interview Penward's men, Pascal moves on to begin a sexual relationship with Penward's nymphomaniacal wife, who eventually takes him to her private quarters.
From there, Pascal enters the zoo, only to discover that it is filled with dinosaurs. He is captured and given a tour of the establishment. He sees a variety of different species, mostly carnivorous, including the dinosaur that had escaped earlier which is identified as a Deinonychus, a sexually frustrated Megalosaurus and a Tarbosaurus. Penward explains that he recreated the dinosaurs by studying the DNA fragments found in dinosaur fossils, then using them as a basis for restructuring the DNA of chickens. He goes as far as saying that he intends to let his dinosaurs loose in remote areas of the world where they could flourish and eventually spread after what he considers an inevitable Third World War. Pascal is imprisoned, only to be rescued by Lady Penward, but only after promising that he permanently commit to her. As they make their escape, Pascal notices that his ex-girlfriend Jenny, a reporter herself, has been caught in the act of infiltrating Penwards zoo. Enraged at his insistence on helping her, Lady Penward releases the dinosaurs and other animals present in the zoo. Lord Penward is seriously wounded by an escaped bull and captures his maddened wife.
Pascal and Jenny escape to the authorities, but are not believed until reports begin flooding in on mysterious deaths. A pleasure boat is attacked by a Plesiosaurus, a Dilophosaurus kills a Member of Parliament and the Tarbosaurus destroys a pub before invading people's gardens. The British Army is called, and soon many dinosaurs are killed. The next day, Pascal goes to visit Jenny at her home, only to find her badly injured, and her family dead; killed by a Deinonychus which Pascal kills with a pitchfork. Meanwhile, the dying Lord Penward imprisons his wife in a farmhouse, where she is devoured alive by newly hatched Tyrannosaurus.
Dinosaurs and other extinct animals featuredEdit