For eccentric billionaire Howard Christian, a discovery like the mammoth carcass means a chance to add to his toys. So he keeps the find secret while he lines up personnel for his project of cloning a live pet mammoth. Enter Dr. Susan Morgan, elephant expert. It will be her job to make sure a baby mammoth is born some twenty-two months later.

But there's more. Next to the mammoth was found the body of a man, clutching a briefcase-like box which could well be a time machine. The box is dented, no one can figure out how it works, but the Clovis hunters who lived in the mammoths’ era surely did not have the technology to make it. Howard Christian thinks it would be dandy to have a time machine, too. So he hires Matt Wright, math genius, to figure out how it works.

From then on, a dizzying sequence of events occurs, showing that time may not be bendable but it is definitely unpredictable. Matt and Susan become friends, then lovers. Anti-cloning demonstrators trash Christian's lab. Matt has not deciphered the time-travel machine's secrets but the attack apparently activates it. He, Susan, and her elephants are thrown back into the Stone Age. When they return—as unexpectedly as they traveled there—a herd of mammoths, lurking near the La Brea tar pits, is dragged through time with them.

Howard Christian manages to “make lemonade” out of this lemon of a disaster. Matt and the time machine disappear, and only two of the...

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