Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Review | Stone Spring by Stephen Baxter

Review by Stuart Mayne

Hot on the heels of his near future world flood duology (Flood and Ark), Baxter is back on the flood theme with Stone Spring, a Mesolithic speculative fiction novel about what would happen if the North Sea hadn't flooded entirely.
As usual with all of Baxter's novels this is a well researched and lively written narrative of high excitement with the ability to delight and move the reader.
Ana is fourteen. Her father is missing, her mother dead. Ana lives on the coast of Doggerland, a vast and fertile plain that linked Britain to mainland Europe during the Mesolithic era. But the world is changing. The ice age is coming to an end and the glaciers are retreating and the seas rising. One fateful year a tsunami sweeps inland and scatters Ana's people. But if the people of distant Jericho could build a wall to keep the world out surely Ana's people could build a wall to keep the sea out?
As much as this is a book of environmental disaster and man's ingenuity to overcome natural disaster it is also, in Baxter's best skill, a story of family and the jealousies that lead man to do bad things to the one's we love the best.

This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.