An engaging, offbeat, and Bible-inspired apocalyptic tale.



This first installment of a religion-themed SF/fantasy saga focuses on the high-tech but intrigue-wracked island nation of Atlantis and how a brilliant woman trusts science to rescue humanity from doom.

A dedication to God up front indicates Canadian author Cook’s antediluvian epic is sincerely meant as evangelical literature. But initially, readers encounter playfulness and semisatire that fall almost within hailing distance of dogma-bashing material like James Morrow’s Towing Jehovah (1994). Supposedly drawing from fringe history experts and Creation science, Cook depicts life in fabled Atlantis circa the biblical deluge. Humanity is high-tech and spacegoing (though penned in by an alien embargo) but, thanks to Adam and Eve, fatally decadent, divided, and driven to self-destruction. Especially significant is a looming military conflict with Lemuria, a fierce “Women’s Liberation” rogue state stopping at nothing for total control. Beautiful, psychic Atlantean science graduate Ithyanna foresees an upcoming apocalypse. Though tentatively a follower of Olympus-style deities, she puts her faith in rationalism and technology, plotting a starship escape of the planet’s best and brightest before it’s too late. Meanwhile, her adopted sister, an alcoholic “coarseneck” (redneck) with an affinity for “cargonaut” (country-and-western) music, repents and joins ex-technician Noah, a shunned disciple of the god Elohim. Noah, of course, is building a giant gopher-wood boat for his family and a menagerie of animals despite much public scorn and ridicule. God/Elohim—who appears as a talking lion like Aslan of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia tales—worries that Ithyanna’s scheme may spoil the whole flood thing. In this engrossing tale, treachery, arrogance, violence, nonbelief, and selfishness beset the eponymous hero’s plans and illuminate God’s true path. En route are enjoyable shoutouts to the Adam West Batman TV series, references to the movie flops Star! and Doctor Doolittle, and disguised versions of Kurt Waldheim, White nationalism, and Islam. If they aren’t too tempted to dig deeper for additional takedowns (was that supposed to be Oprah Winfrey? Madonna? Former President George W. Bush? Justin Trudeau?), readers will get a basically traditional exhortation urging redemption—complete with Gospel excerpts—attired in riots of rococo filigree and vivid anachronisms. This work certainly isn’t part of the Tim LaHaye/Jerry B. Jenkins school of Christian fantasy.

An engaging, offbeat, and Bible-inspired apocalyptic tale. (introduction, list of the nations, cast-of-characters guide, map)

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 271

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.


A fantasy adventure with a sometimes-biting wit.

Tress is an ordinary girl with no thirst to see the world. Charlie is the son of the local duke, but he likes stories more than fencing. When the duke realizes the two teenagers are falling in love, he takes Charlie away to find a suitable wife—and returns with a different young man as his heir. Charlie, meanwhile, has been captured by the mysterious Sorceress who rules the Midnight Sea, which leaves Tress with no choice but to go rescue him. To do that, she’ll have to get off the barren island she’s forbidden to leave, cross the dangerous Verdant Sea, the even more dangerous Crimson Sea, and the totally deadly Midnight Sea, and somehow defeat the unbeatable Sorceress. The seas on Tress’ world are dangerous because they’re not made of water—they’re made of colorful spores that pour down from the world’s 12 stationary moons. Verdant spores explode into fast-growing vines if they get wet, which means inhaling them can be deadly. Crimson and midnight spores are worse. Ships protected by spore-killing silver sail these seas, and it’s Tress’ quest to find a ship and somehow persuade its crew to carry her to a place no ships want to go, to rescue a person nobody cares about but her. Luckily, Tress is kindhearted, resourceful, and curious—which also makes her an appealing heroine. Along her journey, Tress encounters a talking rat, a crew of reluctant pirates, and plenty of danger. Her story is narrated by an unusual cabin boy with a sharp wit. (About one duke, he says, “He’d apparently been quite heroic during those wars; you could tell because a great number of his troops had died, while he lived.”) The overall effect is not unlike The Princess Bride, which Sanderson cites as an inspiration.

Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781250899651

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.


A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?