KINGDOM RIVER by Mitchell Smith


Vol. II, the Snowfall Trilogy
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Second in the Snowfall Trilogy, a rousing story of wilderness survival as civilization regresses when a mile-high wall of ice stretches Atlantic to Pacific and book-learning has all but vanished. (One must suspend disbelief that all books were burned for heat while hundreds of millions of people froze.)

During a future epoch, various clans and kingdoms compete for the arable land in southern North America. In Snowfall (2002), we followed the stories of Jack Monroe, once an outcast, and facially scarred Catania Olsen, self-taught doctor to the Colorado Trappers, who join to try to save the Range from the invading Crees, who are themselves fleeing invaders. Moving south through the forest, the Trappers join the Garden tree-dwellers from the Warm time. It’s a generation later than in Snowfall, and the plot begins to fill with familiar fantasy adventure elements at the cost of the original icy backgrounds, though frost and snow still strike. Jack and Catania’s son Sam leads the army of warrior people living between Mexico City and northern Mexico, and they’ve just suffered a big defeat, with worse likely on the way. Khanate nomads, led by Toghrul Khan, who sound much like the Scythians of Russia, have crossed the northern ice and conquered the West Coast. All that lies between the barbarians and Sam’s people is Kingdom River, ruled by Queen Joan. Banding with Kingdom River looks wise, and, to give his smaller nation some stature in Kingdom River, Sam marries the Kingdom’s Princess Rachel. But vast armies sweep toward the Mississippi, and when St. Louis falls, little time is left to reinforce defenses. If Queen Joan dies, will Sam be king? Meanwhile, in New England, embryos in the womb are encouraged to grow wings, not arms, and great anchorages of breastbone muscle, all toward mastering levitation.

Battle plans, not ice, form the new enemy of survival. Well done.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-765-30008-7
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003


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