A near-future world struggles to survive after the melting Arctic ice cap triggers devastating worldwide climate change in the start of Briggs’ (Locksmith’s Journeys, 2016, etc.) series.
Months after the ice in the Arctic Ocean disappears, very few global changes seem to have taken place. Some glaciers, in fact, have increased in size, leading people to speculate that the dangers of global warming were exaggerated. But soon the weather intensifies, with heavy snowfall and flooding in various countries. Virginia governor Carrie Camberg, with aspirations for the presidency, aids in creating a plan to combat rising sea levels in the U.S. Some climatologists call the excessive flooding a Northern Monsoon, believing that the calamitous weather is the beginning of an annual occurrence. Millions of citizens are affected, including engineer Isabel Bradshaw, whose family may lose their Maryland home. People die, and the catastrophe only builds; famine-stricken North Korea, for one, demands food from America, threatening nuclear attack if their plea isn’t immediately resolved. Fortunately, Isabel’s old babysitter, Sandy Symcox, billionaire genius, inventor, and CEO of De L’Air Diamonds, may have a plan to save civilization (and stretch readers’ credulity), which will require her brains, money, and help from people like Isabel and Carrie. Briggs balances his story’s worldwide chaos with engaging characters. Frequent updates on destructive weather, separate from characters’ perspectives, relay information like a textbook but aren’t without color: Ice storms “slashed across the map like razors”; a hurricane’s “death throes were a force to be reckoned with.” Though the intense storms can sometimes overwhelm the narrative, there’s nuance from the cast, predominantly Isabel and Carrie. Isabel, for example, has personal troubles, constantly seeking employment and arguing with herself (her “inner critic”). Minor elements of the future world appear mostly in footnotes—soft drink Quesch boasts a dash of THC—but, as Book 1 covers only five years, subsequent volumes can explore the world’s terrain even further.
This epic story of global pandemonium wisely centers on accessible characters.