Impressive and worthwhile, but even committed readers will be tempted to skim at times.


Final entry in the alternate-world Northland trilogy (Bronze Summer, 2012, etc.).

Once again, stunning worldbuilding is the order of the day. In 1315, Extelur, originally built thousands of years ago as a wall to hold back the encroaching seas, has expanded into a vast linear city housing the most powerful civilization in the world. To the east lies the Hattusan (Hittite) Empire; to the south, Carthage, having destroyed Rome in the Punic Wars, occupies North Africa and Iberia; the Mongols hold sway in Asia; in the Americas, three sprawling civilizations have arisen. As the story opens, old scholar Pyxeas studies the behavior of glaciers in Coldland (Greenland). He returns to Extelur with a young Inuit companion, Avatak, and bad news: The current bitterly cold weather is but a harbinger of a new Ice Age. But Pyxeas’ understanding of the forces and processes behind this is yet incomplete, so he plans to travel to Cathay to consult the scholars there, meanwhile warning Extelur’s fractious leaders of what is to come. Few, of course, believe him—until another heatless summer is rapidly followed by a winter of unprecedented ferocity. As Pyxeas and Avatak make their way to Cathay, they observe civilizations in the throes of collapse. The Hattusans, menaced by Scand and Rus hordes fleeing the north, make a fateful decision: uproot their entire empire and sail south to challenge Carthage for control of the agricultural wealth of Egypt. All this is brought to vibrant life in a series of fine character studies and interactions, even if the plotting is far less probable than the densely woven backdrop. The drawback is Baxter’s tendency to drench everything in detail, all too frequently slowing the narrative to a crawl.

Impressive and worthwhile, but even committed readers will be tempted to skim at times.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-451-24012-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 40

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?


This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet