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SILVERHAIR by Stephen Baxter


The Mammoths Trilogy, Vol. I

by Stephen Baxter

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-105132-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

First of a projected science fiction trilogy from the England-resident author of Moonseed (1998). On an island in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia, mammoths have survived unnoticed since the last ice age. But now, reduced to a single herd, the gentle giants struggle to survive a warming climate, a dwindling gene pool, and the attentions of humanity. Though intelligent and sapient, the mammoths have no effective defense against a small party of men who’ve suddenly appeared on their island. Young Silverhair, the herd’s future Matriarch, and her mate Lop-ear decide they need new ideas and new thinking to survive. They ask the humans for help, but they respond by shooting Lop-ear and capturing Silverhair. Her captor, Skin-of-Ice, proves a ruthless enemy and takes a sadistic delight in tormenting her. Eventually contriving an escape, Silverhair flees back to the remnants of the herd, pursued by both Skin-of-Ice and a helicopter. The remainder of the herd dies attempting to prevent the seizure of its surviving calves, who are then taken to a mainland city. Calling on the mammoths’ ancient compact with their distant relatives, the sea cows, Silverhair swims to the mainland, rescues the calves, battles again with her nemesis, and finally is captured by scientists and placed in a reserve back on the island. Lop-ear, however, isn’t dead; he tells Silverhair of the existence of elephants, so perhaps their species might survive. An improbable yarn, stuffed with mammoth facts and lore, that’s both absorbing and sometimes affecting.