Brennan’s extensive expertise as a chair of the Climate Change Research Group at the Institute for European and International Affairs shows in the meticulous scientific dialogue and technical information throughout the book. His detailed geographical and historical knowledge about the settings comes through in his confident style. The delicate balance between fiction and nonfiction sometimes tilts toward the latter, resulting in paragraphs that are eloquently written feel more suited for a textbook. (“The terrain was defined by rocky outcrops, ridges, spurs, lava mounds (called ‘roques’) and open areas bordered by thin lines of Canary pine trees with their characteristic branches.”) Though the pace slows each time the premise is repeated for the benefit of new characters, a hint of impending danger keeps the tension brewing.
There are rare somber moments when the characters reflect on how their relationships with loved ones will change due to the global disaster. These passages, though outnumbered by the more technical sections, humanize the characters and help readers understand what is personally at stake if their mission fails. Readers who revel in scholarly fiction will enjoy Brennan’s academic approach, which sends an unmistakable warning about climate change via a high-stakes thriller plot.
Takeaway: Climate change activists and readers wondering what environmental disaster might look like will devour this scholarly thriller.
Great for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain, Tim Lebbon’s Eden.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-