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Norman Westhoff
The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

In this sequel to "Stone Fever," geologist Keltyn SparrowHawk, recovered from a near-fatal bullet wound, tries to make a new life with the nomadic Antarctic tribe that took her in, but clues point to mega-industrialist Sir Oscar Bailey readying a second mission to exploit the iridium treasure by Mt. Erebus. Sure that his plan spells disaster for her tribe, she must first inspire her Onwei friends.

The second entry in Westhoff’s eco-minded near-future Erebus Tales series, after Stone Fever, takes readers back to a clash between an indigenous culture and dystopian Earth societies wracked by dwindling resources, political intrigue, and corporate greed. Raising questions about collective responsibility and altruism when the social grid is beginning to fail, the geologist Keltyn SparrowHawk returns, finding herself protecting the Antarctic tribe that has nursed her from the brink of death after the events of the first book—and now facing with them the invasive forces of a desperate first world society that will do anything for its survival.

Westhoff’s ability to craft compelling point-of-views from opposing characters is his strong left hook, the skill that makes his work stand out. The cast of characters in The Color of Greed include sociopathic henchmen, an eager shaman-in-training, clever scholars and average Joes alike, plus that ethical geologist, who, notably, is the only one written from the first-person perspective. That immersive, engaging characterization—plus the urgent hook of a world reeling from climate change—makes this volume inviting even to readers who missed the first book. Westhoff’s depiction of Canadians moving to Antarctica via airship because of land issues is both darkly comic and subtly distressing, and he’s skilled at depicting individuals attempting to negotiate factions, right down to the gossip and infighting among the Nomidar tribe.

The book’s most compelling element, though, is Westhoff’s approach to environmentalism and a long-term view of a world ravaged by climate change: the Earth’s hemispheres have been divided by a “hurricane belt,” ocean levels threaten farmland, and companies and governments who see extractive iridium mining as a solution. Westhoff pits that thinking against the Nomidar’s perspective without resorting to cliché or didacticism, staking a fine middle ground in a climate-fiction genre that too often indulges both.

Takeaway: Climate fiction fans will relish this near-future thriller that pits corporations against an Antarctic tribe.

Great for fans of: Christopher Brown’s Tropic of Kansas, Kim Stanley Robinson.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Bob Fraga, Amazon customer review

This is a delightful romp through a world after climate change has altered the planet’s living spaces and power structure. A sequel to the author’s Stone Fever, it continues the adventures of Keltyn SparrowHawk in her new home with a nomadic tribe in Antarctica. Readers will find it hard to put down this 340-page novel once they are enmeshed in a story that wafts them from Antarctica to Canada to Switzerland. Westhoff embellishes each chapter with illustrations of masks that add distinctively to his narrative. Highly recommended.

"The Color of Greed" 2nd edition published today by Iguana Books, Toronto

Norman Westhoff self-published the first two volumes of his sci-fi trilogy Erebus Tales in 2016 and 2018. Iguana Books republished the first volume, Stone Fever, in November 2020. The second book, The Color of Greed, was released in May 2021. Look for the previously unpublished finalé, Gifts of a Dark God, in November 2021.