Stephen Baxter

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08919-8

Reviewed by Mitenae

Stone Spring is classic Stephen Baxter as I’ve read before, except this time the end-of-the-world scenario is set in the Mesolithic era on a land bridge linking the British Isles to Europe.

Ana’s mother is dead and her father, Kirike, is missing after going hunting. She’s hoping he will return but on the night Ana celebrates her Blood Tide, Mama Sunta, her grandmother and last remaining carer, unexpectedly dies. Ana and her sister Zesi survive, managing to keep their family together but then Kirike returns with a woman from a strange land, Ice Dreamer, and their land is slowly being eaten away piece by piece. Ana must find a way to keep the community together and stop the ocean from taking away their home.

My biggest concern with this book is to do with different cultures. For me they were too much the same and reminded me far too much of Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear’s The First North Americans series (People of the Silence, People of the Lightning, etc) series about native American communities. I would have liked to have more of a specific European flavour with Ana’s community, more of a native American feel with Ice Dreamers and more of a middle eastern feel with Novu’s. For me too much English terminology (and names) were used and a simple shift in using the appropriate languages would have made, for me, a massive difference is delineating the communities and clearly setting each apart.

Although I enjoyed the story, near the end of it I was glad to be done with this book. I’m not a fan of end-of-the-world stories (in books or on film), largely due to their predictability, and I’ve read better books about ancient cultures than this one.