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Stone Spring: The Northland Trilogy

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Overview

Alternate history at its most mindblowing-from the national bestselling author of Flood and Ark.

Ten thousand years ago, a vast and fertile plain exists linking the British Isles to Europe. Home to a tribe of simple hunter-gatherers, Northland teems with nature's bounty, but is also subject to its whims.

Fourteen-year-old Ana calls Northland home, but her world is changing. The air is warming, the ice is melting, and the seas are rising. Then ...

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Stone Spring: The Northland Trilogy

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Overview

Alternate history at its most mindblowing-from the national bestselling author of Flood and Ark.

Ten thousand years ago, a vast and fertile plain exists linking the British Isles to Europe. Home to a tribe of simple hunter-gatherers, Northland teems with nature's bounty, but is also subject to its whims.

Fourteen-year-old Ana calls Northland home, but her world is changing. The air is warming, the ice is melting, and the seas are rising. Then Ana meets a traveler from a far-distant city called Jericho-a city that is protected by a wall. And she starts to imagine the impossible...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Baxter launches the Northland trilogy with this solid alternate history that stands nicely alone. In Northland, the stretch of land that is now the North Sea, adolescent Ana celebrates her “blood tide” in the matriarchal village of Etxelur while worrying about her missing father and her older sister, Zesi, who seems less interested in her savage Pretani betrothed than in his younger brother. After a tsunami kills most of the villagers, Ana is inspired by Novu, an ex-slave from Jericho, to attempt to build a wall that will hold back the sea and prevent her land from sinking. Typical Baxter touches include a large but not unwieldy cast of characters and a sudden shift forward in time, but the well-researched setting (complete with endnotes) and occasionally over-the-top interpersonal and intertribal drama keep things fresh. (Nov.)
Library Journal
During the Mesolithic era (10,000 B.C.E. to 4000 B.C.E.), a vast plain connected the British Isles to the European continent until melting ice flooded this land mass. Baxter's (Flood; Ark) latest novel reimagines what life might have been like for the hunter-gatherers confronted with a changing landscape. Ana, a girl from the Northland settlement of Etxelur, meets a wanderer named Novu from the distant walled city of Jericho. The visionary Ana recognizes that a wall to keep out the rising seas could save her village and allow it to prosper. Thus begins a massive building project that requires a lifelong commitment from the villagers, most of whom will not live to see its completion. VERDICT Baxter proves to be not only a gifted storyteller but also a master of speculative fiction, bringing together ancient civilization with present ecological uncertainties to tell an epic tale not unlike Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. His series debut should appeal to fans of Jean Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear.
Kirkus Reviews
You want climate change? Try living back in the Paleolithic, when proto-Picts prowled, icebergs melted and odd travelers from Jericho ate your store of elk meat and gawked at your daughter uninvited. That's the setup for sci-fi/fantasy writer Baxter's (Evolution, 2003, etc.) latest, the first volume of a projected trilogy. (The author, it seems, will not write a self-contained book when a series is possible.) The setting is a northerly peninsula of a place called Northland, a fertile and very nice locale, "a rich, rolling landscape that extended to the south as far as you could walk." Said peninsula, Etxelur, along with the rest of Northland, now lies under the waves, pondered by stalwarts puffing their hookahs in Amsterdam cafes, but 10,000 years ago it was the province of Baxter's heroine, a teenage girl named Ana (shades of Ayla, of Clan of the Cave Bear fame) who enjoys bouncing about in animal hides and striking up conversations about fashion with strangers out of neighboring Albia ("We make it from reeds and bark and stuff," says said stranger of his ensemble, shivering in what would appear to be the last of the cold weather before the Big Melt). There are things to like about a book with characters named Shaper, Ice Dreamer, Mammoth Talker and Moon Reacher, but it takes Baxter a long while to--beg pardon--warm up to his overarching subject, which is that the lowland that is Northland is ever so noticeably disappearing as the seas come lapping up ever higher, thanks to melting ice caps and other accouterments of what we're calling climate change these days. Enter that stranger, kidnapped all the way from the walled city of Jericho, who sets in motion one of the brighter ideas of the Old Stone Age: namely, building a great wall to keep the seas out. Will our ancestral Hans Brinker save Ana and pals from the fate of Atlantis? That particular bit of denouement, you might guess, awaits another installment. Jean Auel meets Al Gore--but without Auel's sense of drama and around-the-fire storytelling, and without Gore's skill at popularizing science.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451464187
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Series: Northland Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 9.34 (w) x 6.18 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award, the Locus Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and two Philip K. Dick Awards. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for the best alternate history novel of the year.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Riveting

    In7300 BC on Northland, fourteen year old Ana like others in her community still struggle with the Year of the Great Sea that left so many dead a year ago. Ana, whose mother is dead and father presumed dead, believes more such floods from the melting ice will occur. However, she still seeks a solution.

    Novu the brick maker is sold by his father to a trader. When he and Ana meet, he tells her about his city with the wall around it. Excited, Ana wonders if Novu could lead the construction of a wall covering hundreds of miles that will take decades of bones to build to keep the sea from flooding Northland.

    The first tale in the Northland trilogy focuses on a teenage strategic thinker whose conceptual vision leads to the project she believes will save her people and their land though Ana does not expect to live long enough to see its completion. A vivid tale, the key to Stone Spring is the details told in life and death on this ancient land starting one year after a devastating tsunami killed so many. Ana and Novu are strong characters while the support cast enhances a trip to a land whose people struggle to prevent the rising sea from claiming it.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 9, 2012

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