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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requiem For a Drowned World (4.5 Stars ****)
This book begins in 2016 with the story of five hostages held in Barcelona, where it's raining heavily and won't stop. They're rescued by a team sent by Nathan Lomockson - a technocrat and very rich man - but not before one of them is brutally killed. The remaining four pledge to look out for each other from then on. Lomockson himself takes a lifelong interest in each of...
Published on 26 Oct. 2008 by G. J. Oxley

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor characterisation
This is a plot-driven novel that makes a good holiday read. It is a shame that Baxter struggles with characterisation (indeed this aspect is virtually non-existent). So don't expect any deep psychgological insights - characters are little more than ciphers for plot developments. It is this failing that limits the book's ambitions and prevents it from being ranked...
Published on 7 Sept. 2009 by D. P. Mankin


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requiem For a Drowned World (4.5 Stars ****), 26 Oct. 2008
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Hardcover)
This book begins in 2016 with the story of five hostages held in Barcelona, where it's raining heavily and won't stop. They're rescued by a team sent by Nathan Lomockson - a technocrat and very rich man - but not before one of them is brutally killed. The remaining four pledge to look out for each other from then on. Lomockson himself takes a lifelong interest in each of them, and their fates thereafter are tied in with his. The ensuing events in the novel take place over a span of around sixty years.

The narrative moves forward by chronological increments as the world's water level increases, and continues to rise. The episodic structure suits the book perfectly - it's a neat narrative trick. Baxter provides us with a series of snapshots of important events and details the human reaction to each stage of the increase.

Nathan sets himself up as a would-be saviour of the world. He appears at pivotal points throughout the story as the sea levels rise higher and higher, and we see the impact of important events on his and/or one or more of the former hostages. Although a hard-boiled, nuts and bolts SF writer, Stephen Baxter realises that his book would be nothing if the reader weren't allowed to engage emotionally with the characters.

And even though the characterisation isn't as strong as your average mainstream writer's, it's still good enough to carry the story of the watery death of an entire planet.

If you remember back to your schooldays (a harder and harder job for some of us!) the hydrologic cycle taught us that there is not one extra drop of water now than there was at the time of creation. So where is the extra water coming from? Melting icecaps? That would only be responsible for a limited increase. The author comes up with a fairly plausible reason for the scenario - and guess what? - we're responsible! But I'll say no more about this aspect, as I don't want to spoil the book for readers.

This is a big fat tome but I galloped through it very quickly. There are a lot of evocative scenes that resonate in the mind long after the book is finished, and it reminded me of why I fell in love with SF in the first place some thirty years ago. I for one am greatly looking forward to the follow-up `Ark', due out next year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant idea, perhaps a bit drawn out..., 6 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
I really enjoyed reading this, the idea behind it is terrifying and that alone keeps you reading just to find out what's going to happen. It really feeds your imagination, the mental images you get whilst reading Baxter's descriptions of a flooding world. However, in parts I found myself bored and a bit overwhelmed by all the science he includes. At first it's interesting stuff, but I ended up flicking past a lot of it as it got very boring and unnecessary; much like listening to a Science teacher going off on a tangent that you can't follow! I wonder if it would have made a better story if there were more mystery surrounding the flooding, or in other words a heck of a lot less science.

Would have also liked more insight into the flooding from the point of view of other, more "normal" characters. The gang you follow seem never to be in the worst of it, meaning that sometimes you don't get that sense of panic, dread and imminent danger that makes the idea of a flooding world so chilling.

Despite that, a very worthwhile and impressive read, can't wait to start reading the sequel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor characterisation, 7 Sept. 2009
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
This is a plot-driven novel that makes a good holiday read. It is a shame that Baxter struggles with characterisation (indeed this aspect is virtually non-existent). So don't expect any deep psychgological insights - characters are little more than ciphers for plot developments. It is this failing that limits the book's ambitions and prevents it from being ranked alongside apocalyptic classics by John Christopher, Margarer Atwood, Cormac McCarthy and so on. I felt the ending was rather a non-event (clearly a sequel was in mind and this somewhat ruined the potential for any thought-provoking conclusion).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good read, 7 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Flood (Kindle Edition)
It's a good read but...
There were moments when reading the book, that I felt something was missing. Just couple of paragraphs here and there, more defined picture, just a few more details. With the action spanning some fifty years it is not easy to choose what to write about and what to concentrate on but I felt that sometimes the action was tat too narrow.
The main problem of the book is the lack of definition of characters. We start off with five of them, all held hostage for years in Spain, only to have a number reduced to four just when the main action starts to unfold and they are liberated. There are two women: Lily and Helen, and two men: Gary and Piers. We know very little about them: Lily is a helicopter pilot, Helen a mother of a three-year-old daughter Grace, a product of a rape. Piers has some kind of a mental breakdown and Gary is a scientist. And that's as much as we will learn, safe for one or two more details. There just simply isn't enough, forgive me the pun, meet on these bodies to get attached to them, to be able to absorb the unfolding events through their eyes.
As to the action, it is either too fast or too slow, not enough details to absorb the enormity of the catastrophe that happens on the pages of the book. I think that problem is that it tried to tell the story on a global scale. Therefore we have information about almost simultaneous events in USA, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Each treated with similar attention. But instead of concentrating on one, maybe two places, showing changes over a longer time, author hops from continent to continent, from place to place like a mad grasshopper. Instead of letting us get used to characters, get attached to them emotionally so that we can feel what they feel, see what they see, live the action through their emotions, we have a group of people whom we follow around the globe for many years. And I always end up with the same question: why these people, why these places?
To be blunt, for me this book was a good reading but not a satisfying one. It seemed to me to be more of a draft of a saga than first volume in trilogy. There are so many fascinating and only just suggested people and events in that story that beg to be given more prominence, more detail, more meat on the skeleton. Maybe author will reconsider, now all three books been published, revisiting the first tome and writing it into a trilogy itself?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been great, 14 Sept. 2009
By 
Eoin Lynch - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
The book doesn't live up to the great premise and indeed after a good opening third it kind of meanders to a so-so conclusion. I'm a fan of Baxter's and am familiar with his unsympathetic characters. In this book however the principal character (Lily) is dull. Merely an observer of events. I was expecting a book full of harrowing scenes (War, plague, famine etc) but instead we get the passive characters meeting up every now and again to infodump how high the water is and what landmark has now been drowned beneath the sea. Most of the principle characters are sheltered under the wing of a visionary billionaire and so get to ride out the flood in relative comfort while the rest of humanity goes down the plug hole. The best thing about the book is the maps showing the diminishing continents as the waters rise. The book is still worth a read but could have been so much better.

The sequel - Ark - looks promising and again the protagonists are women. 3 of them. Come on Baxter! Give us a break. Do you not think you're overdoing it a bit with all the strong sensible female heroes and weak, ineffective, greedy, and puffed up males? It's all a bit too BBC.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but....., 6 Jan. 2013
By 
Mr. A. J. Carr "Andra75" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Kindle Edition)
I was really looking forward to this book (and the sequel "Ark"), but by the end I was willing it, almost begging it to end. I've read Baxter's Voyage a few years ago and really enjoyed it but this one relating to hostages in Barcelona and their attempts to survive afterwards in a world dissappearing under water left me boared towards the end.

I felt it started very strongly but as it progressed the story line dragged on and was in my opinion by 3 quarters in, to elaborate and became quite tedious and boring for myself. There was a lot of characters that were good and strong which I felt should have been in the book a lot more and some who appeared and you are left wondering what happened to them and also "what was the point of them".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theme, promising start, but lost the plot..., 5 May 2012
By 
H. C. Vaandrager "Henk" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
I really like authors merging science and fiction. Flood looked very promising in this regard and for the first 100-200 pages I was quite excited about the book. Baxter made the flooding of the world seem realistic, all of a sudden, and describes in detail how a global flood would impact the world as we know it. He did not succeed, however, in two important things : 1) bringing his main characters alive, so the reader gets to care about their faate and 2) after a strong start, I think the plot got completely bogged down and it felt to me that page after page their were just more descriptions of life on a planet under water. If neither the plot, nor the fate of the mian characters inspires, then it becomes quite hard to me to finish a book...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Water, water everywhere, 17 Feb. 2012
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
This reminded me (fairly obviously why) of Flood by Richard Doyle - same scenario - but both authors have treated the subject in very different ways. I enjoyed Richard Doyle's book. I also enjoyed this book, but it was, at times, a bit hard going.

The manner in which we are introduced quite abruptly to the flooding patterns affecting the world is very ingenious - rescued victims who had been held by terrorist organisations for some years are abruptly reintroduced to the world at large - and the world has changed because they have been away from it, so to speak. That's a clever way to introduce what is new to them (and to us) but which has been happening slowly and inexorably to the rest of the population at large. The terrorist victims remain a closeknit group which is also a good way for the author to ensure that we see the spread of the impact of the weather events in a linked (but slightly separated) way.

The book itself covers quite a few years, so we are witness to the events impacting the earth and its climate, and what it means to the people, nations, governments, industries and social fabric of the world as we know it as doom slowly approaches. What could humankind possibly do against an ever-increasing water level? It does make you think.

I admit to being somewhat perplexed throughout, as to where exactly all the water was coming from, but as long as I suspended that slightly nagging question from the back of my mind, the story itself is entertaining - the premise is intriguing, the characters are sufficiently interesting to keep the reader's interest. The sequel, Ark, is in my pile of books to read, so I hope that continues the same intriguing story. I cannot imagine where it will end other than in complete annihilation - the End of all? Have to read and find out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great British disaster novel, 29 Oct. 2009
By 
A. J. Poulter "AP" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
This is another offering in the grand tradition of British disaster novels. No triffids, Martian invaders or death of grass here, just lots and lots of water. The early scenes feature storms and record high tides, as parts of the eastern coast of England get swamped. This is definitely not fun to read while commuting on the Docklands Light Railway, in the East End of London, near the Thames barrier, as I was for the early chapters. The accepted explanation is global warming, but it slowly becomes clear that there is no connection between the melting poles and the ever escalating rise in sea level. Pretty much up until the end though, this self-deluding assumption is never challenged as people cannot accept what is happening.

The global catastrophe is seen through the eyes of a handful of core characters, who 'meet' as hostages of various extremist groups in a Spain disintegrating into political, religious and ethnic factions. There is a relic here of the Time's Tapestry series, as parts of the research for that series of novels pops up again to justify a fractured Spain.

The hostages' rescuer, Nathan Lammockson, a canny and ruthless tycoon, is perhaps the only person who mounts a continual struggle against calamity. There is plenty of research in this novel to explain the sea level rise, and illustrate how things start to fall apart, with little vignettes from all over the world. One of the main roles of the core set of characters is to be recipients of these dollops of knowledge, or to get involved in escapades which require context/background.

And from the research come plenty of memorable scenes in the novel. The destruction of motorways out of London to keep the homeless trapped in the metropolis. The Statue of Liberty sinking beneath the waves. The Pope being helicoptered out of a drowning Vatican. An ocean liner being built by Lammockson on an Andean peak, as a 'ark' of refuge to be floated later by rising waters. Big Ben seen through the windows of a deep sea vessel. Civilisation reduced to fleets of rafts and sargasso seas full of floating plastic rubbish. And Everest itself eventually going under the waves.

While the prose does not really rise to the challenge of the some of the scenes in this novel, the ideas are well-worked out and things are set up for a gripping sequel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Start swimming now..., 20 Oct. 2009
By 
Stuart Mcmillan (Glasgow, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
Stephen Baxter seems to be brilliant at picking up on some bonkers bit of science and blowing us all up with it. Moonseed managed to change the face of the planet in one way and 'flood' picks up on the current science of climate change and sea-level rise and runs with it, creating a never-ending deluge (where does it all come from?) that takes real-science predictions and just keeps on going.

The protagonists are invented from a sealed-off group of hostages who've been kept out of the news and the public eye for 5 years and have no idea just how fast and how deep (pun intended) the waters round the world have got.

It's pretty quickly clear that the scientific establishment hasn't yet got their head around the impending catastrophe and poor planning and it takes continued sea-level rise for a few smart men to start making shrewd investments around planning for the future. (Shades of 'When Worlds Collide' here).

The hostages are used as a thread through the tapestry that is the unfolding of the unceasing and unrelenting rise of the waters around the world. The sea itself and the shrinking land are the major players here, the people merely playing out a destiny in the destruction of the earth.

The ensemble cast plays out the role of narrator and protagonist and creates a sequence of possibilities for the salvation or damnation of mankind, neatly setting the scene for the subsequent novel, 'Ark'.

I enjoyed the book, but the sheer scale of Baxter's canvass makes for characters that struggle to be heard against the vision. Any one thread would have been enough to follow, but the constant intermingling dilutes the intensity of feeling for the people's narrative that would've made something more meaningful.
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Flood by Stephen Baxter
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