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3.4 out of 5 stars
103
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2015
By far the best book of the trilogy; an interesting story line, the characters are full and well-drawn and the narrative is perfectly paced with plenty of action but not too much too quickly. I would have liked a little more science as the central theme of the earth flooding catastrophically from underground reservoirs was inadequately explained.
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on 25 April 2017
Gripping vision of a possible future. Very readable and hugely enjoyable.
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on 26 October 2008
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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on 9 June 2017
This book ticked all my boxes, the usual ones I love such as disasters kicking mankind's behind, the world slowly falling to its knees, unscrupulous so and so's making fortunes from the planet's demise and the fact that what is happening in the book could quite possible happen.

It starts with our introduction to the group of hostages are the characters who take us through the story, their lives intertwining as the world disappears under the waves.

The sea levels are rising but they are rising faster than expected, now this is the bit I really enjoyed (that sounds bad when I read that back!) the description of the landmarks, the cities, towns, places that we know and love vanishing under the water, it really was horrific. There is a map in my copy and the landmasses on the planet get smaller and smaller as the years go on, the world gets smaller and the population (which has also got smaller) is running out of safe havens.

Now I really wanted to enjoy this book and the whole end of the world by biblical flood sold the story to me but I'd say about three-quarters in to the book I got a little fed up, the characters just started to grate a little, maybe there was too many of them for my liking, maybe I'm just picky but I just started to lose any support I felt for them.

Flood also features a savvy billionaire who uses the flooding to his advantage to line his pockets, he plans to help save mankind just not all of it.

So to sum up this was an ok read but I found it was lacking something towards that three-quarter mark that could propel my reading happily without having to force myself past that point.
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on 25 March 2017
First 75% of this book is superfluous and is like a badly written travelogue. Perhaps Mr Baxter wants to show off how well he knows London. If so he should write a travel book and not burden sf readers with his "knowledge"
This book is slow and at times tedious giving yhe impression that he had a short story that needed padded out.
A poor offering.
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on 21 October 2015
Boring
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2009
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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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 February 2012
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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on 20 October 2009
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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on 7 June 2013
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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