Buckell shares a near-future vision of global environmental catastrophe. Global warming has led to the melting of the polar ice caps, and Buckell highlights a series of well-thought- out, cascading geopolitical, social and environmental consequences. The reader is guided through this rich backdrop by the well-developed character of Anika. Most readers will find this to be an enjoyable, thought-provoking story.
An experienced soldier and pilot, Anika Duncan patrols the now-verdant arctic belt region for the United Nations Polar Guard. She flies a refurbished blimp covered with a variety of scanning equipment aimed at ensuring that the dumping of waste — especially nuclear — does not happen in the ice-free arctic waters. For a survivor like Anika, it’s the perfect job, offering long hours away from a draining family and empty personal life. When scanning alarms indicate potential nuclear cargo on a rusting diesel cargo vessel, things get far more intense. Anika swoops in for a closer inspection. What she finds and what happens next will change our world forever. (TOR, Feb., 304 pp., $24.99)