Reviews for Arctic Rising

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #1
This fast-paced near-future thriller delivers a combination of geopolitical intrigue and technological speculation, only flagging as it reaches its jumbled conclusion. Buckell (Sly Mongoose, 2008, etc.) comes down to Earth from the outer-space settings of his earlier sci-fi novels, with a story set just a few decades in the future, as global warming has opened a whole new avenue for shipping and trade in the Arctic Circle. Rather than depicting an apocalyptic doomsday scenario along the lines of The Day After Tomorrow, Buckell envisions global warming as a slow process with far-reaching but gradually accumulating consequences. Thanks to the opening of the Northwest Passage, so-called "Arctic Tiger" countries, including Canada and Greenland, have emerged as new world powers. The novel's protagonist is a Nigerian named Anika Duncan, who works for the United Nations Polar Guard, an international agency that polices the semi-lawless Arctic Circle region. When Anika's airship is shot down by rogue seamen from the deck of a vessel carrying a nuclear device, she's plunged into a conspiracy that involves secret agents, underworld figures and a seemingly benevolent green-energy corporation with a sinister agenda. Buckell focuses as much on action-thriller set pieces as he does on teasing out a plausible future, placing the novel somewhere around the intersection of Michael Crichton and William Gibson. That balance holds until the climax, which mixes awkward speechifying with breathless, confusing action sequences that seem to exist solely to increase the body count. The nuances of Buckell's ideas about environmental policy also end up obliterated by the reveal of a megalomaniacal villain who holds the world hostage with what amounts to a high-tech death ray. Anika remains grounded and sympathetic throughout, though, and the author's vision of the development of Arctic civilization is consistently fascinating. Buckell successfully draws the reader in with his characters and ideas, only to blow things up a little too thoroughly by the end. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 February #2

Global warming has nearly melted the Arctic ice cap, drastically altering the world's balance of power and sending nations into a race to claim the massive northern oil resources suddenly made accessible. When a nuclear weapon is smuggled into the Arctic Circle, airship pilot Anika Duncan of the United Nations Polar Guard attempts to chase down the culprits. Instead, she finds herself caught in the midst of a political struggle between the Gaia Corporation, which has an idea that might slow down global warming and possibly reverse the damage, and a secret group of corporations and military interests trying to profit from the newly emerging powers, which include Canada and the Inuit tribes. The author of Halo: The Cole Protocol delivers a fast-paced sf action thriller that presents a multifaceted look at the global warming crisis. VERDICT With great cinematic potential, this near-future sf adventure should appeal to fans of disaster fiction and speculative fiction authors J.G. Ballard and Ben Bova.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 December #2

Working from actual U.S. Navy reports, bestseller Buckell (Halo: The Cole Protocol) produces an intimate techno-thriller about an ecological showdown in an ice-free Arctic. Anika Duncan, a U.N. airship pilot, records a radiation signal and is thrust into the hunt for a stolen nuclear weapon. Suspecting a traitor within her own agency, she turns to her contacts inside the Arctic underworld to discover who is introducing tiny airborne mirrors into the polar atmosphere. Weaving among mercenaries, freelance moviemakers, elite military, and megalomaniacal environmentalists, Anika is forced to decide in a hands-on fashion about the ethics of torture and the moral philosophy of geo-engineering. The story moves swiftly and Anika's inner conflicts are keenly drawn, even as Buckell raises the stakes unbelievably high. Eyebrows may also be raised unbelievably high at the libertarian free-trade ice island at the North Pole, but as a character points out, it does give a nice new meaning for "breakaway republics." Agent: JABberwocky Literary Agency. (Feb.)

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