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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Iceapelago by Peter Brennan is a dystopian environmental fiction thriller and the first book in the author's Iceapelago series. The book lays its foundation with a chilling look at a future where climate change has altered the world as we know it, taking the landscape back to conditions not seen in over 20,000 years. It is determined by scientists to be a 'when', not an 'if', as the cataclysmic impact shifts the earth's vista into an icy tundra. The build-up to Brennan's new ice age is marked out through a chain of events that usher in environmental collapse due to the planet's most destructive inhabitants. The rapid melting of an ice sheet and rising sea levels, the disruption of the Gulf Stream, and the eruption of a previously latent pyroclastic volcano that triggers tsunamis all foretell the natural conclusion to a wholly unnatural desecration by man. Through the points of view of multiple characters and a traversing of the globe, Brennan delivers the inaugural backstory to a book series with sweeping environmental ramifications that feel eerily true to life.
There's no question that Peter Brennan has an intimate familiarity with the scientific aspects of Iceapelago, but what I found to be the most surprising was the depictions of the places the characters occupy. “This was God’s place, where mountains, summits, rivers, and lakes had no names. Undiscovered remoteness. Wide-open nothingness. Pure beauty.” The writing is intelligent and one could probably argue that it has a little more substance than style, but that same tag was also attributed to Tom Clancy whose method I am reminded of as I immersed myself in Brennan's work. The sense of foreboding hangs over the storyline throughout, showcasing a unique stripe of tension that plays well into an end-of-the-world construct, far better than the usual cheap action shots. The greatest asset Brennan leverages after his intensive knowledge and descriptions is the realism instilled so there is no suspension of disbelief required. That's huge in a dystopian novel. It takes a minute to get into Iceapelago, but once I was in, I was hooked. I'm looking forward to its follow-up, Aftermath.