Saturday, June 02, 2007

Book Review Stephen Baxter's Mammoth Trilogy

I can't believe it's nearly been six months since I've posted on here and much more worrying so long since I finished reading a book, damn work, the Twat and too much alcohol, but finally I've now finally completed reading Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy.

Longtusk is the second story in Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy, although this is a trilogy all three novels can be read independently.

The story follows the life of a young bull "Long Tusk" who loses his family in a fire and then is taken in by a tribe of Neanderthals. The Neanderthals (Dreamers) are in competition for land with tribes of Homo Sapiens (Fireheads) and Long Tusk gets involved in the war. The Fireheads keep a herd of Mastadons to do heavy lifting and hauling and Long Tusk became one of this down-trodden herd.

Long Tusk eventually finds both freedom and his family and succeeds in saving the last of the mammoths from the Fireheads by crossing the land-bridge from Alaska into what was to become modern day Siberia.

Icebones is the third installment in Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy and is probably the best book of the Trilogy because - get this - it's set on Mars! Mammoths on Mars, what a cool concept!

The story follows the life of Icebones the daughter of Silverhair who was the central character in the first Mammoth book.I did spent quite a lot of the time reading the book trying to work out how the Martian ecology had been changed by man to enable Mammoths to survive there, but this actually does become clear at the end of the tale, so I won't spoli it for you.

Icebones awakes after being in suspended animation during the journey to Mars (and I believe that she must have been kept in suspended animation for several hundred years while the Martian ecology was established by man or The Lost as the Mammoths call us as the map of Mars at the front of the book is timestamped 3000AD).

On awakening, she discovers other Mammoths who have been living in a zoo, all bred by the Lost using genetic manipulation techniques. The Mammoths cannot stay at the zoo site on top of Olympus Mons because the greatest volcano in the solar system is erupting. (Probably why the man abandoned the planet).Agreeing to become the Mammoth's new Matriarch leader, Icebones uses the knowledge passed down to her by her mother Silverhair of the legends of the great mammoth cycle of life and leads her new Mammoth family across the planetary surface in search of a new place to live.

The Mammoths travel through the Valles Marineris (which is a canyon system that stretches a third of the way around the equator of Mars), facing hunger, thirst, floods and the dreaded dust storms of Mars to the sanctury of the Footfall in the lowlands of the Hellas Basin where other Mammoths are living freely in a lush lowland steepe.

All three of these Mammoth books are now listed on if you want to read this trilogy of books I'll happily give them away for free on a first come first served basis.