Cover illustration: Stephan Martiniere
Cover design: Jacqueline Cooke
RIVER OF GODS
Publishing date: 7 June 2004
On the cover:
What I always look for in science fiction is a believable future. And the one McDonald presents here is certainly that. The India he shows in this book is all to plausible, and I would not be very surprised if the India of 2047 looks a lot like the one in this book.August 15, 2047 - Happy Hundredth Birthday, IndiaAs Mother India approaches her centenary, nine people are going about their business — a gangster, a cop, his wife, a politician, a stand-up comic, a set designer, a journalist, a scientist, and a dropout. And so is Aj — the waif, the mind-reader, the prophet — when she one day finds a man who wants to stay hidden.
In the next few weeks, they will all be swept together to decide the fate of the nation.
Not only is the setting near perfect, but McDonald has also managed to creative a technology level that could very well be the one we end up with in 37 years.
The story is very intriguing. From the very start the reader is drawn in to the lives of the main characters. There is a lot of mystery to begin with as to how the different characters are connected, but as the book progresses the revelations come.
We get lots of conflict that drives the story forward, there is little that slows down the pace. McDonald manages to keep the "techno babble" well integrated in the story. And what tech there is adds to the plot instead of distracting from it. The integration of society, technology and individual characters you care about is perhaps McDonald's greatest strength.
There are a couple of mysteries that are central to the story, these are intriguing and will keep the reader guessing. It had me confused at a level where I just had to keep reading several times. The revelations of what is really going on is handled beautifully by McDonald.
This book should be great for any fan of science fiction. It caters to those whose interest lies in technology, as well as those who are more interested in characters and society.
Links: Ian McDonald Pyr