Hurricane Fever: Fast action amid climate change

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsHurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell fantasy book reviewsHurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell

I very much enjoyed Tobias Buckell’s 2012 SF novel Arctic Rising, which was set on a near-future Earth dramatically affected by global warming. As much as I loved that novel’s main character Anika, I mentioned in my review that I wouldn’t mind reading a novel set in the same world but featuring one of its two excellent supporting characters, Vy or Roo.

Lo and behold, just about two years later, Buckell delivers Hurricane Fever, starring former Caribbean Intelligence Group operative Prudence “Roo” Jones, who made a brief but memorable appearance in the first novel. I’m happy to report that Hurricane Fever is another excellent near-future cli-fi/spy-fi/techno-thriller novel — whatever you want to call it, it’s more than worth checking out.

When Roo receives a dead-drop package from a former colleague in the Caribbean’s spy agency, he gets sucked into a far-reaching mystery. Together with his orphaned nephew, he sets off in his tricked-out catamaran (which I still really really want) and eventually uncovers … well, I’ll let you find out for yourself. Suffice it to say that, like Arctic Rising, this is another action-packed edge-of-your-seat adventure.

Arctic Rising was mainly set in the polar regions, which had recently become more accessible because of global warming. Hurricane Fever switches its main focus to the Caribbean, which is even more dramatically affected by climate change. The region’s frequent super-storms play a big role in the novel on several levels: massive, uncontrollable forces that affect everything from geopolitics to local life to, on a few occasions, some of Hurricane Fever’s spectacular action scenes.

Like Arctic Rising, the plot of Hurricane Fever pays homage to (and puts interesting twists on) the classic spy novels of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, and John le Carré. (In the case of the new novel, there’s even a bit of Die Hard here too.). But more importantly, in both novels Tobias Buckell updates the tired tropes of the classic spy milieu with a welcome dash of realism and awareness, most notably in terms of diversity. (The author wrote a wonderful post about this as part of John Scalzi’s The Big Idea. Make sure to go read it, as it’s probably the best way to get an idea of what makes these books so interesting.)

There’s very little to complain about here aside from maybe one or two awkward info-dumps, but even those are not enough to derail Hurricane Fever. If you’re in the mood for an intelligent, action-packed near-future SF novel, I can’t recommend Hurricane Fever highly enough. Let’s hope Buckell will write more in this setting.


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STEFAN RAETS (on FanLit's staff August 2009 — February 2012) reads and reviews science fiction and fantasy whenever he isn’t distracted by less important things like eating and sleeping. In February 2012, he retired from FanLit to focus on his blog Far Beyond Reality.

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One comment

  1. I have GOT to start reading this guy! These sound great.

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