The Deluge by Stephen Markley
February 10, 2023 6:22 AM - Subscribe

In the first decades of the 21st century, the world is convulsing, its governments mired in gridlock while a patient but unrelenting ecological crisis looms. America is in upheaval, battered by violent weather and extreme politics. In California in 2013, Tony Pietrus, a scientist studying deposits of undersea methane, receives a death threat. His fate will become bound to a stunning cast of characters—a broken drug addict, a star advertising strategist, a neurodivergent mathematician, a cunning eco-terrorist, an actor turned religious zealot, and a brazen young activist named Kate Morris, who, in the mountains of Wyoming, begins a project that will alter the course of the decades to come.

From the Gulf Coast to Los Angeles, the Midwest to Washington, DC, their intertwined odysseys unfold against a stark backdrop of accelerating chaos as they summon courage, galvanize a nation, fall to their own fear, and find wild hope in the face of staggering odds. As their stories hurtle toward a spectacular climax, each faces a reckoning: what will they sacrifice to salvage humanity’s last chance at a future? A singular achievement, The Deluge is a once-in-a-generation novel that meets the moment as few works of art ever have.

[blurb from the publisher's website]
posted by quatsch (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This book felt like A Song of Ice and Fire but set in the current/near-future US world of activism and politics and with winter/the army of the undead transmogrified back into catastrophic climate change and not just a metaphor for same. I’m not quite sure I could say I enjoyed it (kinda wish I had saved my depressing near-future climate apocalypse reading juice for finally getting around to Parable of the Talents, but what can you do), but I thought it was really engagingly written and cried a bunch while reading it (I also ripped through it in less than a week, which feels notable for a near-900-pager). Like the ASoIaF books, the perspective changes chapter to chapter, which is sometimes great and sometimes infuriating, though there’s an off-hand passage near the end that ties this formal choice into the events of the book in a way that gave me a knowing chortle or two. CW for overwhelming climate dread, horrific violence, so much bone-deep sadness. It's not a nonstop sad horrorshow, but it goes very dark at times (not a surprise for the subject matter, but fair warning).
posted by quatsch at 6:33 AM on February 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

oh goody a deeply disturbing apocalyptic tale! *bookmarked!*
posted by supermedusa at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I did the audio book, which was 41 hours, and I didn't think I'd manage it in my 14-day loan period. I tore through it too, and it's not just because the stories propel you through the narrative. There are beautiful passages, about family, love, future, and I loved several of the characters. This was my first 5-star read of the year, and now I want to press it into other people's hands.
posted by gladly at 8:58 AM on February 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Good lord I'm only maybe 65% of the way through this and it's already one of those books that I think will live forever in my head. It makes Kim Stanley Robinson's 'Ministry For The Future' seem like a light-headed and optimistic feel-good romp. I'm recommending it to everyone I know.
posted by MarchHare at 9:35 PM on June 17, 2023

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