Stone Spring: The Northland Trilogy
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Stone Spring: The Northland Trilogy (Northland #1)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  491 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Alternate history at its most mindblowing-from the national bestselling author of Flood and Ark.

Ten thousand years ago, a vast and fertile plain exists linking the British Isles to Europe. Home to a tribe of simple hunter-gatherers, Northland teems with nature's bounty, but is also subject to its whims.

Fourteen-year-old Ana calls Northland home, but her world is changing....more
Hardcover, 499 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Roc Hardcover (first published May 25th 2010)
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I only picked this book because of the magnificent big wave splashing up on the front cover. I like waves, so surely any book with such a wonderful wave on its front must be good? Well as it so happens – it was. STONE SPRING is the first volume of the Northland trilogy and is set in ancient times against a background of global warming and its effect on the humans living at that time. The time is around 7,000 years BC and is set in Doggerland, a large and fertile stretch of land that joined the B...more
Gaston Prereth
The premise of Stone Spring, that of a stone age civilisation building what could be called a wonder of the world and changing the geography of Europe not just for themselves but for the whole development of the continent, is an interesting one. I was looking forward to a book that would explore the ideas around the small decisions we make having effects throughout history and the motivations behind people who do something extraordinary and world changing, whether they see it as that or not.

Paul Hufton
Stone Spring in theory:
Set in the paleolithic as the English channel is starting to form, a fourteen year old girl can inspire her people to raise a wall and keep the sea out, changing the fate of the world. To do so, she’ll have to not only convince her own tribe to do something that no one has tried before, but also navigate a world of increasing trade and conflict.

Stone Spring in practice:
Jumps in time mean that none of the potentially interesting events are covered. The characters are tota...more
I bought this book on amazon because "Stone Spring" was the only fiction book that came up when I searched on "Doggerland", one of my new interests. It was written by Stephen Baxter, whom I considered a fantasy/science fiction author. But I would say it's an historical novel, set in a land that really did exist about 7,000 years ago.
This novel is set in an area that is now under the North sea in Europe. 7000 years ago the sea level of the earth was hundreds of feet lower, and supported a large...more
Alice Sabo
This was marked as Science Fiction in my library. I don't know what I would call it. The story revolves around a village and spans generations. Since it happens in prehistoric times, I suppose it could be fantasy. Although, the traditional hallmarks of fantasy - magic, good vs evil, non-humans - are not there.

If you want to know about the life of hunter-gatherers, this is the book for you. The setting, traditions and rituals of their lives is richly laid out. The characters are bit thinner. The...more
Bruno Di Giandomenico
The first book of a trilogy. It starts well, if slowly, with a look at a Europe of 10.000 years ago, when Britain was still attached to the rest of Europe and the Doggerland was above the sea.
A beautiful country where people lived in communion with nature. Etxelur people, with a three rings tattoo, symbol of their country.
Other people appear in the story, from the people living in America, thanks to a travel with a boat over the ocean, close to the still existing ice of the Ice Age still rampant...more
OK...some of the language was a little jarring--having a character say think to herself "bring it" for example. I don't think I'll commit to the series but may try a different set by this author instead.
Jim Kahn
Stephen Baxter is possible my favorite author and I was intrigued to see this novel on the library shelf since I usually associate him with science fiction. This book started slowly as characters were introduced and the setting was established but by about halfway through I was pretty thoroughly entranced. The setting for this world is ~10000 BC ish in a land which is now under the North Sea, drowned as glaciers melted and the climate warmed. There is no specific protagonist but the focus is on...more
Yasser Maniram
Preface: Have only read one Stephen Baxter book before, Sunstorm, which he co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke.

Masterful writing by Baxter. Stone Spring not only portrays the changing physical geography of climate change but the changing human geography as well. Baxter creates a simulated world whose characters take on a life of their own, becoming throughout the book a product of their experiences.

This is one of the few books that would benefit any high school curriculum. While the storyline di...more
Gary Baker

It's roughly 7,300 BC, life is hard but nature provides and the people of Etxelur are proud that their daily lives hardly touch the landscape.

Vast quantities of the Earth's water have been locked up in the ice-caps but now they're starting to melt, and unfortunately, the sea wants its land back.

The land in question lies between modern England and the European continent smack dab in the middle of, what is now called, the North Sea.

We follow Ana and her people as she fights back after a devastatin...more
Jeanne Boyarsky
I found "Ark" and "Flood" to be excellent so was curious about "Stone Spring". I liked the last two thirds of the book. There was a clear problem they were trying to solve. It was an interesting technique to visit the characters periodically over time as they went through their lives. I really liked the character of Ana. She saw and fixed a problem. She was a bit to calculating though; at the expense of seeming authentic.

There were a lot of "tribes" to keep track of and it took me a while to rem...more
Stone Spring, by Stephen Baxter, initially published in the UK, took a long time to make its way to the United States. The first of a new trilogy by Baxter, called the Northland Trilogy , Stone Spring details the struggles of a pre-historical society facing a rising sea at the end of the Ice Age. Memorable characters, sometimes elegant prose, and an intriguing premise combine to make Stone Spring yet another of Baxter's unique works--that nobody else can come close to competing with.

Synopsis of...more
Every time I write my thoughts about a Stephen Baxter book, I feel like I have to explain the history that he and I share together. The bottom line is that I will probably read anything he's written. It's just how it goes for me. His early novels were epic science fiction in the order of Olaf Stapledon. Huge, universal scale problems, of which humanity played such a small role that we were more akin to botflies swarming around corpses on a battlefield. Yes, we might be arguing over our own issue...more
- A brave attempt to describe an alternative way of life, with a very different technological basis than ours, maintaining a conviction that human relations and cultural sensitivities are every bit as complex as we see them now.
- The role of geological events in the (pre)history of mankind deserves a powerful story
- Also, the characters are seen as persons with memories, dreams, ideals, loyalties, grudges and failings.
- Many scenes are beautifully described, and the rhythms of the langua...more
J. Ewbank
Baxter has written a fine book. When I first started reading it I was unsure how well it was written because I have read a lot of Gear and Gear Indian novels. This, however, takes earth or physical events and a story is written around them. The characters are well sketched out and the plot is interesting. Anybody who likes to read about early humans should enjoy reading this book.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
I have read a few of Stephen Baxter's books before and liked them, though those books were more on the hard science side. This book was more of a historical fantasy about humans struggling to survive and thrive near the end of the lost ice age. Baxter seems to have done some research about the possibility of some tribes of humans living in Doggerland(?) the region between Great Britain and Europe that might have been
occupied dry land thousands of years ago when ocean levels were lower. This is a...more
Stephanie Ricker
I finished Stone Spring at last; the book covers several decades, and I sort of felt like it took me decades to read since I left off reading it in the middle while I went out of town. The story is set 10,000 years ago, at the time when the seas were rising and changing the landscape, making an island out of the region of Britain. Baxter clearly did a lot of research and his premise was intriguing, but I admit I despised his characters. Definitely a concept writer and not a character writer. Inc...more
Chris Bauer
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. I've read prior works and found them to be above average, but not earth-shattering. Stone Spring was a cool "mashup" of "Clan of the Cave Bear" meets Follet's "Pillars of the Earth". Sounds goofy, I know. But Baxter makes it work. The writing was strained in certain points, but it was remarkably consistent across the board. Characters were well-written and showed very diverse range of archetypes. I have to admit there were a few points which strained...more
Andrea Jackson
The only reason this book didn't get a five is because of the relationships with lack of depth and the slow start. There were so many characters in separate settings, having no apparent connection to one another, I just got frustrated. The world building, while sometimes tedious was excellent. As for relationships, I thought the characters let themselves be diverted too quickly so that too many people ended up unhappy. Still some of the characters were so strong that their impact on their world...more
I enjoy ancient man/prehistoric fiction, and this was an enjoyable example of the genre. I found the beginning a bit slow and hard to get into, with a lot of different groups and characters. The strange names did not help in keeping track of what is going on.

Once I got past the early bit of confusion, and the storylines began to mingle it was much better. An interesting story of ancient man challenging nature, and the inherent corruption that the obsessive drive to succeed can bring. I also like...more
Overall, I enjoyed this book, though not as much as much of the author's earlier work.
I have quibbles over a couple of points. The first was that a neolithic culture would have enough excess labor to undertake such grand projects without an agricultural base.
The second was that there was an arboreal society that did not have any communication between its members and a dog eat dog mentality that for no apparent reason kidnaps toddlers as a means of procreating their society. The story would have...more
Benjamin Rothman
It took a little to get into, but once I was in, I was absolutely hooked. It literally took me over half the book to realize it was an alternate-history. I found the story to be much deeper than I expected and surprisingly human. More than just an alternate look at paleo-lithic Europe, it was very much a story about human emotions and how they can tear people apart and bring them together. It sticks with you once you close the book.

And on a totally separate note, I loved the archaeology the auth...more
Interesting book with a fascinating premise - a stone-age culture that seeks to prevent the effects of sea level rise by building dykes to reclaim the land. The reason I did not rate this book any higher is the authors obsession with bodily functions. It seems like he is constantly referring to various sexual acts, going to the bathroom, or passing gas, often written in the crudest of ways. Was it really necessary to make a reference to every time a character needed to go to the bathroom? Unfort...more
An interesting novel about what might have been, how Britain could have stayed connected to Europe, if the ancient peoples had built dykes to keep out the North Sea. Baxter does go beyond just the "big idea" stuff to include a very human kind of drama: families wrapped up in deadly feuds for no better reason than pride, disagreements over the way the future should be, and all sorts of humany things. He shows his work at the end of the book, so to speak, though most of it is going to be speculati...more
The last book I read was about 20,000 years into the future this one is about 15,00 years in the past. Some contrast.
Philip Chaston
Interesting premise. A good Baxter novel.
Superior Baxter, slower paced than Ark or Flood. Read Jack London's Before Adam, in parallel, as an example of the same sub-genre, written 100 years ago. The premise is the definition of cultural drive through cataclysmic events. The sequel should be quite compelling, as Baxter will likely define a reconciliation of teliology, with a culture that does not allow 'why' (religion) to restrict 'how' (science and technology).
Overall it was a good book. For me, I felt some of it was a little drawn out and dry. That being said, I did like seeing how the land and the people who inhabited it changed. I liked the concept for the book which was based on a "what if" scenario. I will read the rest of the series as I would like to see where he takes it. I was torn between 3 amd 4 stars. It still might change.
As an archaeologist myself, I must say I enjoyed this book. Some of the social phenomena were (to my mind) a little advanced for the Mesolithic, but it was nonetheless a valiant and well-researched effort for a science fiction book! Well done, Mr. Baxter! The only thing I didn't like was the allusion to Atlantis...but it was only one single one. I will read the next book in the series!
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Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the...more
More about Stephen Baxter...
Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1) The Time Ships Manifold: Space Flood (Flood, #1) Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)

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