Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Child of the River: The First Book of Confluence” as Want to Read:
Child of the River: The First Book of Confluence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Child of the River: The First Book of Confluence (Confluence #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  214 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Confluence: A vast, ancient, artificial world orbiting a star beyond the edge of the galaxy. Confluence: Home to thousands of alien races, shaped and raised to intelligence by the Preservers, godlike descendants of humanity who long ago disappeared into a vast black hole. Confluence: Abandoned by its creators, a stagnant civilization now threatened by the appearance of a s ...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Eos (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Child of the River, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Child of the River

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 517)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
4.5 stars. Excellent novel that had elements of Jack Vance's dying earth novels, David Brin's Uplift novels, and the standard fantasy hero quest of discovery. The author did a great job of creating a very unique world set in the far future peopled with very cool characters and using it as the back drop of a really good story. Recommended.
Brent Hayward
Jun 06, 2010 Brent Hayward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard that this trilogy was like Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, though this first part turned out to be nowhere near as complex or obscure. Nonetheless, Child was smart, always interesting (if a little linear), and aimed at readers other than sf's standard seventeen year old boy. Sure, it was a bit derivative, but I think of it as a tribute, not a rip off, and the writing was good enough to succeed.
Interestingly, this series was also mentioned in a review of Filaria, and there were moments w
George Harris
Jul 12, 2012 George Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story set in an ancient world with a rich and deep history about a young man of mysterious birth and possible great destiny. Yeah, that story. Nevertheless, it manages to weave a rich tapestry of a world without resorting to plain exposition, and as Yama tries to uncover his origin and destiny we uncover a complex setting and well-defined characters. The atmosphere is somewhat similar to that of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, albeit if anything someone more naturalistic. Highly reco ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Racheal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was given to me as a gift by my older sister who just happened to pick it up in a Wal-Mart for my birthday. It was one of the best gifts she's ever given me, as it turned out I devoured the book and loved it. In fact it took my family three years and several frustrated searches through second hand book stores to locate the next two volumes in the series which I am deliciously excited to read!
Apr 18, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy, did I get this one wrong. You see, I’ve passed this one by, more than once, and I only have myself to blame.

With a series title, Confluence, as well as the title of this first book, Child of the River, it just did not make me think that it was SF. Even when I took a cursory glance at the plot synopsis, it made me think that it was more about gods, prophecies and some sort of mystic pantheon rather than SF. And to me, Paul, winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award, is ‘an SF writer’, and often to
This is an atmospheric first novel in a trilogy set on an alien world inhabited by a large number of separate human species (or sub-species). The book begins with the strange and almost supernatural appearance of the baby who will become the protagonist. As he grows older he becomes increasingly curious about his own strange and apparently unique bloodline.

The strength of this book lies in its atmosphere and the author's ability to evoke a strange setting on a world of decayed technology that h
Sep 23, 2014 Ank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-read
An excellent world-building first book of a SciFi trilogy with a believable story and great characters! Teenager Yama is endearing and grows up under our eyes to a bitter and vengeful young man and eventually to a wisdom beyond his years (at the end of the trilogy). The professor McAuley's background in biology shows at every page, as the details of the fauna and the flora of the man-made 'world' are described in astonishing and sometimes extremely boring detail. I must confess to skipping a lot ...more
Mike Franklin
I have only read one previous McAuley novel – The Quiet War – which I recall finding quite good but this one disappointed despite being an intriguing idea and setting with good well drawn characters. The problem was how it meandered aimlessly through many small incidents that had little or nothing to do with the plot and, whilst they possibly enhanced the reader’s understanding of the setting, were otherwise little more than red herrings; the story itself could have been told in less than half t ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in November 2002.

The strange world of Confluence is the setting for McAuley's trilogy of the same name; Child of the River is the first volume. It was created by the Preservers, who populated it with diverse creatures derived from Earth's animals raised to human intelligence, and who then disappeared. Confluence is now considerably decayed, full of machines whose purpose is not understood, whose workings follow the Arthur C. Clarke dictum and are indistinguis
Leo Ovidiu
Jan 08, 2015 Leo Ovidiu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prima parte dintr-o trilogie destul de neinteresantă, deși trebuie să recunosc, McAuley are o imaginație impresionantă. Multe „seminții”, multe personaje destul de bine conturate, multe aventuri, totuși nu ca în HP sau LOTR. Din păcate sunt multe oportunități ratate. O carte bună pentru împătimiții de trilogii SF.
Apr 08, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had some difficulty following parts of this book- which is not my norm. But I found it was worth the effort. The author had an unusual approach of letting the characters unearthly characteristics reveal themselves in the context of the story, rather than laying them out in an obvious way. There was no "Thaw was a mixture of a walrus and a man..." Instead, he referred to Thaw as a man, but through contextual revelations, we read about Thaw's tusks, or the moonlight glinting off of his loose, gr ...more
Jan 02, 2010 Keith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reminds me of Gene Wolf's Book of the New Sun, only worse. (Read those instead.) The obvious plot didn't engage me enough to want to pick up the abrupt ending in the 2nd book of the trilogy.
Sep 26, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
This was such an odd book, the only thing kind of like it would be The Book of the New Sun, although of course this is not nearly on its level. It was a good book though, the first of a trilogy
Mar 21, 2012 Heather(Gibby) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish the book, which is extremely rare for me, but could not get into it at all. I do not read science fiction very much, so was trying to give the gnre a chance.
Brennan Griffin
Apr 25, 2011 Brennan Griffin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing world that owes a lot to Gene Wolfe, although clearly having its own themes and interests. I'm looking forward to the sequels.
Steven Appelget
Mar 22, 2012 Steven Appelget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Takes a while to get going,but pretty entertaining. The characters are a bit flat, but the world us interesting.
May 21, 2012 Emmanuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Engrossing scifi as he reveals more of the world history and environment along with the plot.
Michael Melara
Michael Melara marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2016
Paul marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2016
Tom rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2016
Melissa Areland
Melissa Areland marked it as to-read
Jan 26, 2016
Simona Stoica
Simona Stoica marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2016
Megan marked it as to-read
Jan 15, 2016
Alex added it
Jan 14, 2016
Kat marked it as to-read
Jan 07, 2016
Radek Koncewicz
Radek Koncewicz marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2016
Jon marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2016
kilimanjaro marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nekropolis
  • The House of Storms (The Aether Universe, #2)
  • Queen City Jazz (Nanotech, #1)
  • The Black King (Black Throne, #2; The Fey, #7)
  • The Burning Skies (Autumn Rain #2)
  • Sun of Suns (Virga, #1)
  • Souls in the Great Machine (Greatwinter Trilogy, #1)
  • The Stone Canal (The Fall Revolution, #2)
  • Appleseed
  • Majestrum (Henghis Hapthorn #1)
  • The Land Leviathan: A New Scientific Romance (Oswald Bastable, #2)
  • Dervish is Digital (Artificial Reality Division, #2)
  • Escapement (Clockwork Earth #2)
  • Rhialto the Marvellous (The Dying Earth, #4)
  • Gene Wolfe's Book of Days
  • Human Nature (Pax Britannia, #3)
  • Full Steam Ahead
  • Lady Doctor Wyre (A Jane Austen Space Opera, #1)
Since about 2000, book jackets have given his name as just Paul McAuley.

A biologist by training, UK science fiction author McAuley writes mostly hard science fiction, dealing with themes such as biotechnology, alternate history/alternate reality, and space travel.

McAuley has also used biotechnology and nanotechnology themes in near-future settings.

Since 2001, he has produced several SF-based tech
More about Paul McAuley...

Other Books in the Series

Confluence (3 books)
  • Ancients of Days (Confluence, #2)
  • Shrine of Stars

Share This Book