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About The Ice Lion by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

One thousand years in the future, the zyme, a thick blanket of luminous green slime, covers the oceans. Glaciers three-miles-high rise over the continents. The old stories say that when the Jemen, godlike beings from the past, realized their efforts to halt global warming had gone terribly wrong, they made a desperate gamble to save life on earth and recreated species that had survived the worst of the earth’s Ice Ages.

Sixteen-summers-old Lynx and his best friend Quiller are members of the Sealion People—archaic humans known as Denisovans. They live in a world growing colder, a world filled with monstrous predators that hunt them for food. When they flee to a new land, they meet a strange old man who impossibly seems to be the last of the Jemen. He tells Lynx the only way he can save his world is by sacrificing himself to the last true god, a quantum computer named Quancee.

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Review of The Ice Lion

If you don’t read the blurb (which is an iffy representation of the book, by the way), when you start reading this truly awesome book, you might think this is a story about some prehistoric people. You will read about tribes such as the Sea Lion people, living off the land, struggling against both nature and each other. Then stuff gets thrown in. Like the zyme (a slime that covers the ocean surface). Like the name Hoodwink, which stands out among names like Lynx, Ice Giant, Bluejay, and Mink. And talk of the Jemen, the more advanced beings from that past. There is also a mysterious watcher, observing members of one tribe help another and wondering if he can hope.

It will become obvious that the story takes place far into the future, after man has brought ruin to his environment and caused an ice age. But the tribes don’t know this, because the live only for today and tomorrow.

Lynx is a young member of the Sea Lion tribe. He has been accused of cowardice, because his wedding party, including his wife, was slaughtered by Lions. As punishment, he is abandoned in the wilderness to experience a spirit quest. Survival means he may become a gifted shaman. Otherwise, he faces death. During his quest, Lynx meets Arakie, and old man that Lynx believes to be one of the Jemen. The reader knows there is both more and less to the old man. He is wise, but not all-knowing. He seems to be part archeologist, part biologist, part futurist. He really is quite enigmatic and I really like his place in this story. The travels of Lynx and Arakie will put Lynx in the position of changing the life of an outsider.

Quiller is Lynx’s friend. Ex-lover really. Disappointed when he decided to marry someone else, she is still determined to help him make it back alive. But first she must join a scouting group looking for the Rust people, their tribe’s mortal enemy. In doing so, Quiller will connect with the Rust people in an unforeseen way.

The icy setting with its mountains and ocean, provide a cold backdrop to the warmth of the peoples, who’s lives are going to be inescapably altered when paths cross and the past is excavated.

I loved this book with it’s juxtaposition of primitive people against a technologically advanced past. The people are in for some big changes and I am eager to see where the story goes.

Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book so that I could bring you this review.

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