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Bronze Summer: The Northland Trilogy (Northland series) Hardcover – Unabridged, November 6, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This second in Baxter’s series set in Bronze Age Europe around 1100 BCE (following Stone Spring, 2011) describes cultures on the move: traders, squabbling factions from the East, refugees from a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Most of the novel is a slowly paced, well-researched (if somewhat pedantic) description of a world perched on the edge of massive climate change and groups of people from different lands wangling for power. Although this construct affords a fabulous view of the author’s imagined Bronze Age Europe—one in which Britain is connected to the Continent—the many characters act mainly as vehicles for the message about earth science and ethno-ecology and are difficult to tell apart; the plot is disjointed; and the action, not inappropriately, is often crude (rape, mutilation, bodily functions). Intriguing and compelling story lines, such as murder schemes, separated lovers, people stranded on an erupting volcano, slave captures, pagan rites, and familial relationships, are often abandoned in favor of descriptive passages of the bleak, amorphous setting. Those who enjoyed the series debut will want to read this follow-up, but historical-fiction readers hoping for a storyteller like Jean Auel (and Baxter’s science-fiction fans looking for action and plot) are likely to be disappointed. --Jen Baker


“Thought-provoking, the characters within fascinating....Add to this Stephen’s own unique writing style, cracking prose...a piece that demonstrates the futility of war, [and that] creates a story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.”—Falcata Times

"An interesting world and a compelling narrative."--Solarbridge.com


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Product Details

  • Series: Northland series
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; 1st edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451464796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451464798
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I was very interested by a prehistory in which Doggerland had been preserved for habitation. I had not seen Stone Spring but the concept was immediately attractive so I gave Bronze Summer a try.

By now the North Sea has been kept at bay by a massive wall - sounding too large for such an ancient world - but for no reason that is explained the people of this land are still hunter gatherers and fishers while the communities on either side, Britain and France / Spain, are farming. They have brought potatoes and corn from the New World - the potatoes particularly puzzled me as I did not think they had been developed to large enough tubers to sustain such a large community. There is no mention of oats which, when it arrived, enabled the early British people to keep horses over winter and to plant hardy grain in Scotland. And the potatoes and grain are traded to Europe and Asia as 'mash' not viable seeds... how did they stop mash from rotting? Was it partly fermented? This is not described and we don't see the cask makers or potters who would have been needed for this work, or the trains of animals to carry the casks... and what roads? I also found it hard to believe that a second sea wall would not have been needed on the south of this Northland.

Anyway the society has had to stratify, clans skilled at stonework, canal work and boats have arisen and writing has been developed, on the supposition that a society like the Egyptians or Mayans would be need to sustain such a massive build. Bronze is the usual weaponry and armour but light hardened iron arrows are being made by the Hittites - called Hatti - and the Northland leaders decide to find some way of working easily available iron, which means stealing secrets.
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Format: Hardcover
Millennia have passed since the Year of the Great Sea led to teenagers Ana and Novu leading the construction of the Great Wall. By the Year of the Fire Mountain, Northland has become a prosperous pat of the continent rather than being under the North Sea or conquered by the kingdoms to the east. The impoverished Greeks look at Northland and its trading partner the thriving Hittites for conquest during devastating drought.

In the Northland capital Etxelur, the head of the ruling order dies in what appears to be an accident at a time her daughter Milaqa has failed to choose which Order to join. Milaqa's Uncle Teel believes his sister was murdered and demands his grieving niece join him and the secret Order of the Crow in investigating the death. At the same time Qirum and dethroned queen Kilushepa team up to take advantage of the chaos engulfing much of the continent including Northland.

The second Northland alternate prehistoric thriller (see Stone Spring) has moved the people from a stone age into a bronze age at a time when an Icelandic volcanic eruption has led to climate change and famine. The action-filled storyline is filled with too much blood and gore distracting from the engaging political and social upheaval started by that volcano erupting; violence is a way of life in Stephen Baxter's Bronze Age tale.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me say first, I have always liked Stephen Baxter's Books. I tend to like his Space Opera Books, and I liked the Time Tapestry series, so I thought I would give another Alternative History book of his a try.

As a fan of the author, I have to say this series is not his best work. That's not to say it is bad, just not up to my opinion of his usual standard. It's an interesting story, and a pretty good read, but unlike many of his other series, I found that I could put this book down, and I wasn't drawn to just keep reading and reading. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's not. While I have read books One and Two in this series, I have not bothered to purchase or read book three.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the basic plot is very much like the plot of book one, and even in just the second book it feels a bit formulaic. Girl who is unhappy with her place in life works to change the world through some activity that nobody else could/would do, but there is always someone there in the background pushing her to do "it".

At some point, when book three becomes cheaper I will probably read it to finish out the series, but with the exception of the setting, there is not much connection between books one and two. Yes, names have been carried over, yes, previous characters are referenced in mythology/History, but at least to me it seems disconnected from the previous book almost entirely. Don't get me wrong, I do like the setting, so that's a plus, and I do like the concept which is also a plus, but it doesn't feel like a series to me, just a collection of books with the same location.
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Format: Hardcover
I noticed that a few people commented that this book is darker than the author's usual work. Since I have not read anything by Stephen Baxter besides this series, I can only assume he's pretty light hearted. I found the first book, "Stone Spring" to be much darker than I was comfortable with, but I was intrigued enough to read the second book.

"Bronze Summer" has great characters, many of whom I could identify with, and many of whom cared about each other, and made difficult decisions based on conscience, loyalty, the greater good, and other factors I could admire. The culture of Northland was fascinating, and well described. It was only the ending that I really hated. It might not have been a bad ending for the book, but it was not at all what I was hoping for or expecting. Since I don't want to post any spoilers, I'll just ask anyone who's read it to explain it by posting a comment, or direct me to a discussion of this book, if you know of one.
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