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Silverhair (Mammoth Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2000

3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Pandemic by Sonia Shah
"Beacon 23"
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Isolated from the passage of time, a small colony of mammoths survives into the 20th century until their discovery by a group of shipwrecked sailors threatens their existence. Baxter combines well-researched details on the physical habits of prehistoric mammoths with an anthropomorphic touch to delineate the personalities of his protagonists. Fans of the prehistoric novels of Jean Auel and the animal-based fantasies of Richard Adams should enjoy this tale of triumph over adversity. For large collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

First of a projected science fiction trilogy from the England-resident author of Moonseed (1998). On an island in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia, mammoths have survived unnoticed since the last ice age. But now, reduced to a single herd, the gentle giants struggle to survive a warming climate, a dwindling gene pool, and the attentions of humanity. Though intelligent and sapient, the mammoths have no effective defense against a small party of men who've suddenly appeared on their island. Young Silverhair, the herd's future Matriarch, and her mate Lop-ear decide they need new ideas and new thinking to survive. They ask the humans for help, but they respond by shooting Lop-ear and capturing Silverhair. Her captor, Skin-of-Ice, proves a ruthless enemy and takes a sadistic delight in tormenting her. Eventually contriving an escape, Silverhair flees back to the remnants of the herd, pursued by both Skin-of-Ice and a helicopter. The remainder of the herd dies attempting to prevent the seizure of its surviving calves, who are then taken to a mainland city. Calling on the mammoths' ancient compact with their distant relatives, the sea cows, Silverhair swims to the mainland, rescues the calves, battles again with her nemesis, and finally is captured by scientists and placed in a reserve back on the island. Lop-ear, however, isn't dead; he tells Silverhair of the existence of elephants, so perhaps their species might survive. An improbable yarn, stuffed with mammoth facts and lore, thats both absorbing and sometimes affecting. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Mammoth Trilogy
  • Mass Market Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061020206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061020209
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was really surprised by this book. I have read other works by Baxter and universally enjoyed them, but was somewhat taken aback by Silverhair. I expected a sort-of mammoth's-eye-view of the ice age, but this is hardly the case. The book follows a small family of mammoths as they have a series of adventures, many of which I found extremely difficult to swallow. At times the mammoths seem about as smart as cattle and at other times are capable of seemingly high-level thought. Honestly, it would have been okay either way, but for them to have more or less intelligence as the plot requires at a given time is silly.
The book is incredibly violent, which was also unexpected. There are several long sequences that are very upsetting to read as the animals suffer tremendously, and their suffering is detailed greatly.
Overall, it is tough to give this one a strong reccommendation. The book has a great premise and, to the best of my knowledge, has never been attempted before. Still, the authors inconsistency in portraying the mammoths combined with the often needless violence made this a sometimes unpleasant read. The book is supposedly the first in a trilogy, but I would be surprised if I read the others.
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By A Customer on October 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fans of Stephen Baxter's science fiction may be surprised by this venture into unexplored territory. "Silverhair" is the first of three books in a series which promises to provide a novel and thought-provoking diversion from his previous work.
Silverhair is one of the last of her kind: a woolly mammoth. Long thought to be extinct, these relics of the ice-age have somehow survived eons of change in a remote, isolated "lost world". Legends passed down through the Great Cycle of mammoth history tell of their flight to this last sanctuary, and the great danger from which they fled: the Lost. Now the Lost have once more discovered the existence of Silverhair and her kind. Silverhair must find some way to reconcile thousands of years of mammoth existence with the advent of humanity, or face the end of the Great Cycle- the death of her species.
The theme of conflict between humankind and nature is as old as the human race; the telling of stories from the perspective of animals scarcely less so. In Baxter's expert hands, however, these elements are interwoven to produce a book that touches a rarely-explored space in the mind.
If "Silverhair" has a flaw, it must be the briefness of the story- the pace at times seems incongruously swift, jolting the reader out of the synchrony produced by Baxter's otherwise excellent characterisation. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the book left me with a desire to re-enter the world of the mammoths and explore their culture further.
Baxter creates the legends, social structure and emotions of these majestic animals with a vividness which evokes both a deep resonance with the familiarity of their thoughts and feelings and a sense of wonder at the complete alienness of their nature. Beautiful and brutal, this book yields a glimpse into the mysteries of the long-forgotten past and speaks to the wildness buried in the human soul.
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By A Customer on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was like a traffic accident. It was horrific and disturbing but I couldnt put it down. Don't be mislead by the pretty front cover with a mamoth on it, this book is full is graphic violence,torture and sorrow. I would not recommend it for children at all, even though the cover makes it look like a happy little book.
I almost wish I had not read it..... Poor baby mamoths...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A small group of mammoths is alive and well in remote Siberia in our times. Stephen Baxter tells us how they live in a world that's changing from what they know in their sagas and legends. Their enemy is, of course, the Lost Ones, as the mammoths call us humans.

Baxter's written better books, and this is no Watership Down (or Empire of the Ants, which is my favourite animal book). It's not bad, though, and the mammoths seem pretty well researched, at least they're somewhat inhuman. They have their own culture, quite different from us humans.

Since the book was so fast and easy to read, I'm going to continue to the next part of the trilogy - after all, the book gets some pretty strange ideas in the end. In any case, I can't really recommend Silverhair unless you're really into mammoths or books starring animals in general. However, there's lots of violence and cruelty towards animals in this book, so the most sensitive animal lovers, stay away! (Review based on the Finnish translation.)
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Format: Hardcover
Excited by the premise, I was very disappointed by this book. The characters seemed to behave randomly, changing from one course of action to another without reason. The antagonist's brutality and singularity of purpose is never explained or justified, and after a very short while becomes impossible to accept. The comparisons made on the book jacket to Watership Down are false advertising.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book about a remnant population of wooly mammoths which have survived on an island well into the modern era. It is written from the mammoths' point of view, and is similar in some ways to Watership Down and The White Bone. The mammoths face the erosion of their habitat and gene pool, and encroachment by a group of brutal men.
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