Cover Image: The Deluge

The Deluge

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Whoa. This book is intense. And big. Over 900 pages. A sprawling story spanning decades as the effects of climate change catch up with the world amid a varied cast of players and storylines. Scientists. Drug addicts. Environmental activists. Religious zealots. Militia. Celebrities. Politicians. Storms. Droughts. Wars. Floods. Disease. Politics. This story was terrifying and too real for me to totally enjoy; however, the meticulous research, narration style, and scope were amazing. #TheDeluge #NetGalley #January2023

Was this review helpful?

I may be among the few who call this behemoth book ‘refreshing,’ because, yes, it paints a frightening, if not depressing (but realistic), portrait of the world today and where the world may be headed in 15 to 20 years.

But what was refreshing is that the author cast a massive spotlight on both political parties, and took punches – repeatedly – at both sides. This was incredibly restorative to me personally, in a time when traditional and social media have created this polarizing “refuse to see anyone else’s perspective - can’t objectively assess the political party I believe in – fly off the handle if someone has different views – cancel those with different beliefs - won’t consider both sides of a story” culture. As an independent, I’m talking about <i>both</i> sides wearing their blinders. This book pointed out our highly polarized society quite clearly. Yes, there was a particular political leaning, overall, but this novel did far better than traditional journalism does today with objectivity…

Let me be clear that I take a wide berth with politics, yet this book entranced me, because while it may be fiction, my guess is that it’s closer to the truth than any of us want to realize or will be willing to realize. And that’s the reason <i>everyone</i> should read it.

I admit that this novel may not appeal to a good number of readers due to its sheer length (almost 900 pages), its political emphasis, and its less-than-rosy undertones. The author also employs some interesting literary techniques, using a vast number of main characters and points of view, backstory overloading, letter/briefing reports, graphics with world headlines, second-person/present narrative, and loads of description about political processes and committees… <b>BUT</b>, for me, <b>it all worked</b>. I wanted to learn more and suspected that much of what goes on in this fictional account goes on in real politics: the closed-door meetings, the fence-jumping on issues simply to win an election, the backstabbing, the ‘do whatever it takes’ to get my party elected, even if the wrong person is in office… Oh, wait… We’ve been seeing this for years, haven’t we? We see it now.

But what kept me reading, in the end, was the characters. Markley has an uncanny ability to create unique characters, each voice singular, each person’s background wholly individual and real. I came to care for these characters and wept on at least three occasions. I was surprised to be so touched by the troubled character, Keeper; the cantankerous Tony; the brilliant and evasive character on the spectrum, Ashir. And the main character (who, interestingly, is not a point-of-view character), Kate… holy moly was she a power to be reckoned with and so expertly drawn by Markley. So damn good. The writing, also: so damn good.

Along those lines, I cannot imagine the research Markley went through to understand the science behind global warming, predictive theories about polar ice caps and methane clathrates in the oceans, political systems, resistance regimes, military operations, economics, political ideologies… my mind is completely, fantastically blown. If I’d seen the list I just wrote, I probably would have said, “Nope. Not for me.” And yet, it was for me…

There <i>is</i> a message of hope at the end, though readers will need to be patient getting there. I took months to read this book with 30-minute daily sessions and felt I was rewarded in the end. It got me to thinking that maybe the book length and its insane complexity mirrored the themes within. Getting whole societies together for the greater good – no, not an easy task. A long, arduous, time-taking task… I’m not sure this would have been the same book had it been pared down. Its elaborate and lengthy storyline felt necessary.

So, yes… As uncomfortable as this book may make you, you should probably read it. You won’t agree with all of the political solutions or stances – nor did I – but you might come away with a more open mind, asking “What would I do to save the world?”

Was this review helpful?

I loved Ohio, so when I heard about this novel I just had to get my hands on it. I've seen tons of reviews, stating this is a modern classic; they are right. This novel is one of the finest novels I've read in recent years. Although not a perfect five star review (based off of pacing issues through some parts) this novel is down right scary and interesting.

Was this review helpful?

The Near Future is Foreboding

Great suffering and injustice is very real in this almost 900-page tome. From 2013 to 2040, Markley has his characters prevent or at least forestall, shattering climate change. The author depicts a diverse assortment in his cast of personalities.

The plot is not a surprise in the beginning of this book. Scientists are wailing about devastating ecological and social breakdowns. We are introduced to an interesting group: geologist Tony Pietrus, Ashir as-Hasan, chief of staff for Senate Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and many more heterogenous characters. There are other participants to this motley group but the standout is Kate Morris, who is a climate activist. She has varied solutions that are dependent on political support. Morris is part of an organization called A Fierce Blue Fire, an impressive name.

Markley’s characters have diverse goals and talents. I found it difficult at times to stay with the 896 pages but it may be worth it for some readers. Noting the characters have different ambitions and points of view, this sets a stage for polarization. There is a conservative faction who resists and sometimes acts on irrational ideas. The novel is packed with possible solutions with the infallible need for quick reactions and those who persevere. It’s a dire time and our civilization is at stake. This a detailed, long book with considerable information. Not all the players have the same goal makes it a disturbing reality.

My gratitude to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this pre-published book. All opinions expressed are my own,

Was this review helpful?

It's nearly 900 pages, there are dozens and dozens of characters, and there's some fairly technical climatology lingo. However, don't let any of that intimidate you. The Deluge is, by far, my favorite new book I've read this year.

The majority of the story takes place in the not-too-distant future and pivots around the question of "What if we continue to do nothing about our climate?" The answer? Imagine the chaos of the year 2020 on steroids, multiplied by a hundred, year after year.

The book is especially powerful because all the horrors that occur feel alarmingly possible. Record breaking floods, fires, food shortages, economic collapses, and political zealots are a few examples among many. The Deluge is an important read, but it's more than just terror and gloom. It made me laugh, and I felt attached to the characters, flawed as they all were.

I can go on and on, but I strongly recommend that you give it a go yourself. I PROMISE you that all the characters and separate storylines will connect and make sense.

Was this review helpful?

At nearly 1,000 pages, The Deluge is long and, honestly, the technical scientific jargon in the first chapter had me worried but, in the end, Markley managed to pull all the disparate storylines together in a very compelling and engaging story that engulfs the reader. Stephen Markley has written a masterpiece that Stephen King rightly calls “a modern classic.” It’s unsurprising that King acclaims The Deluge, as it is as long and as epic as King’s The Stand. The Deluge well worth the effort and commitment, its vision of the future is eerily prophetic, and its warning regarding climate change is worth heeding.

Was this review helpful?

This was a tough one to get through - it is very, very, very long but very good and necessary. I read a lot of dystopian fiction and this is one of those novels that is terrifying in every way -- all the more so because it seems so realistic and so, so possible. There were some sections that could have been shorter. There were a few that were novellas in their own right, which created separation between the different sets of characters making it hard to follow their storylines. Steel yourself, but read this.

Was this review helpful?

Reading this book is a huge commitment of time. It's a pretty tough read because it is also dark, depressing, and at times gruesome and violent, with its focus on a near future and the possible devastating effects of climate change and political ineffectiveness to slow the crisis. The story is told through multiple characters' eyes, ranging from a climate scientist to domestic terrorists to a drug addict etc, and eventually something ties their varied stories together. Not many of these flawed characters are very likable but theirs is an extremely frightening and compelling story.

I received an arc from the author and publisher via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

The Deluge begins in 2015 and takes us through present day to the mid 21st century. Along the way we meet dozens of characters who are reacting in different ways to the worsening climate crisis. The device of anchoring the book in familiar events lends credibility and urgency to the narrative. I was excited to read the book because of the many positive reviews, but unfortunately, the book just did not work for me. First of all, it clocks in at over 900 pages, and there were long periods where I just didn't feel like I was making any progress at all.

Fully 250 pages of the book is exposition; the entire first section is a series of chapters introducing the dozens of characters we will continue to follow throughout the rest of the book. Reading this online, it was very frustrating. not to be able to go back and remind myself who these people were; there were just so many of them and they when they started to interact with each other the relationships and their backstories got very muddy. It doesn't help that the chapters are titled with events and dates, but each has a different narrator speaking in first person. Many times it took me 3 or 4 pages to fully understand who was speaking, which slowed me down even more.

One important issue the book raises is the need for urgency when we are dealing with political systems that move very slowly. 4 or 5 presidents are in office during the time period of the book, and none of them are able (or willing) to pass the kind of legislation that would really help. As climate conditions worsen, and the nation experiences unprecedented flooding, drought and storms, politicians posture, acquiesce to the fossil fuel lobbyists, and have summits which produce nothing. This is a very important message but it is almost lost. Markley might have been better served to tighten up the narrative and eliminate half of the characters and at least a third of the pages. Ironically, a book about the need for urgency ends up being a time-wasting slog.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. I was really excited to read this one as it’s had a lot of advanced praise. Unfortunately it was just too technical and scientific to be an enjoyable read. It ended up a DNF for me but I hope to tackle it again in the future.

Was this review helpful?

It has been a long while since a first chapter grabbed me like this. I had feeling at that point that I was in for a special read. And I was right. I did discover a unique ebook problem: you read a lot, look at the %, and realize you have barely made a dent. Then you come to Goodreads and see that the book you chose to read is 900 freaking pages. But, that also allowed for a unique ebook benefit: you start a book that you probably never would have started b/c it's 900 freaking pages and it turns out to be enthralling and possibly brilliant. Good with the bad, I guess. This volume is tremendous...both in quality and mass.

ARC provided

Was this review helpful?

Wow! This book flew from feeling like it was snatched from todays headlines to a view of the future that felt all too real. I usually worry more about characterization, but honestly - the story, what could literally be our current story/our future- is what I loved about this. Markley pulled together all of the pieces from social justice warriors to climate change warriors/deniers, to the politicians, the christofascists, and more. He pulled in the anger and the fear from all sides.

Although this book is wicked long... it was well worth the time. One thing to note- read it on a device with a dictionary! I literally looked up 26 words as I read this. Do you know what clathrates are? or hagiogaphic? or hermeneutics? and so many more.

Many thanks to Netgalley and to Simon & Schuster for the galley copy.

Was this review helpful?

An intense and in-depth thought experiment on how our future could play out. The Deluge is a near-future novel about the likely upcoming climate catastrophe and the many different types of players who could be a part of it. Similar to works like The Stand by Stephen King or Wanderers by Chuck Wendig in scope, it plunges deeper into policy and political machinations than those two works did. Ultimately those parts, especially near the end, are where the title lost a bit of my attention. The interesting bits are learning about the different types of players, from the aging and irascible expert who knows what is going to happen and lets his irritation at not being listened to throw him into exile, to the young idealists full of passion and personality who love the world too much to watch it burn, to the ecoterrorists who grow more and more desperate as time goes by, to the numbers guy who has always looked at things a bit too rationally for most people to like him very well. This is not a difficult read but it is a long novel with lots of different viewpoints and ideas - it also jumps back and forth in time. If you are looking for something light for your beach vacation this isn't it. But if you are looking for a complex and dramatic story about politics and political personalities, activists, and the complex and at times contradicting motivations of different types of terrorists; if you are looking for a title that gives a detailed and realistically hopeful outcome for the future climate reality; if you are looking for an absorbing read on an epic scale - give Markley's Deluge a try.

Was this review helpful?

First, I will confess right up front that I DNF this book. I tried, I tried really hard. I made it to 20% (there are no numbered chapters, just 'essays' that stop and start anew) before deciding I would read the last entry (which came in at "1 hour 29 minutes left" to read). Many times, if I do this, it brings back enough interest in the story to make me go back and finish. It didn't work this time.

There are books that go down like eating whipped cream: light and fluffy and sweet.
There are books that go down like eating French Fries: hot and salty and you can't stop until you've finished it all.
There are books that go down like eating a bad steak; it looks and smells amazing, but you take the first bite to find its horribly dry and tasteless. You take a second bite and it's so tough and chewy that you literally cannot swallow it. You finally push the plate away from you and leave the table.

This novel is bad steak. In the first 10% (again, can't give you chapter numbers) we meet 16 main characters and uncounted secondary, peripheral characters. Thats too many. And scientific facts and figures are thrown at you ad nauseam. I half expected to start seeing pop quizzes at the end of each vignette.

I don't mind political discourse in a novel or learning the terror of climate change. But at least make it palatable and interesting, instead of dull as watching grass grow.

Was this review helpful?

I was extremely interested in reading this book prior to release. Unlike Stephen King's endorsement, the book is boring, disjointed, and poorly written. The general theme is a projection of the next 20 years of climate extremes.

Initially, a number of disturbing observations of bacteria in the ocean pointed towards a speed up of storms and ice melts being analyzed by biologists and mathematical quants. If it stayed on theme, it could have been a great book.

Instead, he divided it into sub-plots that he never stitched together. It took me 4 weeks to get through this and was painful. I highly recommend not wasting 15 to 20 hours reading this.

Was this review helpful?

It is the future … America and all its extremes have gotten worse - the weather and politics! Starts with a scientist and methane - there is a wide cast of characters in this one - an epic story of chaos and fear and hope (I hope) as this is the last chance for survival. Wildly creative and smart and brilliantly written

Was this review helpful?

This book is a prediction of what our world might come to unless we close every coal mine, totally switch over to electric vehicles, severely limit oil usage and get all the plastic out of our oceans. The Deluge is a pretty stark view of what the world’s population may be suffering in the next thirty years if we don’t do something to stop carbon emissions and other pollutants now. I’m definitely a believer of climate change, so for me, reading this book was like preaching to the choir. One doesn’t even have to pay close attention to the news these days to realize that storms are getting more severe, fires are becoming more frequent and deadly, and the glaciers are melting, raising water levels at coastlines. My hopes for this book, which I think was well-written, informative and important, is that every world leader, every member of Congress and the Senate, are each given a copy and make vows to no longer accept any money whatsoever from the big oil companies and other polluters. I believe until that happens, sadly not much is going to change. Humans are the ones destroying this planet and we are the only ones who can save it, so I hope this book becomes a bestseller and is in every town, high school and college library. There is only one thing I really didn’t like about this book, and it wasn’t the length. It is longer than it has to be, but I like big books, so I was okay with that. Anyone who reads my reviews know characters are very important to me. The only thing I disliked about this story was every single character except for one, Matt Stanton. And there are a lot of characters. I don’t know if the author intentionally made them all unlikable or if it’s just me. So, if any of you read this book and you actually do like the characters, please leave me a comment, because I’ve never liked a book as much as I did this one while not liking 99% of the characters in it. I would like to thank Simon & Schuster, Stephen Markley and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC free for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Stuggled to get through this book. It took me forever as there are way to many characters and way to much going on. I could not follow it at all. Every time I put it down and came back I had to start over.

I finally had to make myself a chart just to keep track of the characters.

Just to much for one book! I really really did not enjoy the book. Thought I would love it based on the synopsis.

Just can not recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy in return for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and comment on Stephen Markley's 'The Deluge.'

This is a colossal book in size and scope. It's a challenge to engage with for the first few hundred pages because we're being presented with the cast of characters, seemingly unconnected, with each new character or set of characters having a chunk of the book dedicated to them so by the time the author circles back to that character you may already have forgotten the earlier segment(s) in which they feature. It's a book structure I usually enjoy - Stephen King employs it in some of his novels - and in this case it just took a bit more work to 'get it.' That said, when the elements and characters begin to merge and coalesce it's an intricate thing of beauty and kudos to the author on achieving it.

It's a book about monumental climate, political, and cultural upheaval over the course of about two decades seen through the eyes and actions of a set of characters who become increasingly intertwined as time passes.

At the beginning of the book I was tending towards the view that there's no way this could happen this quickly and then I began to realize that, in every aspect, of course it can. The change in society and politics since 2015 has been profound and terrifying so to think that it couldn't accelerate in the next decade and beyond is probably foolish. When I got to an account of an brutal assault on some key characters in the book it was the same day as the assault on Nancy Pelosi's husband in the real world and the reaction from the 'opposition' was very much in line with the 'extreme' attitudes in the book. The lip service continually paid to climate change reversal/slowdown in the book is reflected in the real world. Carbon level reduction targets set in talks in the real world are laughable in the face of an actual increase. The dominance of the fossil fuel industry and their bought and paid for allies in governments is real. With all that, how can you not imagine that the climate scenarios played out in the book could also be real?

In the end I enjoyed the book but it's not an easy or quick read and I'll admit to skimming parts of it as I got through it but it's a helluva piece of writing.

Was this review helpful?

I am sure this book is a wonderful read for the right audience, unfortunately I couldn’t get into it at all, when I have to keep looking up words because I don’t know what they mean, I lose interest fast. This maybe says more about me than the book of course!

Was this review helpful?