Author: Tobin Marks
Publisher: Boyle & Dalton
Publish Date: March 24, 2021
Amazon Link: Ark of the Apocalypse*
*This is not my affiliate link and I do not make a commission from any purchase made using this link.
About Ark of the Apocalypse
Earth is on the verge of becoming a dead planet.
The polar ice caps melted long ago, and it’s been decades since the last raindrop fell. Ocean levels rise a dozen meters, and forest fires rage on a global scale. Eleven billion people dying of thirst wage water wars against each other as extinction looms.
Humanity needs a new planet. As Earth deteriorates, the nation states desperately work together to build a mechanism for recolonization. And so the Magellan II is born, the first starship capable of interstellar travel.
The future of the human race is tasked to ten thousand colonists-now homeless but for the vastness of space and the decks of Magellan II. A distant planet offers hope of survival, but it’s a strange, watery world inhabited by giant reptiles.
Humanity is starting over, but survival isn’t guaranteed.
Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Before the temperatures started rising and water became scarce, a seemingly unassuming family lived in Crimea. Anatoly Yanbeyev’s life obsession is to finish a curious family medallion while his wife, Tatyana, practices medicine as World War II rages on. One evening the Yanbeyev family suddenly find themselves torn from their home on charges of subversion. Eventually they’re transferred to eastern Siberia where they open a clinic on the remote Kamchatka Peninsula.
As times goes on, the Yanbeyev family business grows and their family prospers. While Siberia becomes more hospitable, the rest of humanity suffers. Political tensions are at an all time high with the everpresent threat of nuclear proliferation. As the world’s superpowers try to avoid another world war, there’s someone behind the scenes pulling the strings and writing the script for humanity’s future.
The Ark of the Apocalypse is a story that spans many decades, wars, and several generations. In Japan, a doctor works on a secret project for the Nazis that the United States believes is a weapons program. We learn early on in the story that certain Yanbeyev family members have visions that help them plan for the future, one generation at a time. As we hop through the decades, the United States and Russia play a game of thrones with China and India. Meanwhile, the Yanbeyevs work to ensure their family survives what’s ahead.
The first 40% or so of this book focuses on political and military strategizing, almost to the point of feeling like a political thriller. To be fully transparent, I expected more science fiction/fantasy through this point. Thus, I felt that the content during this portion was a bit of a mismatch from the book description and cover. I don’t usually gravitate towards heavy political/military content; so, I personally felt this portion of the book was a bit slow. However, though I’m no political/military strategist, Marks describes the tense interactions between heads of state with ease. The author avoids providing so much detail that might bog down a reader who’s not familiar with war strategy and weaponry specifics.
The science fiction aspect of the story comes more into play in the last half of the book. As the situation on Earth becomes more dire, the need for technological advances in off-world travel become increasingly important. Sacrifices must be made to ensure the survival of the human race. I’m not the right person to say whether the tech mechanisms described by Marks are feasible. However, the author certainly seems quite familiar with what could be possible (both with weapons and travel tech). Perhaps this may be related to his time spent observing NASA and NOAA projects.
This is a post-apocalyptic book, so I think we can all agree where the future of Earth is heading. I was genuinely surprised, though, at the events following the Magellan II’s departure from Earth. Specifically, without introducing any spoilers, the concept of fate and choice intrigued me. I quite enjoyed reading about the preparations for interstellar travel and what it’s like after they make it to a distant planet. At this point specific characters have the spotlight rather than world events, which as a readers allows one to connect more with the story.
My only critique is an editorial one. Within the digital copy that I received, there are punctuation errors, accidental word repetition, some instances of incorrect verb tenses, misspelling of some words, and consistent incorrect dialogue formatting (e.g., no commas, misplaced commas, misplaced periods). This didn’t detract from my overall positive experience of reading Ark of the Apocalypse. But as detail-oriented person I often spot these types of things. That said, I think the writing is succinct, yet provides enough detail to allow the reader to envision and world-build in one’s head. Overall, the pacing is good. As a reader, we don’t have an omniscient point of view. This leaves questions hanging and keeps pages turning as we seek to find out what will happen to Earth and the human race.
Overall, I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading post-apocalyptic science fiction, particularly if you’re also keen to read about the political decisions that lead to the demise of a civilization. If you’re interested in reading Ark of the Apocalypse, you can find it on Amazon.
Content warnings: battle scenes, death
Reading format: e-book
About the Author
Marks is a world traveler who grew up in a household of rocket scientists. As a boy he had a front row seat observing many NASA and NOAA projects. He writes science fiction novels from his home in north west Baja, and you can usually find him on Twitter @tobinmarks.