Hurricane Fever

Before talking about Hurricane Fever, I need to mention the prequel.

See, I loved Tobias Buckell's Artic Rising, but I felt a tiny bit sad because my favorite character, Prudence "Roo" Jones, Caribbean Intelligence Group agent, wasn't the star of the show. I was delighted when Buckell took us back to that setting with Roo as Hurricane Fever's protagonist. I'm a sucker for sailboats and good secret agents, and Roo is a good secret agent with a sailboat.

I also like near-future science fiction that extrapolates believably from current events. In Arctic Rising, Buckell showed us a world economy turned upside down by the thawing Arctic, which opened up the Northwest Passage. He also gave us commercial arctic airships more than a year before news broke that investors in Iceland and the US were contemplating just such a thing

Hurricane Fever takes us a several thousand klicks south to the Caribbean, where warmer oceans have increased the frequency, the range, and the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes (a conceit I first saw in John Barnes' Mother of Storms, and which has solid meteorological science behind it.) Those storms are just the backdrop, however, for a piece of spy fiction in the classic vein. Roo has retired to raise his orphaned nephew, but he gets a phone call from a dead friend, and the resulting trip to the post office kicks off a pulse-pounding tour of the islands. 

Buckell knows the region -- he grew up there -- and he gets the details right. He mentions the haze of Saharan dust that periodically descends from the skies, and I remember cleaning that very same stuff from my boom box back in 1984 on a Florida beach. His descriptions of hurricanes match my own memories of trying to sleep through a mild one. Oh, and the scene where Roo scrubs the deck? Spot on. 

Hurricane Fever is a relatively quick read, but I enjoyed it a lot. You don't need to have read Arctic Rising first, and now that you know Roo lives through that book we've gotten the only potential spoiler out of the way. If you dig super spies, high-tech toys, and heavy weather*, you may just enjoy it too.

*Note: Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling? Awesome, even twenty years later.