31 May 2023

Review: Cold People by Tom Rob Smith

Cold People by Tom Rob Smith book cover

* Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster *

I read The Farm by Tom Rob Smith in 2014 and I can still remember the gasp I made when I realised the predicament the main character was in. In 2014, I published my first ever Top 5 Books list and The Farm was proudly featured.

Next came Child 44, later made into a movie on the big screen starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace. I gave this 4 stars in my review and went on to become the first Australian blogger to interview Tom Rob Smith.

So, when a copy of Cold People arrived in my mailbox, I knew the author could convincingly set a plot in the harshest climate in the world, as the freezing Russian conditions in Child 44 were expertly conveyed to the reader. I also knew that Tom Rob Smith could spin a terrific yarn - as he did in The Farm - so I rugged up and started reading.

By page 8, he was off to a cracking start with this description of a ship's captain living 150 years ago:
"...[Captain] Moray was an expert in choosing his crew from the variety of outcasts on offer, his preference being for the melancholic, the sexual deviants and the thieves. For the thieves there was nothing to steal, for the melancholic there was the ocean to meditate upon and for the deviants there were other deviants. Moray never shared the secrets of his own past, cultivating the appearance of a forceful but fair man, a bastion of order in this otherwise barbarous industry. There was room for only one murderer on this ship." Page 8
Wow! I was hooked right there and then! The premise of Cold People is that all of humanity has to relocate to Antarctica in 30 days in order to survive. The 'event' that kicks off the action was very well written and I enjoyed experiencing it from a few character's points of view, in the same way we did when the dome dramatically came down in Under the Dome by Stephen King.

The plotting style reminded me of Matthew Reilly, and I know you'll be thinking "that's probably because of Ice Station", but actually it's because of the action in The Great Zoo of China. Cold People felt cinematic in scale at times and if you enjoy Matthew Reilly, I think you'll enjoy this too.

It's probably relevant to acknowledge that I don't read many dystopian novels or books set in a post apocalyptic world. Just as I followed Maggie O'Farrell blindly into her memoir based purely on my love of her writing, Tom Rob Smith beckoned me into his glacially cold dystopian future and I'm glad I followed.

Cold People
 by Tom Rob Smith is inventive and optimistic about humanity while pointing out our flaws and I'm glad I stepped into this frightening futuristic portrayal. 

My Rating:

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