Tipping Point: Michelle Cook

The title “Tipping Point” probably refers to the moment at which there can be no return from catastrophic climate change. A difficult subject to write about in fiction; easy to get both doomy and also maybe a little worthy.

Not the case with this author. Her near-future eco thriller is so busy embroiling her main character, Essie Glass, in the already given consequences of climate change—there’s no time to get preachy. From the moment Essie decides to act on her principles—another tipping point—the action is relentless.

Essie lives in a still-recognisable world but one turned fascist as the old order crumbles in the fight for power and control. In her joining of a small activist cell, we’re shown, for example, just how terrifying and complex the relatively simple of task of mounting a banner is when armed police and drones are on the lookout. And they’re looking or surveilling everywhere; her phone, her flat, her internet. As the plot thickens, and capture always a possibility, we see how petrified she is of arrest, since human rights have long since left the planet and the authorities have decided torture is the first resort for gleaning information.

As fears about her climate action is not enough to raise the stakes, Essie still mourns the death of her family, lives in fear of an abusive ex, and a pretty much constant lack of confidence she’s doing the right thing. In other words, a real and authentic person (and she has a great voice) coping in the flux of an unsafe world.

ProbabIy the best thing I liked about the novel, was how the action played out in small-scale, Essie’s home town. Clever that Cook managed to handle the ‘big politics,’ despite (because of?) the suburban setting. It made everything all the more terrifying since what took place in this possible future could easily happen anywhere. To us all.


What would you risk to turn back the tide?

Essie Glass might have been a typical eighteen-year-old – had life not dealt her an early blow. Struggling to come to terms with the loss of her family in a terrorist attack, and left with nothing, Essie’s not kidding herself about her world. She wants change, and she’ll be honest about it, whatever the cost. From behind her keyboard, that is…

After all, this is England, 2035. Earth’s climate continues its accelerating collapse. A powerful elite controls the disaster-weary population with propaganda, intimidation, and constant surveillance.

By all appearances, Alex Langford is a respected local businessman – until Essie discovers that he’s a murderous conspirator who’d see the planet die for his fortune.

When their paths collide, Essie must decide: how much is she really willing to pay for her honesty?

Her choices, and the events she sets in motion, pit her against both enemies and supposed friends as she risks more than just her life to thwart them.

Will she succeed in revealing the truth? And will she survive?

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