The Fabulous Riverboat (Riverworld, #2)


Rating: 3 stars

After being completely captivated by To Your Scattered Bodies Go, it took me ages to find the rest of the series (in fact, I managed to acquire the books in reverse order, only getting The Fabulous Riverboat at Christmas). This book leaves the protagonist of volume one, Sir Richard Burton, and follows Samuel Clemens and his dream of building a magnificent riverboat in which he will travel to the headwaters of the River and find the mysterious Ethicals who resurrected Humanity on this world.

Most of the book is taken up with the various struggles involved in building the boat on a mineral-poor planet (a fallen meteorite solves this) and the machinations of his uneasy alliance with King John, with the riverboat itself not making an appearance until the final chapter. I must confess that I’m not entirely sure what made people follow Sam Clemens with such loyalty since he seems to mope a lot and doesn’t have the magnetic personality of Burton.

An enjoyable novel although perhaps not as strong as the first. The quest to build the riverboat didn’t grip me and the fantastically quick development of technology once they had acquired raw materials never really felt right to me. Not that that’s going to stop me from finishing the series.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586039892
Publisher: Panther Books
Year of publication: 1971

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