Stephen Baxter, imho, is the science fiction master of big-and-little, and a master of vivid world-building. His characters are mostly interesting, sometimes fascinating, and his plots are wonderful--'Riding...superstrings to the edge of the Universe!' Cities less than a centimeter tall, in the heart of burned-out suns! Life on Titan!
I'm used to grabbing everything he writes (and he writes quickly, good juicy long books that often turn into a series), so when he came out with Stone Spring, Book 1 of 3 about England's Mesolithic Period (~10,000 B.C.), I immediately ordered it from England, since it's not yet available in the U.S.
I should have saved myself the trouble.
The premise of Stone Spring is simple: global warming is melting the northern ice, which results in tsunamis inundating England's old coastlines. A former slave from Jericho (where, according to the Bible, there was a battle that brought Jericho's walls down), who knows how to build bricks, builds a big wall to keep out floodwaters.
End of story. Big deal
I got to page 200 and quit. The plot was snoringly easy to figure out, and I had 300 pages to go. I didn't like any of the characters, who mostly grunted, stank of fish, and raped or got raped. Let them all drown, I thought. Who cares?
I'm not going to buy Books two and three unless the reviews say that Baxter drops aliens out of the sky or sends a giant comet full of viruses down onto his little group of boring savages. Maybe I'll just find another Killer B in the science fiction section...(so far, I include Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Baxter and David Brin...)
Or I'll leap to the C's.