Name: Into the Drowning Deep
Author: Mira Grant
Number of Pages: 484 (Paperback)
Published: November 13th 2017 by Little, Brown Book Group
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror
The ocean is home to many myths,
But some are deadly…
Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a tragedy.
Now a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.
Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.
But the secrets of the deep come with a price. – from Goodreads
Do I think they found mermaids?
Yes, of course I do.
And I think the mermaids ate them all.
– Dr Jillian Toth
Seven years ago a crew set sail on the Atargatis to film a mockumentary about sea creatures of myth and legend, the mermaid.
That crew never returned home, and rumour and speculation was rife, especially since the ship was found with no one on board, a ghost ship.
What did emerge was disturbing footage that seemed to prove the existence of mermaids, but it painted them as monsters of the deep, rather than the beautiful myth that so many imagine.
Some called it a hoax, most agree it was a tragedy, but for Victoria Stewart, a marine biologist, it is personal. Her sister Anne was lost with the Atargatis, and Tory is dedicated to finding out the truth about mermaids and what happened to her sister.
Needless to say that when another trip to the Mariana Trench is proposed, Tory is definitely onboard, along with a large and mostly great cast of characters. The new ship, the Melusine, is off into dangerous territory…
They had sailed off the edge of the map, into the waters the cartographers had marked with ‘Here be monsters’ and a picture of something terrible and toothy…
The book works so well in that it delivers the goods about the horror lurking somewhere out in the vast ocean right at the beginning as we’re treated to glimpses of the Atargatis footage.
We know what is out there, there’s a great teaser, then the book goes into the development of some of the central characters.
There’s Tory and her friend and colleague Luis, who through vast amounts of family money funds a lot of their research and projects.
Dr Jillian Toth always claimed mermaids were real but refused a place aboard the Atargatis. She lives with guilt, believing she sent all those people to their deaths, encouraging them with her claims that these creatures were out there but staying behind when it came time to prove it.
Jillian’s estranged husband Theo Blackwell works for Imagine Entertainment, the company behind both expeditions and also has a place on the new expedition.
Also on board are the Wilson family – twins Heather and Holly, and their sister Hallie who accompanies them as interpreter as the twins are deaf. All three have their own scientific specialties and I particularly enjoyed the roles that Hallie and Heather played in this tale.
There’s Olivia, the face of Imagine, who broadcasts news of discoveries and life aboard the new ship, and two big game hunters, the Abneys, determined only to make a kill and be the first to claim having killed a mermaid, hoping to make their fortune from their discovery.
While we’re longing to get to the monsters, by the time we reach mermaid-infested waters, chances are you’re going to care about the fate of at least a few of these characters. Some you may hope end up as mermaid food and some you’ll be heartbroken if they don’t make it out alive, and can anyone really make it out of this alive when faced with such a deadly adversary?
The setting, this vast well-equipped but still-vulnerable research ship out in the wilderness of the sea above the Mariana Trench, and the depths themselves, the trench and the Challenger Deep are bought to life in a great isolating and claustrophobic way. All these people are out beyond the easy reach of humanity, surrounded by monsters. It makes for tense reading when the mermaids start picking off their prey.
The mermaids themselves, I don‘t want to give too much away but they’re pretty nightmarish. All your traditional ideas about mermaids are soon destroyed. These creatures, they’re dangerous predators with big appetites….
Into the Drowning Deep blends science and fiction wonderfully. I was drawn in to descriptions of the work that various people on the ship were undertaking, and found certain parts of it quite fascinating. I actually found myself going online at one point looking up a certain point because I wondered how much of that was actually factual, but I won’t say more about that for risk of spoilers.
There is action, suspense, horror, even romance, and enough twists and turns that I found it so difficult to put this book down, even though I really didn’t want it to end.