Title: The Deep
Author: Alma Katsu
Available in physical books, audio book, or ebook
Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. Between mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, the guests of the Titanic have found themselves suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone from the moment they set sail. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, are convinced there’s something sinister–almost otherwordly–afoot. But before they can locate the source of the danger, as the world knows, disaster strikes.
Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together. Working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic‘s sister ship, the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship, she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier fighting in World War I. At first, Annie is thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the sinking, but soon, Mark’s presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past–as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.
Brilliantly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom.
What I Loved
Wow! This is the best book I’ve read all year. The historian in me LOVED the attention to historical accuracy and research while maintaining a fast-paced, suck-you-in story that didn’t get bogged down in the details. The cast of characters were all fascinating and Dai and Leslie had to be my favorites. What an interesting and exciting take on Titanic passengers. Every character was flawed in their own way and I appreciated the realness to that.
The Gothic factor was fantastic with an overarching eeriness and foreboding that is only better because we “know” what happens to the Titanic. Katsu weaves the storylines together in an elegant way that didn’t feel jarring or confusing. The little snippets of extras like telegrams or doctor’s notes really added an interesting layer to the story as well.
What I Didn’t
There seemed to be a few threads that didn’t quite play out all the way to the end. I don’t want to give out any spoilers here, but there are a few storylines that I think needed a more comprehensive explanation/ending or to just be left out altogether. There was plenty within the main storylines to keep interest and drive the plot. I think a few of the side stories distracted rather than added.
“But there’s something about his generosity, his kindness, that makes her feel weighted down and sad. He is buoyant—of another dimension, one that does not experience the friction of the world in the same way she does. His fingers dart around the edges of a cigarette he twirls in his hand, and all she can think is ease. She has never felt that. She is more like the cigarette itself, passed from hand to mouth to earth, sucked dry and then forgotten.”
After finishing The Deep last night, I already checked out another Alma Katsu title, which is the highest praise I can give! There is nothing I like better than well-researched historical fiction and the addition of the horror elements is just icing on the cake for me. I highly recommend this book!