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Submergence Hardcover – International Edition, August 22, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
It is already becoming apparent that Mr. Ledgard has an uncanny ability to wrench us out of our comfort zone. SUBMERGENCE opens with a captivity scene that forces us to confront the claustrophobia and squalor of the political hostage in a way few of us could have imagined. It is real and visceral and nightmarish.
The book is an extended riff on a marine researcher and a British agent, part love affair, part juxtaposition between the closed world of a victim (constrained, closed, hopeless), and the open world of a scientist (vast, deep, full of promise).
This is a not novel that you can either put down, or forget. It is compelling in every respect. If, in the end, there is no resolution it is because the world offers no resolution. In short, this is a book you must read.
Ledgard's technique is to write in short sections of rather dry declarative prose, from one paragraph to several pages. Some of these introduce odd historical or scientific facts, apparently out of the blue, but all connecting in some way to the author's complex world view. Most, however, concern one or both of the protagonists, jumping around over the course of about a year; it is left to the reader to work out the real-time sequence. James More, a distant descendant of Sir Thomas More, is an ex-paratrooper now working for the Secret Intelligence Service; based in Kenya, he poses as a water engineer while tracking Al Quaeda in neighboring Somalia. Professor Danielle Flinders, oceanographer, biologist, and mathematician, is the daughter of an Australian father and French Caribbean mother. She is an academic high-flyer and sexual adventuress -- until she meets James at an exclusive hotel on the French coast and they fall in love.Read more ›
However, I did find it thrilling, in its own way. The prose is simply beautiful. The ideas are stimulating and often deeply insightful. The plotting is complex but generally works. I will admit there were a few sections where I found myself wanting to skim and return to the main story lines; so I definitely understand critiques about pacing. But in the end, I respect the author's choices and think the "slow" parts are worthwhile and give the story room to breathe.
If you know what you're getting into, this a novel of rare beauty and insight. Highly recommended.
One is a British agent kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Somalia while the other is a marine scientist who explores the ocean depths with only the thin skin of a bathysphere between her and an instant, crushing annihilation.
The love affair begins in a romantic French hotel at Christmas on a snowy Atlantic coast. The hotel's exquisite setting is in stark contrast to the claustrophobic cell and scrub wasteland that form the backdrop to the British agent's ordeal and to the unforgivingly stern grasp of the vast ocean that is the scientist's obsession.
The kidnap victim is a distant relative of Thomas More and the astonishing intellectual explorations of that churchman-philosopher become a vital source of inspiration and diversion for the agent whose brutal captors threaten him with execution at any moment.
The marine scientist, unaware that her lover has been kidnapped, delves into her own edgy history as she sails to the dive point and begins the descent into the abyss.
Ledgard has chosen every word in the novel carefully like a gem specialist sifting for only the best stones for a monarch's crowns. He explores or touches upon diverse ideas that are all connected in a satisfying, enriching yet not always obvious way. Like all the impenetrable bodies of water that wash against the locations where the characters discover their love and then are forced confront the question of who they are when life could be extinguished imminently.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ambitious concept, but unexpectedly slow-moving and almost ponderous. There's clearly writing craft evident, and the point is certainly worth the read, but I felt relieved when it... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eric
Good non-fiction. If you are a reader that wants to learn social, natural and political science history while two individuals are sometimes referenced, then this is your book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tim P.
A very unusual book . I liked the two different themes and how adeptly they were in the end woven together . Seems like this will make an interesting movie .Published 7 months ago by amazonite
It is rare for a book to take hold of you both in content and in style. A timely book for many reasons.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
This work is so different, so self assured and well written that I have recommended it to several of my acquaintances, who have all highly enjoyed the story along with me. Read morePublished 8 months ago by A Reader
Beautifully written, metaphorically clever, an unusual juxtaposition of stories.Published 12 months ago by Samuel Geller