The Savage Deeps by Timothy S. Johnson (The Rise Of Oceania book 2) (book review).

January 27, 2020 | By | Reply More

Set in a possible future, ‘The Rise Of Oceania’ series tells an old story, a war for independence in a new and inventive setting. As the oceans rise, humanity takes refuge beneath the water, creating cities thirty metres under the surface. Life underwater is tough and consequently breeds tough men and women. Any threat to their way of life, therefore, is treated censure it deserves.

In the first book of this series, ‘The War Beneath’, former intelligence operative Truman ‘Mac’ McClusky is drawn back into the politics governing the underwater city of Trieste against his will. Once enmeshed, however, he finds he has little choice but to continue. His future, and that of the city he loves, is at stake.

In ‘The Savage Deeps’, that future is again in peril. Conditions above the water are worsening and the countries of the world are looking toward the oceans for their salvation. Their intent is far from peaceful, however. The oceans hold valuable resources such as food and whoever holds those resources holds power. As the submarine fleets of the world jostle for position, Mac is the man standing in their way.

Our reluctant hero is not the type of man to back down and, in this second book, we will follow him to the edge and just over as he seeks to unite the cities of Oceania in a move for independence from the world above. The stakes are higher. So will be the price Mac has to pay.

As with all great movements, this one has had a rocky start and the past two years have been spent in recovery and recalibration. But before Mac is ready to launch his ambitious plans, the death of one of his operatives brings to light a fact he has long suspected. Mac is not the only one playing the intelligence game and his greatest secret is under threat. He has to act now.

Just as author Timothy S. Johnston’s characters often find themselves in tight spaces, literally and figuratively, they also find plenty of action on their way to everywhere. Mac’s bid to begin bringing the other underwater cities to his cause is interrupted by French torpedoes. His dream of unification will have to be delayed as he deals with current and building threats. But what he will accomplish in this novel, despite the cost, will show both Oceania and what’s left of the powers ruling the above world what they’re up against…and just how Mac might win.

As a sequel, ‘The Savage Deeps’ delivers on every level. The action is perilous, but not an exact repeat of what we’ve seen before. New technology abounds, all detailed with exhaustive research. Once again, Mac is the star of the production, a wonderfully complicated character written with delicacy. There is a point when you can push a character too far. Mac is nudged up against the edge and held there until you think he might break. These scenes, for me, are just as thrilling as watching Mac perform daring underwater maneuvers. The emotional impact of this book is just as compelling as in the first one.

I’m really looking forward to the final chapter of this trilogy, ‘Fatal Depth’. Despite the portentous title, I’m eager to see what new technology Timothy S. Johnston will invent to help Trieste and Mac win the war for an independent Oceania, and will hope that Mac is around at the end of the book to enjoy it.

Kelly Jensen

January 2020

(pub: ChiZine Publications, 2019. 300 pages paperback. Price: $17.99 (US). £13.83 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-77148-506-7)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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