Review of The Deep – Alma Katsu

Posted: September 7, 2020 in history, horror, Review

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, the historical and the horrific, The Deep reveals a chilling truth in an unputdownable narrative full of unnerving moments and with a growing, inexorable sense of foreboding.

The Deep

Alma Katsu


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

It’s 1916 and Annie Hebbley has to leave the insane asylum where she has been living in order to make room for returning soldiers suffering shellshock.  She has a letter from a friend -Violet Jessop, who she worked with on the Titanic – inviting her o join her in serving as a stewardess for the Red Cross, sailing on the HMHS Brittanic evacuating the military troops.  Tending the wounded, she discovers a man she looked after on the Titanic, a man who perished…..

The character Violet Jessop is an actual person and she was holding a baby when she was rescued from the Titanic.  Violet survived the sinking of three ships which is bizarre – surely any sane person would think ”well I survived two, better not push my luck again”.

The story was told in two times – 1916 and 1912 – and each chapter is clearly labelled so you know instantly which time period you’re in.  the story plot gripped me at the start – based on real people, an intriguing mystery, the unexplained reason a tragedy happened – but there was too much back story and too many characters to make the story flow quickly.  I lost interest halfway in and it was a real struggle to finish.   The ending tied up the story nicely and maybe is exactly what happened.

Try it as it’s an interesting idea.  Maybe you have a longer attention span than me.

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