In a future Earth, the seas have become tainted with a mix of radiation, mutated dangerous sea life, and who knows what else. This taint can affect humans who eat affected seafood or fall into the oceans. Small nations of humans survive, but war is imminent. Dr. Avery, aboard a Ghenisian military whaling ship, stumbles upon espionage and perhaps something more when a mysterious unconscious woman is brought aboard.
This was a crazy cool mix of mutated sea beasties, military fiction, a touch of murder mystery, and espionage. The Cthulu spawn coupled with the dark, imminent danger atmosphere of this book had me hooked from the beginning. As a biologist, I was geeking out over the mutated sea life but also the chemical and/or biological weapons the Octung enemies kept throwing at Ghenisia. Later in the story, we have some human diseases, even mutations, brought about by eating tainted sea food, and the wicked biologist in me enjoyed that as well.
Dr. Francis Avery is an interesting man as well. He is not your typical hero. He’s an alcoholic, middle years, balding, not so sure of himself, and for part of the story, he is a little easy to manipulate. All this made him a very interesting character. He has the remnants of some high ideals, as much as the world he lives in will allow him, but by the end those once pristine black & white areas have all gone grey for him.
Captain Sheridan is also interesting. She was hard for me to guess what side of things she stood on and I very much enjoyed that. Dr. Avery spends quite a bit of time trying to figure her out as well. She is also a woman accustomed to getting her way in nearly everything, including the bedroom (which Avery well knows). I liked that the sex between them wasn’t all mushy but was completely focused on release of tension and lust. After all, this is a hard world and it breeds hard people, men and women alike.
The mysterious woman Layanna was brought up out of the sea unconscious. She poses a quandary as she is unblemished and remains that way while in sick bay. Perhaps she is some human genetic experiment gone right – making it possible for humans to remain untouched by the tainted sea. Perhaps she is a myth, something higher than humanity. At any rate, she is an item the Octung want and the Ghenisia government will want once they know about her.
Then we have all this cool espionage stuff going on in the background. Who aboard the Ghenisian whaler is dropping secret messages overboard? Who can Dr. Avery trust? Who killed those two sailors? So many questions for him to resolve!
Toss in big brawling Janx with his rag tag mutant, tattooed friends and you have quite the story! Indeed, I really enjoyed this book.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge from the author via theGoodReads Audiobooks Group in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks!
The Narration: Ray Greenley did an amazing job with this book. He really brought the characters to life and made them all distinct. He had believable female voices. I especially liked his voice for Janx and that of Janx’s buddy (who he fights in an organized match).