The Deep

Image of The Deep
Release Date: 
March 10, 2020
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Reviewed by: 

“an incredibly researched and compelling psychological thriller.”

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the Titanic from the moment they set sail. Amid mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths, the guests find themselves in an eerie unsettling twilight zone. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebbley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, are convinced there’s something more sinister is going on. And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together by going to work as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship to support British forces fighting World War I. When she happens across an unconscious Mark Fletcher, now a soldier, she is at first thrilled and relieved to learn that he, too, survived the tragic night four years earlier. But soon, his 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. . . .

The Deep by Alma Katsu is a captivating novel that chillingly blurs the lines between mystery, horror, and historical fiction. Katsu previous works include The Hunger (2018), which was the winner of the Western Heritage Award and a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. Other successful novels include The Taker (2011), The Reckoning (2012), and The Descent (2014). Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long-time career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies.

“The Titanic was more than her home now: it was her world. It felt as though her life had begun the day she stepped onto the ship, as if she’d crawled out of her past like a grave, reborn into the fresh sea air.”

Set in the suffocating confines of the doomed ocean liners Titanic and Britannic, the story does an amazing job of interconnecting the plotlines of the sinking vessels. The reader is easily transported back in time in this sweeping story of love and revenge. A tale that includes numerous twists and turns that are both absorbing and frightening. There are ghostly goings-on, séances, marital discord, and the collision of class on the Titanic. All of which foreshadow the ship’s unavoidable misfortune.

“Normally Annie loved the sea, despite the fear her parents had tried to put in her . . . But as she scampered over the rocks that day . . . her vision went white and blurry. It had been a bright spring day, cold and clear. Still, there was something about the day that left her, even now, with a feeling of terror. . . . She’d had a vision. A terrible vision . . . The dark lady of the water. The sea goddess. The demon.”

The Deep is an incredibly researched and compelling psychological thriller. It delivers the essential emotions that the retelling of catastrophes of this magnitude require as well as a creepy and dynamic twist that feel entirely unexpected. Katsu has easily succeeded in capturing the cold, primeval feeling of looming peril and the terrible panic that must have gripped the passengers of the two ill-fated ships.