From the Deep is the second novel I’ve read by Kateri and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, if anything, I became even more immersed in the story since the characters she’d drawn within it seem real: authentic. Jules is our hero, a man struggling to raise his daughter alone after the death of the wife he adored. He is a fisherman in a small English whaling community – Drake’s Cove – and from the get-go is assailed by the brutal murder of two fellow fishermen. Prime suspects are members of group of anti-whaling activists, intent on dividing the Drake Covian community. Once Jules is caught on camera slicing open a pregant whale, all hell is let loose and he and his daughter become targets in more ways than one.
So far, so straightforward. It is only when the narrative explores the relationship between Jules and a mysterious green-haired woman – an excellent swimmer – that this becomes a book of quite a different order, and we take an unexpected turn into mythic territory.
Which I absolutely loved.
I also loved the writing. It surprised me, to be honest, since it’s written in the first person present. Difficult to pull off and usually a POV I avoid like the plague. But it was done with such aplomb, the voices of the characters rang out – especially Jules, who was perfectly drawn being both relatable and whose thoughts and actions were thoroughly believable. Plus he was hot. Big plus, that, lol. His feelings for his wife, daughter and Shy were, to me, spot on and I think the main reason why I found this book so immersive.
Had a bit of an issue at first, believing a whaling community could exist at all in the UK (though I understand the story was inspired from a documentary about a Japanese whaling community), no worries, I very soon discovered that From the Deep is one of those stories you just have to go along with. Quite a journey.
A layered read, dramatically, ethically and politically. I really, really enjoyed it.
Julian Finch, widower and fisherman, awakes to learn that the bodies of two colleagues have washed up on the beach of Drake Cove. The close-knit community is under fierce public scrutiny due to a long-standing tradition called “The Culling”, the annual slaughter of pilot whales for consumption. An act which divides the nation.
The suspects are the extreme animal rights group, the Fighters Against Animal Cruelty (FAAC) who go wherever the politics is trending. They’ve been harassing the small fishing town for many years, smashing up their boats and sending vicious hate mail.
Tensions mount after a viral video, uploaded by the FAAC of Julian killing a pregnant whale, causes uproar online and in real life. In the aftermath, Julian becomes the victim of hate crime. In order to avoid further life-threatening attacks, Julian and his daughter take refuge in the home of Frank Blothio: ex-fisherman turned writer and political activist who does not have the best history with the animal rights movement, or Drake Cove as a whole.
As Julian integrates into the Blothio way of life, he discovers heinous secrets and disturbing truths lurking beneath the skin of his hometown that will change his life forever.
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