Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
When global warming gives reality to the currently existing concerns about rising sea levels, humankind begins adapting by building cities beneath the sea. Vastly superior submarines of various sizes and capabilities are the common mode of transport. But if there’s one thing that never changes, it’s the competition between nations to be the best and the fastest in every field. To do that, each major country has its spies everywhere, and when Kat, a gifted female scientist in the underwater nation of Trieste, comes up with a design that will set Triestians ahead of the rest, her technological wonder gets stolen! Truman McClusky, an intelligence operative is called in to retrieve it and bring the thief back to Trieste. Though reluctant to return to active service, McClusky takes on the job for one primary reason: that thief, once his closest friend and partner, betrayed him. Now his new mission has a second objective: kill his traitor.
If you’re going to tackle The War Beneath by Timothy S. Johnston, then suspend any doubt you might have about where technology might take us, or what our cities might be like a century from now. Then sit back, start reading and enjoy a deep sea dive into the future. The plot becomes very complex in a short time, with twist upon twist. The other amazing thing is the incredible seacar, the SC-1, that McClusky and Kat maneuver throughout the ocean mountain ranges and ridges, at times plunging to 4000k depths as they try to avoid being blown to bits by torpedoes or detonated by mines, or simply drowned by tons of water pressure on their vessel. And in the very few non-battle moments, when not watching radar or listening for pings from enemy craft, they get to appreciate the abundance of mesmerizing sea life gliding past their window.
The War Beneath is not a book for dummies. The content and concepts require keen, inquisitive and analytical minds. The book is heavily researched and there’s a good deal of important reference information supplied after the story ends for those who want to know more or possibly didn’t quite understand some aspects of the underwater technology. Some might find the in-story explanations a little heady but you learn a lot of what you might not otherwise have known. I must admit I got so curious about the underwater terrains Johnston mentioned that I stopped reading to look them up on Google! Yes, they do exist and have names. Don’t be surprised if you do the same. One very riveting, intelligent read!