Published 5th August 2021
Number of pages 400
Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the death of his wife, and blaming himself, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his ‘Uncle’ Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of his past – and survive the perils of the deep?
We meet a new action hero in this debut novel.
Rob Nash is the world famous Cave Diver of the title. While still emotionally broken by the death of his pregnant wife on one of his dives he is enticed back into diving by the opportunity to dive fabled caves in Indonesia. Accompanied by his “Uncle” Frank, Rob soon begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem and those paying for him to dive have ambitions beyond the documentary he agreed to make.
This story moves along at quite a pace, initially with pathos, then excitement and finally jeopardy as Rob uncovers the plot while trying to overcome his guilt and new found claustrophobia and keep the innocent (and not so innocent) safe. Believably he takes on the project as a penance and a way to pay back his family and others, once involved he has to see it to its conclusion.
Rob’s character is developed early in the story and we quickly understand that something has gone wrong in what was clearly an idyllic life, his guilt makes him distance himself from his family and others and it is only when the amazing opportunity and his mounting debt comes along that he begins to re-engage with his family. The other characters are also well drawn and easy to visualise.
The use of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as a setting brings these atmospheric locations directly into the story and we are given an opportunity to learn a little about the people, the history and the modern challenges of this region as the story progresses.
The author shows either a great knowledge for the technical side of diving or has thoroughly researched the subject, which only added to this convincing read. An enjoyable, tension fuelled novel that kept me engaged throughout.
Many thanks to Karen Stretch at Bonnier Books for my advance copy of the book.
Jake Avila is a full-time writer with a BA in Writing and Information Technology. He has a background in freelance journalism writing on politics, culture, technology, and sport, and taught secondary English for ten years. In 2019, he won the Adventure Writer’s Competition Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Cave Diver and then went on to win the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for the book in 2020. British born, he now lives in Australia.