In a room with no windows on the coast of Africa, an Englishman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Posing as a water expert to report on al-Qaeda activity in the area, he now faces extreme privation, mock executions, and forced marches through the arid badlands of Somalia.
Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician, half-French, half-Australian, prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. She is obsessed with the life that multiplies in the darkness of the lowest strata of water.
Both are drawn back to the previous Christmas, and to a French hotel on the Atlantic coast, where a chance encounter on the beach led to an intense and enduring romance. For James, his mind escapes to utopias both imagined and remembered. Danny is drawn back to beginnings: to mythical and scientific origins, and to her own. It is to each other and to the ocean that they most frequently return: magnetic and otherworldly, a comfort and a threat.
J. M. Ledgard was born in the Shetland Islands. He has been a correspondent for The Economist since 1995, specializing in foreign political and war reporting. He currently works in Africa, traveling widely in the continent.
©2011 J.M. Ledgard (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
Vividly written, with thoughtful, perfectly timed narration from Julian Elfer, "Submergence" will stick with me for a long time.
The theme here is depth. Whether it's inward and personal, or literal oceanic depths, the characters are in a constant reckoning; the firsthand experience of global terrorism, love, marine biology, the past and the now.
We first meet James in a windowless room in Somalia, keeping as far from his cardboard covered latrine as he can. His claustrophobic space forces him deeper into his thoughts and memories and his quest to keep a grasp on both dignity and reason.
His great love is Danny, a multi-national Biomathematician. Confident and alone, she's singled out by her background and her intelligence.
Their memories of their fateful meeting in a French hotel keep the book buoyant and is truly thrilling to listen to.
J. M. Ledgard sets the scenes craftily. He conveys the sights and social nuance of place with historical accuracy to build philosophical questions brought up by the intricacies of global life.
There were so many jewels, pithy insights along the way there was no way to fully absorb them in one listen
The constant circling back to a previous or subsequent moment of a scene that deepened another reality
There were far to many to single out one
Light in the heart of darkness
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