Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Turning the final page and closing the back cover of The Savage Deeps by Timothy S. Johnston is like walking out of a dark movie theater. Your mind is still reeling so hard from the other world of the movie, you’ve forgotten it’s just another day in the real world. You suddenly realize that what has held you enthralled, both emotionally and mentally, for the past few hours was fantasy and special effects. But yet it felt so real! Johnston’s previous novel, The War Beneath, hit me the same way. For days then, and now again after reading this sequel, I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like for people to set up underwater cities once earth, as we know it now, is no longer habitable thanks to global warming. Reading The Savage Deeps is like watching a movie. The visual imagery of folks living and working in enclosed domes beneath the oceans, of zipping through the deep waters to visit other colonies using high-tech, high-speed subs is mesmerizing.
But while this visual fantasy, so well-depicted by Johnston, fires our imaginations, it’s the challenges such a civilization would face, along with the intricate plotting, the intrigue, and the characters themselves that keep us turning the pages. Truman McClusky, the protagonist in the earlier book, is still hell-bent on acquiring independence from the US for his beloved underwater city, Trieste. He is joined by several of the characters we met in The War Beneath, along with some new ones. Technological advances in those high-powered subs have made it possible for McClusky to try again, but both the US and France are out to finish him off for various reasons. In no time, the savage deeps explode with war. Torpedos, mines, imploded subs, and bodies litter the ocean floor. With spies and traitors everywhere, will McClusky survive? Will Trieste realize independence? Twists, turns and the unexpected carry the exciting plot to its conclusion. You close the book and re-enter your own real world, feeling anything but certain that what you just read could never really happen.
You don’t need to have read the first book in this series to understand what takes place in The Savage Deeps. Timothy S. Johnston cleverly catches us up on what happened there throughout the story. Johnston is an author skilled in bringing life to his characters through dialogue, engaging readers’ emotions by their behaviors and thinking, and creating brilliant settings, all of which play out like scenes in a movie. Thinking of that, dare I suggest these two books are just ripe for becoming the next blockbuster movie? Food for thought!