After the death of their mother, Aster and her little sister, Poppy, leave England to go and live with their Aunt Iona in New Zealand. On the plane, they meet Sam, a native New Zealander... Due to her work, they find themselves living in an eco-village with a group of teenagers, cut off from the rest of the world with no technology. The girls soon realise that strange things are happening and life in the camp is not as idyllic as it first appeared.
Then Aster wakes up on a tropical island, alone, with no idea of how she came to be there or where her sister is. The more she searches for Poppy, the more mysteries she encounters and the more secrets she uncovers.
This is a richly written, compelling story which offers something very different. A mixture of science, thriller and mystery with hints of sea-lore, it is told from the alternating viewpoints of Aster and Sam. Relationships in the story are very well developed- Sam and his grandfather, Aster and Poppy- and that between the girls and their mother. The pain of loss and grief, the helplessness of watching loved ones suffering from illness and the lengths we might go to to help them are also explored.
The beauties and wonders of the deep are sensitively and carefully described, resulting in evocative, atmospheric passages. Descriptions of the nest of the puffer fish, the delicate sea horses, the beautiful, but deadly jelly fish bring the underwater scenes vividly to life, developing the tropical paradise setting which contrasts so strongly with the danger lurking in the background.
Gripping from the first page, 'The Secret Deep' is an original, thought-provoking read which is beautifully written. A must read!
The Secret Deep Lindsay Galvin
Chicken House ISBN: 978-1911490029