12.23.2006

HH Com 373

When a submarine sinks during its shakedown cruise, those aboard must face their own mortality. Seaman Noah Andrews isn’t ready to die. At age 26, he thought he’d have decades to achieve his dream of artistic success.

Trapped in the aft compartment, Noah and the other passengers huddle together in the dark and cold. While the brass work to raise the vessel, they spin stories to while away the time.

As in the Canterbury Tales, these modern voyagers reveal more about themselves with their tales than they realize. Each story plays off the one before, leads up to the one that follows, and reveals the inner workings of each soul facing its own demise.

Ashore, Commander Wolfson faces his own death. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he realizes his life is in shambles. Health gone, marriage a facade, and career now tarnished by the sinking of the USS Manhattan.

Commander Wolfson fights to raise the sub and learn why she sank. The incident was blamed on a faulty seal, but new evidence points towards sabotage.

Aboard the sub, Noah listens intently to the stories of each of his fellow travelers. He uncovers evidence that one sailor might be the enemy within. A suicide bomber, using a nuclear submarine as his delivery vessel.

Separated by three hundred vertical feet of ocean, Commander Wolfson and Noah must each do his part to rescue the ship.


I'm fascinated by submarine rescue stuff. Sometime back I recall a Russian sub went down and there were thought to be survivors. They got a rescue vessel down to the sub, but couldn't get the door open. As anyone familiar with underwater stuff knows, those guys IN the sub (if they were alive) could hear the proximity of the rescue team, all the while their oxygen is running out. Talk about agony.

I'd read this for that reason alone, but this isn't a bad hook as these things go. The conflict of course is that time is running out for these guys to survive.

20 comments:

cm allison said...

And another one for my hubby. Quote "Sounds interesting!"
Bulls-eye, author, hope I can pick it up for him soon

Monotreme said...

I love this hook.

I agree with Miss Snark, I'm a sucker for submarine rescue stuff. I'm fascinated by the interpersonal dynamics of a submarine (all those personalities in a limited space) and how the carefully balanced dynamics change under severe stress.

It sounds like you have all that.

Let us know when this one come out. Sounds like a great read.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Snark, if you're fascinated by submarine rescue and can stop re-watching George Clooney movies over and over for a couple of hours, you must see a British film called "Morning Departure." It was made in 1950 and released just after a real submarine disaster, very much like the one in the film, occurred in England. It's not so well known here in the US and may be hard to find, but it's worth it.

Bernita said...

Please call them crew.
"Passengers" strikes a wrong note for me.

Angus Weeks said...

One of the things done really well in this hook is while it's clear there's a cast of characters, only two are focussed on in the hook. This makes the narrative thread come through much clearer.

The only thing I'd suggest is to keep the nomenclature the same: i.e. "Commander Wolfson" and "Andrews"; or "Noah" and "first name of commander" - while their naval ranks may be different, it is clear your story gives their narrative similar importance.

Bill Peschel said...

Agreed. Stephen King could have a field day with all the stories the sailors would tell. Not to mention the desperately creepy feeling of being underwater, thousands of feet down, the sub cantered at an odd angle, hissings and poppings as the hull resists the pressure. Grand stuff.

Chumplet said...

I absolutely love submarine stories, which is odd considering I'm a bit claustrophobic.

This one sounds riveting, haunting and sad. I'd read it.

A Paperback Writer said...

I really like the plot idea, but having your protagonist named Noah when he's trapped in a sub just screams out "lame" to me. However, that may be just me. I would no doubt roll my eyes and put the book down, in spite of the adventure plot, therefore missing some great action because the name was too corny.
Again, it's probably just me, but it's the first thing that came to my mind.

shelby said...

This sounds awesome. I would absolutely read it. I've been long-fascinated with the U-505 in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and am a fan of Das Boot (in German, too!). Which is to say that submarines interest me--particularly modern ones I know little about. Good job with this!

Sheena said...

This could become a gripping tale, but if I were the book's editor, I would be concerned by the author's weakness in nautical terminology. Has the author ever been aboard a submarine? I have. For example: "...Noah and the other passengers huddle..." This isn't the Love Boat; instead of "passengers" try "crewmen".

"The incident was blamed on a faulty seal." This is unworthy. the author should know that seals and even dolphins are trained by the navy to perform dangerous tasks. Why blame dumb animals who volunteer for hazardous duty (and receive no hazard pay) instead of its own inspectors?"

And there's more, so much more, but I fault myself for being verbose, so will refrain for now. Good luck with nautical research and revisions.

Virginia Miss said...

This is one that doesn't appeal to me, but I can see where it could be gripping.

I didn't like the reference to the Canterbury Tales, though. I don't think that sentence helps. The hook would be tighter if you cut that sentence. Instead, expand the description of the stories being spun by those trapped inside. That gets us to Wolfson sooner.

December Quinn said...

That was the Kirsk, Miss S. A terrible tragedy--the US and several other countries begged Russia to let us/them help (we were closer to the sub) but were refused, and as a result many men died.

I'd love a creepy submarine book!

McKoala said...

I like the sound of this. I agree with Bernita on 'crew', though, 'passengers' sounds like it was a pleasure submarine cruise.

Anonymous said...

I can never get enough submarine stories, I'd definitely read this.

Anonymous said...

Authors, pay attention. Put a ticking clock on any situation and you have instant suspense... well almost any - grass growing, paint drying, nervous thearpy and Fuzzy Dew cleaning his fingernails with a buck-knife, needn't apply.

Haste yee back ;-)

(Fuzz = fictionalized huntin/fishin pard)

Ski said...

I liked this too. The differenc is I didn't know if the author was gonna get whacked or hear a round of applause. In spite of all this I wish the author Good Luck. I really like the idea of little stories from those facing their own mortality spun through the bigger story of why the sub sank. This could reall be a good/clever book.

Rgds...........Ski

Anonymous said...

""The incident was blamed on a faulty seal." This is unworthy. the author should know that seals and even dolphins are trained by the navy to perform dangerous tasks. Why blame dumb animals...?"

You're joking with this, right? Please tell me it was supposed to be funny.

Anonymous said...

Sheena, I don't think you got quite the right meaning from "faulty seal." If you were joking, though, it did make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Of course the "seal" commenter was joking; after all, *she* has actually been on a submarine. Someone like that would never bash someone's lack of research unless they were an authority on these things.

Hehe.

tomdg said...

Sounds like a classic Alistair MacLean - limited cast of characters trapped together, one of them the villain. Only with a literary twist. Very interesting if you can make it work.

I saw "Morning Departure" two or three years ago. There was a comment in the end credits that the film didn't take into account "modern developments in submarine rescue" or something like that (modern = 1950s given the context). Still, the Kursk tragedy (which Miss S mentions) shows that whatever "modern developments" there were in the 1950s probably don't invalidate your plot. Personally I was annoyed by the film, but only because they showed it mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve when any right-minded person knows they should really have been showing "It's a Wonderful Life" - something to do with the Iraq war, I suspect.