Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hunters of the Dark Sea

Mel Odom weaves an intricate tale in his historical horror and sci-fi adventure in Hunters of the Dark Sea. The main story opens in 1813. The young United States is at war with Great Britain and the high seas are crawling with British war-ships, privateers, cutthroat pirates and a visitor from not of this world.

Twenty-six year old Ethan Swain is first mate of the whaling ship Reliant. He and the crew have been at sea for two years and the ships holds are half full with the precious cargo of whale oil. Ethan has a dark past he must hide in order to keep his life intact. Keeping his past a secrete and being torn between the ships captain and the crew which is on the verge of a mutiny is only a small part of the turmoil he must juggle.

On board the research ship Brown-Eyed Sue is Professor Bullock and his intelligent and artistic daughter Katherine. They have been dispatched by the President of the United Sates to investigate reports of a sea monster named Death-in-the-water by the natives of Easter Island. Bullock soon learns the beginning of the reports coincide with a falling star hitting the water 16 years back. While anchored off the coast of Easter Island a dying man washes ashore with his painful and swollen skin practically blistering off the bone. A futile attempt by Bullock at saving the mans life renders an unknown venom the monster uses to kill its prey.

Vengeful Jonah McAfee, part of Ethan Swain’s dark past, is captain of the pirate ship Sunfisher. McAfee in pursuit of Ethan for revenge, catches wind of the monster and focuses his efforts on finding the monster.
Hunters of the Dark Sea ends with Ethan battling McAfee, a British war ship, and the monster in a dynamite finish.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Odom brings the characters to life in a way comparable to King. I also enjoyed the life-like setting of the high seas and the day-to-day life in my opinion was probably close to the real thing for the whalers of that time period. It’s quite obvious Mel Odom did his research for this book.