While mapping the ancient (now underwater) city of Marinth in the Mediterranean Sea, submersible designer Hannah Bryson discovers the shocking cause of the civilization's doom from a submerged fresco in the city center--the surrounding waters for hundreds of miles were afflicted with what we now call an Oxygen Minimum Zone or a "Shadow Zone", a condition in which oxygen has been leached from the waters, devastating plant and marine life. For an island dependent on such life for their survival, this caused a famine that many did not survive. In Marinth's case, it was caused by a rare algae. Hannah recovers samples of this algae and hands them off to a sister research vessel to take back to land for further analysis, but the samples never reach the lab. The truck en route to the vessel is brutally attacked. Not coincidentally, Kirov finally appears after disappearing for many months and Hannah suspects that the intrigue surrounding her discovery is what brought him back. Soon it becomes clear that someone has nefarious plans to build a master weapon out of this algae and in their desperate race to stop him, Hannah finds herself catapulted into an adventure in which she finds herself even doubting the intentions of her fiercest protector, Kirov.
Copernicus Research Vessel
"HEY, I DIDN'T SEE YOU IN the galley for breakfast, Hannah," Josh Carnaby said as he strolled down the deck toward her. "You okay?"
She shook her head. "It's my nephew Ronnie's twelfth birthday." Her expression became shadowed. "It's the first one since my brother's death. I want to touch base with him. It's going to be tough on Ronnie. It's going to be tough on all of them."
"Bullshit," she said unevenly. "If you weren't terrific at your job, I wouldn't have chosen you. We make a good team." She drew a deep breath. "Now get out of here and let me make my telephone call. We're supposed to dive in thirty minutes, and I won't go down until I've talked to Ronnie."
He grinned. "I'm on my way." He moved down the deck. "I'll even keep Ebersole away from you. He was asking for you at breakfast."
"Consider it done."
She dialed Cathy's number again. It rang six times, but Cathy finally picked up.
"Hi, I've been trying to get through to you. Everything okay?"
"She's only five."
"He's a great kid."
"You bet he is. The best."
"How are you doing, Cathy?"
"You're my family. It goes with the territory."
"Conner would have liked this sub. I can hear him laughing because it's so crazy-looking."
"I'm selfish. I did it for me."