Undersea Quest

by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson
Series: Undersea Trilogy 1
Reviewed date: 2007 Mar 28
Rating: 2
160 pages
cover art
cover art

There is nothing notable or remarkable about this juvenile novel from Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson. The plot is straightforward and transparent: everyone is just as they seem; the villains are villains through and through. The heros are selfless boy scout types. It's good fodder for kids, but not particularly engaging for adults.

James Eden, orphaned after his father died establishing the underwater city of Marinia, is appointed to the Sub Sea Academy, to prepare for service in the Sub Sea Fleet. His appointment comes at the request of his uncle Stewart, the inventor of Edenite, the fantastic material that makes underwater cities possible.

James's troubles at the Academy start right away: his executive is Brand Sperry, son of Hallam Sperry--enemy number one of the Eden family. Brand Sperry harrasses James at every opportunity, disciplining him for every mistake, making minor infractions into major ones. Eventually Sperry arranges to have James court-martialed. To save the honor of his best friend Bob Eskow, James is forced to resign in disgrace rather than face the false charges.

After his resignation, James is dealt a second blow: his uncle Stewart is lost at sea and presumed dead. James heads to Marinia to dispose of his uncle's estate. His uncle had little to his name except an 80% share in some worthless mining rights: the area is too deep to be mined. Strange, then, that somebody is so eager to buy those rights from James.

The mysterious would-be buyer is quickly revealed to be Hallam Sperry himself. When James refuses to sell his uncle's shares, he finds himself the target of several assassination attempts. James manages to escape by his sharp wit, some luck, and some help from Gideon--an old friend of Stewart Eden.

Pursued by Hallam Sperry--who has given up all pretense of acting within the law, and is bent on killing James by the quickest means possible--James and Gideon steal an experimental deep-sea sub and try to locate Stewart Eden. They find him in a disabled sub, stuck on the bottom of the sea. They rescue him and manage to defeat Hallam Sperry.

With the evil Sperry family out of the way, Stewart Eden pulls some strings and gets James readmitted to the Sub Sea Academy.

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