Originally released in three parts, you can now buy Holdfast in a single volume.
Humanity has been forced beneath the waves and now lives in undersea colonies. Built in a hurry, Ulva sits atop a crumpled mess of old ships that form its foundations. Hunting the dark corners for treasure, Calder and his partner, Trice, are hoping to strike it rich.
That all changes when they stumble across a gang of slavers and rescue one of the captives. Their heroics bring anything but good fortune though, and the consequences will shake them both.
Racing to save someone dear to them, the pair plunge into a murky world where the secrets and the odds seem to get bigger with every step. Can they rise to the challenge or are they doomed to fail?
I’m a little bit loath to confess that this story had its origins in a lyric from Busted’s track Year 3000.
”…I’ve been to the year three-thousand, not much has changed but they live underwater…”
To be fair, that just got me thinking about living underwater and some vague memory of a Jaws movie popped into my head. After some research I was a little surprised to find how few stories take place in an underwater habitat (there’s plenty set on subs, few on static installations).
Then I took a look at what underwater structures have been built over the years, and there’s not many, with most being tiny tin cans. Sure, there’s been talk of underwater hotels, but few have made it beyond fancy visualisations. None of the proposals are set at significant depth or can house a lot of people. There’s a simple reason for this: cost.
A few very expensive hotels, the odd restaurant, a marine park attraction or two and accommodation for divers are probably the limits of underwater structures at present, and we’re unlikely to see anything of any scale. That meant I had to find a reason for being underwater, something to force us down there.
The reasons are hinted at in the story and my justifications are scientifically a little dubious, but they were good enough for me.
The story definitely takes some inspiration from Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series (which also features an underwater city) and the way the habitats are separated by wide ungoverned expanses rather than being part of countries.