Sunday, April 30, 2006

Book Review: Shadow Divers

Amateur wreck-divers risk it all to solve a WWII mystery

Shadow DiversHaving received a tip from some local fishermen, deep-wreck diving operator Bill Nagle leads a rag-tag, amateur crew to a location off the coast of New Jersey. They expect the typical salvage operation - perhaps a boat that went down a few hundred years ago carrying something of value: collectibles or, better yet, treasure.

Instead, this bunch of would-be explorers is utterly stunned when they discover what's located just beyond the limit of their diving ability: it's a Nazi U-Boat from World War II. Because all U-Boats were accounted for after the war, the nature of the sub is utterly mysterious. Which U-Boat was it? And what could have been its mission, operating this close to the US coast?

Amateur deep-sea divers John Chatterton and one-time rival Rich Kohler partner to solve a mystery of extraordinary proportions. Experts tell them the sub doesn't exist. And without any identifying material, no one will believe the discovery is legitimate. Because of the age of the wreck, virtually all identifying marks have been wiped clean. Complicating matters further is the sub's depth. At 230 feet, it is at the absolute limit of even the most experienced diver.

As Chatterton and Kohler pursue the true nature of the wreck, danger colors every aspect of their work. Multiple team members will die over the years they spend seeking the sub's origin. And only the most hair-raising operation imaginable will allow the key questions to be answered. Circumnavigating the globe to discover the truth, Chatterton and Kohler's quest resonates with deep respect for the wreck and the sailors who served on the sub.

Simply put, adventure stories don't get any better than this. Better yet, this tale is true... and breath-taking in its intensity.

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