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The Sea on Fire

The Sea on Fire [Kindle Edition]

Howard Cunnell
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


‘Cunnell maps new noir territory in an incandescent underwater world’ Guardian

‘Veers between hard man diving spirituality and slap you down vulgarity in a heartbeat. . . . Pack it for your next trip.’ Diver

‘I loved this book – an iridescent undersea world brought to life by some of the most bewitching prose I’ve come across in a long time.’ Kevin Sampson

Product Description

When they were young men, Kim and his best friend, the charismatic waterman Garland Rain, travelled all year round, working as dive guides. Now Kim is married and a father, but when Garland asks for his help on a three-week trip to the spectacular reefs of the southern Red Sea, it sounds like the perfect job. It’s a chance for Kim to provide for his wife, Araba, and their three daughters, while doing what he loves most. The two divers soon find out that their dive boat, the Shang-Tu, is owned by Teddy King, a gargantuan and threatening figure who lives a life of drugs and violence. While Garland seeks to contain Teddy’s worst excesses, and tries to ensure that the guests are diving safely, Kim finds himself increasingly drawn to the dark side of the boat’s temptations. As the partying continues, and threatens to consume Kim and overwhelm Garland, one of the other divers is lost at sea in what seems to be an accident. Back on dry land, Kim finds that the decisions you make in the moment can come back to haunt you, even follow you home. Brilliantly suspenseful, The Sea on Fire is a story about a man torn between responsibilities to his family and the freedom of the open water.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 934 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (15 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006Z9SOYE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #322,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Smiles on their faces and sun in their hair" 5 Mar 2012
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As pointed out by the first reviewer - Howard Cunnell has done well in following advice - to write about what you know. He's a former professional scuba diving instructor; so we set sail in sparkling sunshine, from Hurghada, on the live-aboard boat `Shang-Tu', in very mixed company indeed. Arch villain Teddy is the owner, twisty as an eel; he's set up this trip to publicise his new diving business, accompanied by three henchmen with history, their names each ending with a y - Casey, Rowdy and Bobby.

Dive guides for the duration are Garland Rain (silly name that steals from his undoubted gravitas) and our main `mate', `Waterman' and Kipling-esque Kim, who is definitely dicey, damaged, and because his eye is off the ball from time to time, decidedly dangerous. So the group includes some OK good guys and some evil manipulators. A journalist, who is always writing (a cameo appearance of the author perhaps?), a photographer, two clients, together with a decent couple, Tony and Susan who are willing to learn, slightly nervous, with all the gear (and some idea). There's even a very lovely girl diver, Jody, who's a delight and a mystery. A partly `Lord of the Flies' cast, some of whom are fuelled by cocaine, wreathed in hashish smoke, happily swilling cold beer and unpacking cigarettes at the end of every dive. Such partying is certainly an aberation and abuse. Not the usual way of behaving, hopefully.

Kim has a lot on his mind. On the trip ostensibly to make some extra money for his family, he is the poet of the party with an overwhelming and abiding love for being in the sea, for `flying underwater'. He knows all the marine creatures' names, their habits and generously teaches us the how and why of scuba diving. He really does convey why it is so wonderful. That is his gift.
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2.0 out of 5 stars bit of a damp squid 6 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was raised on the Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler so this book peaked my interest.

At the start of the story our lead character (I can't call him a hero) Kim abandons his wife and 3 daughters to go diving and adventuring with life long pal, Garland Rain. It, seemingly, wasn't a difficult decision for him as family life has obviously become a bore. During their diving expedition they run into some bad people and things go wrong. So what should Kim (and to a lesser extent Garland) do next?

So why such a low rating, I hear you ask.

The main problem is the story gets lost in all the technical diving detail - overly describing the equipment, the safety procedures, tools, etc, so much so that sometimes it feels like a divers safety manual is being quoted at me. Then there is the detailed description of narcotic vices and the way to use them. I'm not a prude; I just didn't need all that detail.

At times all the various details seemed to be the author saying "look at what I know, aren't I clever?" The answer is no you're not. The incessant description of the infinitesimal detailing of virtually everything sucked the life out of the story. It smothered it.

The other main problem lies with the characters. None of them were, for me, even remotely likeable - for example, the lead, Kim, was selfish, vacuous and generally unpleasant.

From reading the bumf about the book I had been lead to expect a "suspenseful psychological drama" - I got to the last page and I still hadn't found it. Neither was there the promised "gripping literary thriller".

When I finished the book I was left incredibly disappointed, and sadly I can say that I wouldn't bother with another book by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow 27 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The subject of `The Sea On Fire' may be diving but the book is shallow. Its plot is flimsy and implausible with illogical behaviour by stereotyped characters who largely appear as thoroughly objectionable. It is narrated in the first person with lots of turgid dialogue by the main protagonist Kim (diver) who is irresponsible at best but may more accurately be described as a hooligan or even hoodlum. Garland (his buddy) is more attractive with an obsession for safeguarding sea life, coral reefs etc. yet is also capable of extreme actions. Other characters manage to exhibit a whole range of offensive features from mere foul language and bullying through drink, drugs and sex to include racism and snuff movies!

After an enlightening and uplifting portrayal of Kim's family life author Howard Cunnell divides his book into 3 main parts and the story degenerates. There is some merit in the first section via elegantly environmental and conservation messages plus scientific insights to the effects of diving on the mind as well the body, but Kim impulsively leaves family behind. The second part includes detailed technical information on diving operations and equipment and there are some delightful evocative descriptions of underwater scenarios and sequences, but these are outweighed by coarseness and injudicious conduct. The final part is short and shocking, and leaves readers wondering - the final sentence is a question to Kim from his daughter - "what have you been thinking about all this time?"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars sea on fire
didn't really like this book, it's obvious that the author knows his subject of diving, but not sure if the premise of write about what you know is appropriate to this... Read more
Published 23 days ago by E. Dale
3.0 out of 5 stars A good premise for a novel
A good premise for a novel. The conflict between the beauty and awe inspiring freedom of the seas, and the responsibilities of family, all wrapped around a thriller. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alison Towers
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, suspenseful scuba diving thriller
This novel tells the story of Kim, a professional scuba diver and married father of three who yearns for the freedom of diving in exotic foreign climes. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. Thornton
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sea on Fire
A rich man has decided to take his yacht and a number of guests to the Red sea where wonderful reefs could be found for scuba divers. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Stella White
3.0 out of 5 stars The past comes back to haunt you! -Hauting Book but long-winded
- almost a 4*!! ...Told by Kim - the book's narrator, this could have been a very thrilling book. While not wanting to denigrate Howard Cunnell, perhaps using narration was not the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by rhosymynydd
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Many years previously Kim and his best friend, Garland Rain traveled the world. They worked as dive guides, living free and easy by the sea. Read more
Published 10 months ago by xenofan
2.0 out of 5 stars wanted to like it, didn't
The idea is so promising, but it's just let down by a lack of focus. The writing isn't bad, the descriptions are beautiful and will almost certainly inspire you to take up diving. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Catriona Reid
4.0 out of 5 stars an underwater romp
for those who have even snorkeled in open water, it opens up a new world above and below the waves.
a gripping read through love in suburbia, the Red Sea and back again.
Published 18 months ago by S. O. Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Kim is an accomplished professional diver, but this means him going off across the world for weeks or months at a time, and an insecure income. Read more
Published 20 months ago by T. Walker
2.0 out of 5 stars That sinking feeling.....
I'm not really sure why I chose this book. The cover was a little off-putting: the intense-looking handsome young man with a veil of palm trees superimposed over the image,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. K. Cross
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