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Diving into Darkness: A True Story of Death and Survival

Phillip Finch, Author . St. Martin’s $25.95 (310p) ISBN 978-0-312-38394-7

In this gripping account, Finch (F2F ) narrates a disastrous attempt to recover a body nearly 900 feet underwater in a South African crater named Bushman’s Hole. David Shaw, an Australian pilot for Cathay Pacific, became obsessed with diving in his early 40s and quickly became a world-class deep diver. In South Africa, Shaw trained with renowned diving instructor Don Shirley, and the two men grew close. Shirley was a proponent of diving “rebreathers,” sophisticated pieces of equipment that allow divers to reach greater depths while using less equipment. In 2004, Shaw dove to the bottom of Bushman’s Hole, where he discovered the corpse of a diver that had lain there for a decade. Together, Shaw and Shirley decided to try to raise the body. Finch seamlessly weaves together the various strands of his story, from the character biographies to the dangers and arcane technologies of deep diving. An experienced cave diver himself, Finch brings the reader into a strange and hermetic underworld that few have ever experienced firsthand. In deep diving, he demonstrates, even the smallest breakdown in judgment or equipment will bring catastrophe. Although the outcome is never in doubt, Finch manages to build suspense to fevered intensity. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/07/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
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Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-312-56742-2
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