Blind Waves, by Steven Gould (Tor, 2001)

The future lies underwater. After the Deluge, a global flooding caused by the melting of ice caps, humanity lives on what little surface remains above water, or on any of the newly-erected floating cities, such as New Galveston. The second largest division of the American armed forces is the Immigration and Naturalization Service. There’s a thriving business in salvage and deep-water exploration, siphoning gas and fuel from the gas stations and pumps of the drowned coastal cities.

Patricia Beenan is an important woman in New Galveston, owning an entire “hex” of the city and the buildings that stand upon it, sitting on the city council, and operating her family’s salvage business. She’s got some good people working for her, and a peaceful life. That is, until a routine job turns up a horrifying discovery: a sunken freighter with dozens of bodies locked in the hold, and clear evidence that links its sinking to an INS ship.

The culprits must have guilty consciences, for immediately, Patricia is forced on the run, undergoing a nerve-wracking journey back to the not-so-safe harbors of New Galveston. There, to save herself, she’s
forced to investigate the mystery of the sunken ship and its doomed cargo. Her erstwhile partner in this investigation, Commander Thomas Becket of the INS, who has his own scarred past to cope with, is the only
one she can trust as the layers of this conspiracy are peeled back, one by one. At stake are thousands of lives, and the fragile peace of the seas.

Part thriller, part romance, part mystery, and all science fiction in the forward-looking style of the genre, *Blind Waves* is Steven Gould’s best work to date. Inspired equally by Shakespeare and Dorothy L. Sayers, it’s a masterful example of blending genres that starts off strong and never lets up on the intensity until the very end. With memorable characters and strong characterization, it’s definitely  a book worth picking up.

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