Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Book: 'Underwater Adventure' (Adventure) (1954) by Willard Price

Go, go, Hal and Roger! In this third instalment of the classic 'Adventure' series by Willard Price, we continue the maritime voyage begun in 'South Sea Adventure', but this time with a profound submarine component. However, we do still have a finkish villain in the form of SK 'Skink' Inkham, a pretender to the leadership of the mission. There is a lot to learn in these adventure novels, despite their antiquity and focus on being juvenile fiction, and a lot to really be surprised by.

First of all, this time we gets lot of gadgets. There are snorkels, aqualungs, sea sleds, diving bells and just a little bit more. Secondly, we have octopi, sharks, sunken treasure, submarine raiders, and treachery most vile. When I say 'vile', I really mean it, as the boys' mentor this time meets a very cruel death at the hands of a ruthless villain. Inkham is definitely one of the nastier antagonists in the run, and one who rather improbably got away with trying to murder a teacher at school with a deadly snake. Hal's similar experience is very tense here.

Not only do we have a lot of underwater adventures in this instalment, but we also have sunken treasure. Hurrah! Nothing is better than a sunken Spanish galleon, although on this occasion it is trumped by a typhoon. What, you were already happy with sunken treasure? Ha! The wall of water puts all that to shame! Spoilers? Ha!

It's lovely stuff. The resolution with the antagonists seems a bit predictable and glued on, but that's a minor defect. Roll on, book four, even if it does bring the potential problem that is the fifth book one step closer...


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