The Vanishing Deep

Astrid Scholte

The Vanishing Deep
Allen & Unwin
3 March 2020

The Vanishing Deep

Astrid Scholte

Two sisters. One dangerous secret. Twenty-four hours to uncover the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Tempest was born into a world of water. The most skilled diver on the Equinox Reef, she searches drowned cities with her older sister Elysea, seeking out old world treasures to trade for Notes. After Elysea mysteriously drowns, Tempest scavenges the ruins alone, driven to collect enough Notes to buy her sister’s life for 24 hours, and to finally learn the secret she had kept until her last breath.

However, once revived, Elysea convinces Tempest to break her out of the Palindromena research facility and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death.

But they’re pursued by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up, and to prevent them from uncovering the secrets behind the revival process and the true cost of restored lives.

 Dead or living, everyone must pay the price.


The second novel from Melbourne author Astrid Scholte is a thrilling fantasy murder mystery that is impossible to put down. The setting is a post-climate change world which has completely flooded, leaving only a few islands remaining. Many millions died and the survivors primarily live on giant floating rafts. Many earn a living by diving off the reefs looking for sunken treasures from the old world.

Alternating chapters are written from the perspective of Tempest, who lost her parents and then her sister to drowning, and Lor, who has been in hiding for two years after causing the death of a friend. They meet at Palindromena, a high-end scientific facility that allows rich patrons to revive the dead for 24 hours to say their last goodbyes. When Tempest revives her dead sister to find out what really happened to their parents it sets off a thrilling, challenging adventure that changes everyone’s life forever and reveals some stark truths about Palindromena.

This is an intoxicating thriller set in an unusual world that raises interesting ideas about loyalty, family and fate. There is also fun, feisty banter between the two main characters that hints at romance. Highly recommended for all readers of young adult novels aged 12+.

Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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