The Brilliant Abyss

Come with me on a journey into the deep.

New York Times top summer read, The Brilliant Abyss explores the majesty and mystery of the deep ocean.

It is published in the US and Canada by Grove Atlantic and in the UK, with Bloomsbury.

The deep ocean is the single biggest habitable space on the planet. It’s home to fantastic creatures — from furry, dancing crabs to glowing worms swimming elegant pirouettes — that have all evolved unique ways to survive in extreme conditions of super-high pressure, little food or company, and permanent darkness.

Revealing the hidden secrets of the deep is illuminating not only more about life on earth, but hints at the potential for life on other planets.

The deep has a huge effect on our daily lives. It captures vast quantities of carbon keeping it away from the atmosphere; novel chemicals hold the promise of new medicines.

Yet the deep also holds huge mineral riches lusted after by many nations and corporations; mining the deep seabed could ultimately devastate the planet, compounded by the deepening impacts of ubiquitous pollutants and rampant overfishing.

I’ve had conversations about the deep ocean with various excellent people including:

Andrew Marr on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week.

Sue Perkins on BBC Radio 4’s Nature Table.

Neil Denney on Little Atoms.

Luke Robert Mason on Futures podcast.

Here are a few reviews:

Book of the Day Observer

Starred Kirkus review

Best Book Summer Reads 2021 Publishers Weekly

Geographical Magazine’s pick of books May 2021

The Week

5* review in The Telegraph

New Scientist

If you’d like to order a copy in the UK do please consider ordering from my book shop at I am donating all proceeds from sales via Bookshop to the ocean conservation charity Sea Changers.

You could also buy direct from Bloomsbury and get a 20% discount with the code OCEAN20.

The Brilliant Abyss artwork (UK cover and endpaper map and depth profile) is my third collaboration with California-based artist Aaron John Gregory. He also created the covers and interior illustrations for Spirals in Time and Eye of the Shoal, and I continue to be humbled, fascinated and honoured to work with him.

The Brilliant Abyss will be translated into Japanese, Russian, Polish and Korean. To enquire about other translation rights please contact my agent Margaret Sutherland Brown at Folio Literary Management.