A hostage and a deep-sea scientist recall their romance in this “strange, intelligent, gorgeously written” novel about love, oceans, lust, and terror (New York Magazine). In a room with no windows on the coast of Africa, an Englishman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Posing as a water expert to report on al-Qaeda activity in the area, he now faces extreme privation, mock executions, and forced marches through the arid badlands of Somalia. Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician, prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. She is obsessed with life at the lowest strata of water. In this “masterly evocation of the intricacy of life,” James and Danny are separately drawn back to the previous Christmas, to a French hotel on the Atlantic coast, where a chance encounter on the beach led to an intense and enduring romance (Teju Cole). For James, his mind escapes to utopias both imagined and remembered. Danny, meanwhile, is drawn back to beginnings: to mythical and scientific origins, and to her own. It is to each other and to the ocean that they most frequently return: magnetic and otherworldly, a comfort and a threat.