This novel is set in World War II, both in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—a lot of deep water! It focuses on the patrols of one American submarine, and especially its captain, Christopher McCord. He was reared in a conservative Christian home with a minister father and a brother who was a conscientious objector. Chris chose the path of a patriotic warrior in the “silent service” in the middle of the greatest conflict in human history. This choice brought conflict among family members, the constant threat of instant death, and the temptation to abandon religious faith commitments.
While bringing back to life the agony of a world at war, with vivid battle scenes and millions of desperate men and women, the primary intent is to follow the complex faith journey of the captain of the Barracuda—before, during, and after the war. He left home rebelling from the restrictions and hypocrisy of many religious people, only to encounter in the most tragic of circumstances the perennial questions of life that can affirm or destroy one’s religious faith. He had to choose.
The themes of this novel are so timely—war, peace, the search for meaningful community, personal integrity, the meaning of “family,” and religious faith under stress. The setting of the 1940s was chosen partly to avoid making a particular political statement on the current scene. Even so, current relevance is seen easily. The recent presidential election in the United States, the debate over samesex marriage, racial injustice, and growing religious pluralism highlight dramatically the contemporary mixing of patriotism, the waging of “just” wars, the hunger for peace, confusion over what is right, the need for and maybe the dangers of tolerance, and the struggle to maintain a traditional Christian faith.
This is not the most comfortable of journeys. Sometimes questions get raised faster than answers can be found. Deep water is a mysterious, marvelous, and deadly place. It is the stuff of real life. Uncomfortable or not, you are invited to come along. It’s a trip worth the ticket!