Dark Descent

  • by Kevin F. McMurray
  • Narrated by Michael Prichard
  • 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On May 29, 1914, the passenger liner Empress of Ireland was struck by the freighter Storstad and sank in 15 minutes, taking more than 1,000 victims with her. It remains one of the largest losses of life ever in a maritime accident.At more than a 100 feet deep in the frigid Gulf of St. Lawrence, diving the Empress is like trying to navigate an unfamiliar 60-story building lying on its side at a 45-degree angle, in pitch blackness with only a flashlight. In Dark Descent, Kevin McMurray takes us deep into the bowels of the lost ship, first to relive her tragic death and then to join the divers who have probed the wreck's secrets. It's an adventure from which some divers don't return.

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What the Critics Say

"The book is impressively researched...and, for those who love the lure of the deep water and the mysteries of shipwrecks, this specialized history will be a pleasure." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Poor Descent

This story of the Empress of Ireland is captivating for content, but poorly presented here. The narrator, reading this like headline news, makes this almost impossible to listen to. The story of the wreck is very interesting, but the writer seemed unable to tell the story without exaggeration or hyperbole.

As a diver, I understand the dangers in technical diving and the lure of dangerous wrecks. Wreck divers are highly trained and dedicated to safety. The story of many of these divers is just the opposite. Poorly trained, ignoring basic safety rules, there is a reason many of these die or get hurt in exploring the Empress. The Empress of Ireland has caused numerous deaths both in the sinking and through the mistakes of divers since. However, the author tries to make a dive to 140 feet seem like it is climbing Mount Everest. There are many times in listening to this book I had to remind myself that these divers were not free diving the Titanic but rather a relatively shallow wreck. In fact sport divers routinely make dives to these depths. What makes the Empress so dangerous is the extreme cold, the currents and limited visibility. The real story is the tragedy of ill equipped divers putting themselves in situations they for which they were unprepared. Yes they die, due in large part to their own stupidity.

Attempting to build these people into heroes sets a bad example to anyone who is thinking of joining a very rewarding sport.

There are many tales written by divers that do not resort to aggrandizing stupidity. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.
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- William

unfortunately abridged

This is an interesting story and probably worth listening to. This reminds me of the reason I usually do NOT listen to abridged books. It is difficult to tell if the author presented the material in a choppy manner or if it was improperly chopped up by the abridgement,causing a lack of continuity. I have listened to the narrator before and he is good. However his style was wrong for this book. If you have not already listened to them then listen to Dragon Sea (good) or Shadow divers(excellent). Save this one for last or better yet find it unabridged or get the book and read it.
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- peter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-07-2006
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education