Author: Nicholas Harvey
Narrator: Kim Bretton
Length: 7 hours and 57 minutes
Publisher: Harvey Books, LLC
Series: AJ Bailey Adventure Series, Book One
Released: Aug. 13, 2020
AJ Bailey was destined to run a dive boat on the beautiful island of Grand Cayman, the Mecca of Caribbean SCUBA diving. As a young girl in England she was captivated by a story her Navy veteran grandfather told. Now, as she’s closer than ever to discovering the long-lost submarine from the story, a wealthy Argentinian arrives; a treasure hunter who’ll stop at nothing to steal the prize. Can AJ find the wreck in time? Or will the Argentinian hunter and his ruthless crew beat her to it? It’s a race against time at treacherous depths to uncover the real secret of the lost submarine.
Raised in England, working in America and heading for Grand Cayman. That encapsulates Nicholas Harvey’s career that’s been dominated by motorsports from an early age as a driver, then race engineer, to senior manager at the top level of motor racing in the States. Poised in the background has been a second career in writing that flourished into his debut novel, Twelve Mile Bank, the first of the AJ Bailey adventure series which combines a passion for diving, an obsession with military history and a love of the Cayman Islands. Nick and his wife Cheryl can be found touring the world in search of adventure on motorcycles, mountains and dive boats. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nicholas Harvey. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
By Author Nicholas HarveyWarning: This contains a mild plot spoiler Twelve Mile Bank was written about four very specific topics for a very good reason. I loved them all. I knew I would write a book one day, I’d written some screenplays and dabbled in short stories, but if I were to commit the time and passion to a full length novel (a daunting task in my mind), then it had to be the story I couldn’t not tell. My wife and I had been travelling to the Cayman Islands for over fifteen years and in that same timeframe had gone from newbie Scuba divers, to experienced and well-seasoned underwater adventurers. These were the first two topics. I had a location, and I had a subject around which to tell a story. My best friend, James, shared a passion with me for WW2 diesel submarines, and the brave men who served aboard them. Very few remain today, but I’ve been fortunate to tour several still on display in America. I gave him an old bulkhead door for a birthday one year, it was actually from a navy ship but looked similar to the submarine doors with the dogging ring. He has it as the door to a storage room. My story had to contain a submarine. Three. My wife of now twenty years, Cheryl, is the one that inspired me to first try scuba diving. I influenced her to walk in crampons up steep mountains. We both loved riding motorcycles and she took up rock climbing when she was already a grandmother. She’s pretty cool. My protagonist had to be that cool, and as diving was involved, why not have a female dive boat operator on Grand Cayman? That was it, I had my topics I couldn’t write my story without, and now I could start my book. Well, not so fast; I still had a problem. How is there a 220 foot long submarine sitting on the seafloor around Grand Cayman that no one has noticed yet? Grand Cayman is an underwater mountain that just barely peaks above the surface of the Caribbean Sea, all around the island the sandy beaches gently slope to meet the reef, before the wall plummets to thousands of feet deep. Every inch of accessible sea floor has been explored in search of wrecks, doubloons and canons. If it couldn’t be accessed by scuba, it’s been searched by submersible. Until I could figure out a place to sneakily hide a U-Boat, I didn’t have a story. That’s when I heard about Twelve Mile Bank. Often referred to as Cayman’s fourth island, the bank is several miles long and almost a mile wide, located twelve miles from the western shore of Grand Cayman and the only thing it doesn’t do is reach the surface. It’s around 120 feet below the Caribbean Sea. Cheryl and I took a trip out there and dived on the bank, a wild experience being swept across this underwater island by a stiff current with the boat following above and hopefully seeing where we surfaced. The final piece was in place, I had what I needed for my story.
Author Nicholas Harvey’s Top 10 Literary Inspirations
(well… top 12, I couldn’t pick the final 2 to cut!)These are books that I really enjoyed, inspired me at some point in my life, or influenced Twelve Mile Bank in some way.
- Dolphin Island, Arthur C Clarke – Novel – My favourite book as a young boy and I reread it every ten years or so.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach – Novel – An inspiring book I fell in love with in my late teens.
- Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer – Nonfiction – Believe it or not the story of this disaster helped inspire my desire to climb mountains.
- The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – Novel – Who didn’t love this book? Believe it or not, when I first started it I put it down after a chapter or two and didn’t pick it up again for a year. When I did, I couldn’t put it down! Good lesson in how your frame of mind affects your taste.
- Shadow Divers, Robert Kurson – Nonfiction – I was already a diver when I read this and it blew me away. One of the pickles they got into influenced a scene in TMB.
- Wing Leader, Johnnie Johnson – Biography – I’m not big on heroes as we’re all human and placing people on pedestals tends to cause them to fall off at some point. But this guy was the real deal.
- Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein – A great story told in a unique way. I could have put a bunch of racing biographies in this list but settled on this novel to represent my former career – although it has little to do with racing cars!
- Skinny Dip, Carl Hiaasen – Novel – Any of Hiaasen’s books are a wonderful escape filled with brilliant humour.
- The Few, Alex Kershaw – Non-Fiction – Fuelled my passion for the amazing feats performed in the Battle of Britain.
- She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb – Novel – I was deeply moved by this book. I didn’t like his follow-up at all!
- Run Silent, Run Deep, Edward L. Beach – Novel – A great story based on Beach’s own experiences in the submarines. Needless to say I’m a bit obsessed with WW2 diesel subs!
- Push, Tommy Caldwell – Autobiography – An inspiring story so well told. You don’t have to be a climber to enjoy this book.
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