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Deep Empire

Written By:James Axler - 1994

  • Deep Empire - James Axler cover


A struggle for survival in a savage new world


Once an idyllic chain of inlets running from Key Largo to Key West, the Florida Keys have become an isolated universe of grotesquely mutated wildlife and bizarre submarine malformations. Blind seventy-foot sea snakes lurk among the reefs around underwater volcanoes, while typhoons and pirates turn the crystal waters above into a death zone.

But Ryan Cawdor and his band of warrior-survivalists find a slice of heaven in this ocean hell at a marine research center created to further the amazing promise of the dolphins. Here, a brilliant scientist offers the perfect vacation of sun, fishing and fun. Until Ryan discovers this post-holocaust aquatic paradise is a hoax—and gentle dolphins are being mutated into killers.

Welcome to the Deathlands, and the future nobody planned for.


The sea around Krysty was flat and undisturbed. Michael had vanished

Before her mind started to cope, Ryan was in motion. He struck the water to Krysty's right, heading for the spur of rock that marked the sunken entrance to the redoubt.

J.B. was a moment behind him, followed immediately by Dean. Krysty drew breath, ready to duck dive after them, when Doc exploded into the sea only a yard away from her.

A moment later Doc's head broke the surface, his white mane pasted to his thin skull. "No sign," he bellowed.

"He'll be..." Doc began, striving for a note of reassurance, the sentance dying stillborn as Dean, J.B. and Ryan appeared from the cavernous redoubt. With no sign of Michael.

"Oh, Gaia!" Krysty's voice was harsh with shock. She stood, pointing toward the western horizon, her face frozen. "Look out there!"

There was a massive eruption about three hundred yards from shore. White froth and a burst of spray soared into the sky. All that they could make out, writhing at the core of the thrashing disturbance, was a giant, sinuous shape.

"Sea snake," Ryan said. "And—" He broke off as the creature crashed back into the water again, rolling to reveal, for the first time, its hideous head.

And the limp body of Michael Brother clasped in its blunt, hoglike jaw...




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