Former special forces agent turned particle physicist Ben Holden is on the run. Those seeking him will stop at nothing to get their hands on his wife’s scientific research, which is believed to hold the key to unleashing chaos in the West and advancing their cause.
But in reality it’s Ben’s biometrics that have the potential to unlock the information they so desperately need. Within the oceanic world of Pelagia, in the year 2066, Ben finds sanctuary among the sea settlers of the South Pacific Pelagic Territory, but his respite is short-lived…
In the not too distant future, a recognisable yet different world awaits in this absorbing speculative thriller. An interesting and challenging speculative science fiction novel that begins in 2066. Covering a number of years and several time frames, Ben Holden is on the run after being targeted for his scientific research. It really does feel as though this world could be our future, enough is relatable and touchable to allow you to easily slip into what could be. Author Steve Holloway has a degree in Aquatic Biology and has worked around the world in marine science, it means that the scientific and oceanic world Ben finds himself in teems with possibilities and I particularly enjoyed these sections. The frequent moves in time and locations are clearly marked, which allowed me to flick between the different timelines in the plot with ease. Faith plays a part here, in terms of what is on offer in the future, and the main character’s transformation. I’m not in the slightest bit religious and found that this element, rather than overpowering proceedings, slotted into the story with ease. There is also enough action to keep the plot moving along at a good pace. Pelagia: Between the Stars and the Abyss makes for a refreshing and thought-provoking read.
“Imagine a world only a few decades from now in which we cluster in tightly knit family groups on the vast oceans, living off the life of the sea. What geopolitical forces would shape our lives? What new powers might emerging technologies enable, uplifting or disturbing? Pelagia is a view into such a future. For our friends, the protagonists, this technologically advanced culture offers powerful tools for the sustenance, preservation, and enrichment of life. Machines have become (artificially) intelligent partners, and as such enable, for example, an autistic child to contribute her gifts to the community, or the beginning of a communications bridge to another species: dolphins. But alas, tragedy and evil perpetrated by humans are not absent from this world. Welcome to Pelagia - mortal existence in and nourished by the great reaches of earth's final frontier - the oceans. From the depths of the abyss to the infinite expanse of the stars; from the depths of human depravity to the ecstasies of a fully conscious spiritual life, fulfilled in the presence of the Eternal; I found myself captivated by this glimpse at a plausible and hopeful future for civilization.”
"Members of the Pelagic Territory, a realistic yet futuristic network of communities who farm and ranch marine species in the South Pacific Ocean, give sanctuary to Ben, former special forces officer and now Dr. Holden. He is being pursued by agents of the New Caliphate; Ben and the Pelagic settlers are swept up in a clash of world-views and must bring the crisis to a resolution. A riveting novel. Pelagia is full of action, sci-fi, cool technology, marine science and a little bit of romance."
"An exciting adventure set in a near future where technological and scientific advancements have enabled whole communities to make the oceans their home. In amongst the action and moments that had me on the edge of my seat, this story explores important and sensitive concepts, from the impact of loss and trauma, and the many stages of healing; the power of community; and the influence of faith; to the way our hearts and our innermost motivations can shape our world. The characters that we meet along the way are often refreshingly genuine, natural, and believable. I found myself fully immersed in their world and thoroughly enjoyed this read, would love to have stayed there for longer!"
"Pelagia is a such an enjoyable read. You’re plunged into the story from the first paragraph and it’s a thrill ride from that point onward. The aptly named Pelagia covers a vast sweep from global trends of communities adapting to life on the open sea with the necessary scientific and engineering systems through geopolitical movements of control versus individual freedom down to the life of a broken man finding healing and spiritual rebirth amongst one of these ocean-going communities. The characters become real and one is left imagining where the characters’ lives go next after the book ends. The descriptions of the science behind the Tuna Shepherds’ everyday life, like the sea-crete, the amphibious vehicles, tuna guide-bots or Sophia’s Egg leads one into wondering how much of this we can or should be working on right now as our sea-levels are rising. Descriptions of the harmonious interaction between the sea and some characters, so poetic at times, leave you aching for that kind of peace and stillness. It’s a great book on so many levels."
“What a great read! Holloway has spun a very entertaining tale, weaving together the fidelity to science of The Martian, a futuristic life at sea reminiscent of Waterworld (the movie), and the masterful storytelling and worldview of a Ted Dekker. I can’t wait for the sequel, and the movie.”
"Steve Holloway’s Pelagia straddles science fiction (especially marine science), religion and politics in a highly readable story. In his sensitive handling of Islamic people and themes, the author shows a cultural competency with basic Arabic and a range of Muslim world view, beliefs and practices. In the story, Islam’s existential crisis divides into the bad and the good. Its rogue face is the dictatorial and decadent Caliphate that rules by fear and violence. Its spiritual face is Suliman, the leader of the Pelagic community who embodies an enlightened Islam that is oppressed by its puritanical counterpart. Both Suliman and Ben find redemption beyond the political confines of religion."
"As a science fiction enthusiast and an oceanographer it was a pleasure to read a book that combined both these interests of mine. The story moves along at a good pace and at each stage left me wanting to know what will happen next? The story is set in the near future and the scientific advances it relies on are reasonable projections of current research directions; for example, in robotics. These make the plot believable. Much of the action takes place in the Pacific in and around ocean community habitats developed by human beings, hence the title Pelagia. As a result Pelagia is an interesting and enjoyable book to read."
“Seldomly do I read fiction, but the first chapter of Pelagia was so intriguing that I was drawn into the story immediately and I could not put it down. Steve Holloway is obviously well versed in oceanography, science, and marine technology. Having once lived in the "developing world," he is knowledgeable of both Islam and Christianity and the interplay of the two great, worldwide religions. Additionally, and most importantly, Steve is a great story teller and he weaves a great thriller. Even if you usually browse nonfiction selections on Amazon or the shelves of your local bookstore, this book will grab your interest and possibly propel you to think about what the geopolitical and religious world could be in the next 30 years.”
“Steve Holloway’s Pelagia beautifully blends fast paced thrills, complex characters, and compelling near-future science to deliver a terrific read. As a marine Biologist and fisheries scientist, Holloway is able to paint a portrait of near-future life on the oceans that is both realistic and hopeful. Present-day themes of radical Islamic terrorism are developed and extended to draw the reader into a dangerous world where a revitalized Islamic caliphate threatens global catastrophe. Holloway’s many years living in the Islamic world are obvious in the narrative, and enable him to give rich detail to the characters, offering intriguing glimpses into the worldview and thought processes of those we in the West so often misunderstand and fear. I know of no other book that so well combines the themes of science fiction, politics and faith in a realistic, heart pumping thriller. I’m looking forward to the sequel.”
“All good sci-fi invites us to explore new worlds of possibility, and Pelagia is no exception. What sets Pelagia apart is that this exploration takes place both in the age-old quest of the soul, as well as the new possibilities of sea-habitation. The world in Pelagia is simultaneously realistic yet optimistic, grim yet hopeful. Told with a wonderful emphasis of the power of community, Pelagia is a world well worth the visit.”
“Steve Holloway has created a compelling futuristic drama fast in pace and full of twists. Adroit with scientific minutiae, he draws us into a fantastic world which employs startling technologies yet reveres the beauty of our blue planet. He explores complexities of political and religious differences without preachy dogma. His unique characters are refreshing. He allows them to be flawed, to experience growth, and to embrace their differing abilities as strengths not liabilities. I want to live in Pelagia.”
“Prescient in so may ways! Fast moving intrigue across international relations and cross-cultural issues so important in our time. Beyond cutting edge technological creativity depicting life at sea with a strategically new vision that makes you want to move right in. A great read. Where is the sequel?”
“After Professor Langdon of the Da Vinci Code, here comes Professor Holden. As a fan of both the Sci-Fi and the spiritual novel genres, Pelagia has now become one of my favourites. Steve Holloway’s transformation of Ishmaelite descendants of desert nomads from centuries ago into sea settlers and pioneers of the near future held my interest and admiration. So inspiring! As a Muslim, I could not resist the temptation to identify myself with Suliman Battuta, in terms of preserving both his physical identity and spiritual identity in Al-Masih. Some of his scenes touched my heart and made me shed some tears. His description of the New Caliphate accurately depicts the hostile face of Islam which is rejected and denied by most moderate Muslims as well. I believe this novel will resonate well with some Muslims.”
“A stunning mix of thriller, science fiction and exploration of religious belief. Marvel at nature, technology, and the activity of God in this tale of people interacting with one another, pursuing their dreams and seeking to create new communities. I was especially intrigued by how the author explores spirituality amidst different cultures: how does God work in the lives of those who seek to follow him? How does religious belief manifest itself in the midst of crises? What is justifiable in pursuit of one's goals? How do we react to those who think differently to us? Can someone have assurance that they are on the right path to heaven? In a religious community, in what order does someone come to believe, belong and behave?”
"Pelagia is a mix of futuristic military action, science-fiction adventure, innovative marine & mariculture technology and an engaging cast of characters. If you like reading Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum - and a little Jacques Cousteau thrown in - you'll enjoy reading Pelagia. It is a unique, original, fresh and a really interesting vision of the not-to-distant future of mariculture, human culture and the ongoing, constant battle between good and evil. It is the story of a protagonist you are always pulling for - who has experienced a series of catastrophic personal setbacks that rocked him to his core - salvation, second chances and those who helped lead him to redemption and healing. Each chapter leads into a new series of unanticipated events that culminate in a satisfying and realistic conclusion."
“In its fast-paced heart-pounding opening, Pelagia pulls me into a dark cramped space below the deck of a storm-tossed boat, as captive Ben Holden regains consciousness—restrained and nauseous. Author Steve Holloway’s writing is tangible and delicious, playful and sometimes painful. This multi-layered story focuses on the effect of relationships and community on personal and spiritual healing and growth. Throughout the story, conflict is laced with whimsy, humour and stunningly vivid descriptions of fish behaviour beneath the water’s surface. A great read that’s hard to put down, Holloway’s story presents a vision of the future where barriers are overcome through an emphasis on creativity, trust, and group effort. I’m already hoping for the chance to spend more time in the company of these characters. Sequel please!”
“Pelagia is an intriguing story with page-turning excitement, combining military action, drama on land and on the high seas, heartbreaking tragedy, addiction and healing. I was amazed by the science within the story; wonders of the ocean depths and its other-worldly creatures. I was mesmerized by the science-fiction within the story; fantastic futuristic machines and the things they can do. Pelagia even has love and romance. The characters are well developed; you feel you know them in a short amount of time, both the good guys and the bad. A great read!”
Wow! I love this novel. It’s an action-packed page turner starting on page one. Set in the year 2066, the hero of the story, Professor Ben Holden, regains consciousness in the bottom of a boat to find himself held hostage by unknown Arabic speaking captors somewhere in the South Pacific. His journey of escape leads him to discover a fascinating community of futuristic sea farmers, imaginative marine technology, geopolitical intrigue, romance, and personal transformation. By the time I got to the end, I couldn’t wait to buy a ticket to the world that exists in Steve Holloway’s head. Steve’s background in marine biology, science, community development, and religious dialogue make him an excellent adventure guide to an intriguing and realistically possible world of the future.
“I'm not a science fiction fan, and I'm not particularly a fan of marine life. I only opened the book because Steve is a friend and I was curious. However, Pelagia grabbed me from chapter one, and I immediately wondered who would make the film version! I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and along the way, I had an fascinating glimpse of a potential future in which aquaculture sustains populations -- and brings inevitable conflicts. I can't wait for the sequel!”
A decorated marine returning from covert operations on the Horn of Africa, Ben arrives exhausted after a brutal tour only to face a loss that crushes his spirit and sends him into an downward spiral of alcoholism. These troubles, however, are nothing compared to the merciless predators that now hunt him.
A loyal and talented agent of the Caliph, who has organized cells and promoted the agenda of the New Caliphate throughout the world. A chance encounter at a geophysics conference inspires a breath-taking plan to neutralise the infidel political influence of the North American continent that has challenged the ambitions of the New Caliphate.
The tragic death of his twin sons destroyed his career in Homeland Security and his marriage, pushing Paul into a life of substance abuse. A committed community for rehabilitation in the arid Sonoran Desert helped him not only gain release from his addictions but find a new life with remarkable new gifts.
Sheik Suliman and his clan, third generation Yemeni Bedouin, travel with their tuna stocks around the South Pacific Gyre as part of the South Pacific Pelagic Territory. In this nomadic life they seek religious freedom from the persecutions of the New Caliphate who see them as apostates and traitors.
Nemo is a very sophisticated algorithm who serves the Suliman Battuta family as first mate, advisor, child counsellor, navigator and many other roles. His dispassionate objectivity and persistent pursuit of the Battuta family interests make him an invaluable member of the household – even well loved, if his circuits could encompass that emotion.
9 year old Sophia, daughter of Suliman, struggles with basic human relationships, but has a depth of soul that is unfathomable even to her family. Her autistic nature, keen intelligence and observation skills allow her to fashion extraordinary marine robots that find many uses throughout the Pelagic Territories.
Bright, vivacious and beautiful, 33 year old Maria revels in her life as a citizen of Marcelli Township in the South Pacific Pelagic Territory. She serves her community through her research of the seamount ecosystem. She has achieved her ambitions and now seeks to find someone she can share her life with.
17-year-old Lorenzo, Maria’s brother, has a unique empathic rapport with dolphins, enhanced by technology to facilitate communication between species. Teamed with his bottlenose friends, Lucca and Tazia, they explore how an interspecies partnership can serve the interests of both human and dolphin alike as they defend the Pelagic territories.
22 year old Gideon is both the son of Suliman and brother to Sophia. He is a gifted engineer and skilful pilot. He is refining the design of a revolutionary amphibious aircraft, the Kestrel, to serve the Pelagic Territories in defence of their way of life. Little does he realize that Ben’s arrival will put his design and skills to the ultimate test.