In Los Angeles, hundreds of blackbirds drop out of the sky in a scene reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds. On the same day, a beach in Maine glistens with the bodies of thousands of fish gasping for air, dying. And only a few hours later, on the South Island of New Zealand, volunteers scramble to rescue fifty beached humpback whales and more than a hundred bottlenose dolphins in what can only be described as a horrific and heartbreaking sight.
Here we meet Jamie Hastings, Patricia Cori’s, very psychic heroine. She bonds with a very pregnant whale that is slowly slipping away. Looking into its eye, she connects with its soul and watches as the last traces of life leave her massive body. In that moment Jamie knows that the course of her life has been forever altered. We learn that incidences like these are not isolated but rather a connected or synchronous symptom of building global tensions. Almost like the soul of the Earth is speaking to us.
Jamie has an excellent track record. She has helped solve 53 dead cases for the LAPD. But what really got CEO, USOIL, Mat Anderson’s attention was a much smaller number – 3. She helped the Pakistani government find three oil sites in a single year. Surely she could help USOIL locate what they were looking for at the bottom of the ocean. When gentle negotiations, an attempted bribe and whole lot of pampering fail to move Jamie, he plays his last card – the concerned CEO – the one who is open to trying every means at his disposal to help protect the whales, their breading sanctuaries and migration routes. This gets Jamie’s attention and she is now lured into a mission to psychically explore the ocean floor for oil reserves.
The Deepwater is USOIL’s state-of-the-art ship with every piece of technology fathomable at its disposal –but this time, they have to answer to a psychic. Some of the crew can’t get over the irony of this new mission. Nonetheless, Jamie does manage to find some kindred spirits on board – captain Jim and his dog Fin. At this point I was partly expecting and partly hoping to be guided to a scene of graceful communion where everyone on board celebrates the discovery of a mutually beneficial solution. It’s that eternal optimist part of me that can’t be helped.
But Cori sure knows how to throw in some serious surprises and suspense. My happy interspecies communion would have to wait and watch as in unprecedented behaviour, Cori has agitated whales and orcas work together, surrounding the ship, threatening the lives of everyone on board. In the midst of this confusion comes another big blow. Jamie’s near fatal accident and she now must be rushed to a hospital.
What follows is a near death experience and the unearthing of a much greater, much more sinister global cover-up. Cori’s first work of fiction is fast paced and very gripping. I did some snooping and I am so glad to find out that The Emissary will be coming to theatres in the future. Not surprising as Cori says she began writing this as a screenplay. I would love to see the sheer scale of some of the scenes translated to film. Don’t let the size of this book fool you. This is a big story spread over a big canvass. It really does capture the imagination and the heart.