After spending years navigating a world drowned by rising sea levels, drifting sailor Charlie thought he had found a home upon reaching No Land, the sunken centre of Edinburgh where some architecture both man-made and natural reaches out of the water. However, he found himself in the middle of a power struggle between factions, and now discovers how the paranoid survivors treat outsiders.
From its opening page of Edinburgh Castle eerily lit in Gothic ambience by gleaming moonlight, Blood in the Water lives up to its ominous title. As the tensions escalate between those forced by necessity to coexist in the same area, the strict edicts by which people must abide continue to cause friction, while Charlie himself, as a stranger, is met with suspicion and hostility.
The ‘Then’ sections relating Charlie’s experiences as a child continue to detail exactly how a lone small boy managed to survive the intervening time in which he grew into the lonely drifter we meet at the beginning of volume 1, and when you witness the experiences he had and can only imagine what else he endured, it’s a small wonder he remained sane.
Instead of the marine nightmare brought about by the risen waters and all their associated problems, the main danger now facing people is everyone else who still remains, the ruthless will required to carry on in the face of aquatic Armageddon shaping them into hardened and often sadistic individuals barely recognisable as functioning human beings.
As well the lingering threat from other people, we also get a brief glimpse at the perils presented by this oceanic world with a stand out sequence that, without wishing to give too much away, looks and feels like something out of Hellboy.
Apart from one particular event, the book is light on true action and instead focuses on the development of its wide ensemble. Each featured character becomes further rounded out, their personalities and motivations made clearer, and it becomes apparent that nobody is portrayed as wholly good or evil, but merely doing what they each believe to be right and necessary. The old world is gone and cannot be brought back, and in this new world with its new rules, there is no law but that which people enforce upon each other in the name of survival.
BOAT VOLUME 3: BLOOD IN THE WATER / AUTHOR: DAVID LUMSDEN / ARTIST: MARC OLIVENT / PUBLISHER: INDEPENDENT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW