"A riveting, terrifying, thrilling story of a netherworld that few people know about, and fewer will ever see . . . The soul of this book is as wild as the ocean itself." --Susan Casey, best-selling author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean
A riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas.
There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world's oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation.
Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways -- drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world's economies rely.
Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Ian Urbina went above and beyond for this immersive exposé of the criminal activity taking place throughout the world’s oceans. Rather than merely researching topics like overfishing and pollution, Urbina spent five perilous years fraternizing with everyone from vigilante environmentalists to murderous human traffickers. His high-octane prose reminds us of James Ellroy and even Hunter S. Thompson, and his intrepid fearlessness left us shook. Spend some time in the company of villains like tanker crews deliberately dumping poisonous cargo and black-market doctors providing unlicensed medical services—and leave your romantic notions of life on the high seas behind.