The Presence

The Presence

by John Saul

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - 1 MASS MKT)

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“Enough smoothly crafted suspense to keep readers turning pages long after dark.”—The Seattle Times

Beyond the sparkling Hawiian beaches, masked by the deceptive beauty of the rainforest, evil awaits sixteen-year-old Michael Sundquist and his mother, Katharine, and anthropologist who has come to the Islands to study the unusual skeletal remains unearthed on the volcanic flanks of Halekala, Maui.

Yet far below the black depths of the Pacific a mysterious substance snakes through undiscovered fissures in the ocean floor, as nature itself seems to portend the terror to come.

Then, with the sudden, unexpected death of Michael’s friend, a disturbing truth dawns: the corporation that is funding Katherine’s dig has a far greater investment than she ever imagined—an investment in medical terror. And her son may be part of their hideous grand plan. . . . 

“A suspenseful thriller . . . provocative . . . Nicely done, indeed.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Classic Saul . . . A potent brew.”—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449002414
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1998
Edition description: 1 MASS MKT
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 254,748
Product dimensions: 4.16(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

JOHN SAUL's first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. He has since written nineteen successive bestselling novels of suspense, including Black Lightning, Guardian, and The Homing. He is most recently the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles—initially published in six installments, now available in one volume. Mr. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Maui, Hawaii.

Read an Excerpt

From above, the day was perfect.

A sky of sapphire blue, a sea of sparkling turquoise. A scattering of marshmallow clouds drifted across a vast expanse of azure.

The wind had died, and the ocean rose and fell gently against the shattered end of a lava flow that extended from the sea to a vent nearly halfway up Kilauea on the island of Hawaii ...

The kind of day for which the diving team had been waiting.

An hour after dawn, they were aboard the tug and barge that carried them out of Hilo Bay. Now the barge was anchored two hundred yards off the end of the lava flow, held in place by three anchors chained to heavy hawsers. The tug itself needed nothing more than a lunch hook to hold its position, and the surface crew — with little to do until the divers in the water signaled them — relaxed on the deck, drinking beer and playing cards, as somnolent as the weather itself.

Perhaps if the wind and the sea hadn't conspired against them, someone would have felt the seismic blip and realized that the idyllic day's serenity was an illusion ...

One hundred feet below the surface, the two divers, a man and a woman, worked with intense concentration to retrieve the object they had discovered a week ago.

Embedded in the layer of lava that covered the ocean floor, it was almost perfectly spherical, its color so close to that of the lava itself that the divers, coming upon it for the first time, almost missed it completely. Its shape was what had caught the woman's eye — a curve caught in her peripheral vision ...

On the tug, the crew set to work to lift the geode from the ocean floor ...

As they concentrated on operating the crane, none of the crew noticed the smoke that was starting to drift through the first tiny rifts in the face of the cliff two hundred yards away.

A hundred feet down, the two divers backed thirty feet away from the geode, then turned to watch as the cable from the crane tightened. For a breath-held moment nothing moved. Then, the geode — nearly three feet across — abruptly came free of the lava....

The crane was just swinging the geode onto the deck of the barge when the face of the cliff gave way. As a gout of brilliant lava spewed out, exploding into millions of fragments when it hit the surface of the sea a split second later, the crane operator screamed a warning. Within seconds the hawsers had been cut, the anchors and their chains abandoned, and the tug was running directly out to sea.

The water, dead calm only a few seconds before, churned around the tug, reacting to the explosive force of the fast-growing gush of lava now pouring forth from the crumbling face of the cliff.

"What about the divers?" someone yelled.

But even as he spoke, the terrified crewmen knew the answer to his question....

Using binoculars, the crew scanned the water for any sign of the two divers, but even as they searched, they knew they were bound to fail. They had barely escaped with their own lives. As the storm built and the seas became great, heaving swells, the captain of the tug turned back toward Hilo and the safety of the harbor.

On the barge, three men secured the geode to the deck, silently wondering if it had been worth the lives it had cost to collect it.

Customer Reviews

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Presence 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A bestseller for sure. John Saul provides suspense and mystery in this thriller along with really good charactors. Reminds me of Robin Cook's novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I live on Maui and as such, found the book to be lacking in reality. The policeman's beat (from Makawao to Lahaina???) is an absolutely absurd hour's distance. One of the principal characters, Michael Sundquist, had never gone scuba diving before, but yet somehow 'knew' how to free a friend from the ocean's depths and 'knew' how to inflate his BC and read his regulator. Hmmmm. I've been diving many times before and still can't get it right. Overall, the story line was intriguing until the end when I couldn't tie all of the details together, but the FACTS weren't as carefully researched as they could be. John Saul, you live part-time here on Maui, you should know better, brah! (P.S. John, and haole doesn't mean 'white person'. It means without spirit, a foreigner.)
aya.herron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anthropologist Katharine Sundquist moves to Maui with her sixteen year old son Michael to take a job excavating a site on Takeo Yoshihara's estate. Like any teenage boy, Michael just wants to fit in, but his asthma keeps getting in the way. When Michael saves Josh Malani's life in a diving incident, he's found a new friend. For the first time, Michael is accepted into a group; he even makes the track team and is invited on a night dive. That's when things start to change, one by one the boys start to have trouble breathing and die. Meanwhile, in the course of her excavation, Katharine uncovers the mysterious Serinus Project. As Michael becomes ill, his mother must race to make the connection between the mysterious deaths and Yoshihara's experiments. Will Michael's mother and her friend Rob Silver be able to save him? The Presence by John Saul is recommended for all reader's who enjoy suspense and horror; however, the descriptions of animal experimentation may bother some readers.
Spiceca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story and the two parts that verged together at the end to come together. I really liked the end concept of what the "presence" was. I did not like the overly tidy epilogue. That took it down a notch for me- I think I would have preferred it to be open ended rather than solved. I still enjoyed the read and minus the epilogue I think it was a good read.
NKSCF on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a lot of fun, and provided a lot of insight into archeology and astronomy, which are almost inexplicably linked together in this story. When a strange skeleton emerges in Hawaii, a mother and son are brought there to figure out what it is, while a deranged businessman exploits a recent scientific find. This was the best John Saul book I've ever read. It has its flaws, but it's still a good read. Definitely a must for Saul fans.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Decent setting and plot but kind of predictable. Not one of Saul's best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book brings out the visions of imagination. I was able to spend time in Hawaii and islands. Nicely done . Fast read . Intriguing and speculative .
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NiNi83 More than 1 year ago
I need to be captured by the characters and storyline right from the beginning in order to continue reading. I truly enjoyed every page.
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
I don't know what happened in this novel. John Saul usually hits the mark but this one was a clear miss. It was boring, uninspired and I lost track of things that were going on, especially in the last few chapters. Are they telling us we evolved from life on a different planet of Aliens? A planet that never survived? This was all so unclear. And from the beginning we knew exactly who was behind the killings which made it so un-suspenseful. I did not like this book and I would not recommend it to anyone. Pick up some other John Saul books, they are far more interesting and scary!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book kept me guessing...It was suspenseful and unpredictable. However I was very disappointed with the ending, I had a hard time putting the facts together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the very first John Saul books I've ever read, and also one of my favorites. It's filled with suspense and mystery, keeping you guessing to the very end. Saul has great word choice and paints a vivid picture as you read. Just the beginning alone got me hooked; I wanted to solve the mystery, but it was much more complex than I thought. As soon as a peice of the puzzle fell into place, another set of pieces followed, keeping me reading to know more. I strongly recommend The Presence, and other John Saul books to anyone who likes horror stories with a brilliant twist of mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good Book. [...]
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really awesome book which takes place in Hawaii. I love the plot, I love the action and suspence, I love the setting, and I love the ending. I love the book. One of John Saul's best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the first page of this book it will be hard to put it down. I recommend it to anyone, especially teens. I loved it!