A Letter to the Luminous Deep (The Sunken Archive #1) (Paperback)

A Letter to the Luminous Deep (The Sunken Archive #1) By Sylvie Cathrall Cover Image
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May 2024 Indie Next List

“Sylvie Cathrall wraps cozy aquatic academia, strange abyssal mysteries, and deeply endearing characters into one delightful epistolary novel that is sure to reel you in! A fun and cozy science fiction/fantasy that pulls at your heartstrings!”
— Oli Schmitz, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


An Amazon Best Book of April 2024 • An IndieNext Pick 

A charming fantasy set in an underwater world with magical academia and a heartwarming penpal romance, perfect for fans of Emily Wilde's Encylopaedia of Faeries and The House in the Cerulean Sea.

A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.

Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.'s home, and she and Henerey vanish.

A year later, E.'s sister Sophy, and Henerey's brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery, piecing together the letters, sketches and field notes left behind—and learn what their siblings’ disappearance might mean for life as they know it.
Inspired, immersive, and full of heart, this charming epistolary tale is an adventure into the depths of a magical sea and the limits of the imagination from a marvelous debut voice.

Praise for A Letter to the Luminous Deep

“An underwater treasure-chest to be slowly unpacked, full of things I adore.” —Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light

“A shimmering, delicately crafted delight.” —H.G. Parry, author of The Magician's Daughter

“A fascinating and charming story told in a uniquely elegant voice.” —Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches

“Both the setting and the story are exquisite.” —Megan Bannen, author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

About the Author

Sylvie Cathrall writes stories of hope and healing with healthy doses of wonder and whimsy. She holds a graduate degree in odd Victorian art and has handled more than a few nineteenth-century letters (with great care). Sylvie married her former pen pal and lives in the mountains, where she dresses impractically and dreams of the sea.

Praise For…

"This book is not shaped like a book, and I mean that as a compliment. It is instead an underwater treasure-chest to be slowly unpacked, full of things I adore: nosy and loving families, epistolary romance, gorgeous worldbuilding, and anxious scholars doing their best to meet the world with kindness and curiosity. Take a deep breath and dive in."—Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light

"Cathrall's debut caught me up on a wave of whimsy and swept me away with its charm. A story to be cherished."—Lyra Selene, author of A Feather So Black

"A fascinating and charming story told in a uniquely elegant voice. A watery wonder of a novel! I loved it." —Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches

"A Letter to the Luminous Deep is like nothing I've read before. The heartfelt intimacy of the epistolary narrative, juxtaposed with the magnificent oceanic world-building, results in a novel that is at once deeply human and mind-bogglingly imaginative. Both the setting and the story are exquisite, but it was the lovingly crafted voices of the characters that kept me hooked from beginning to end."—Megan Bannen, author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

“A shimmering, delicately crafted delight of a book, steeped in love for the wonder of nature and the vagaries of archival research. Readers looking for heartwarming romance and scholarly mystery against the backdrop of a wildly imaginative world will be charmed.”—H.G. Parry, author of The Magician’s Daughter

"With its gorgeous underwater setting and whimsical academic sensibility, A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a strange, epistolary wonder." —Mary McMyne, author of The Book of Gothel

"Cathrall spins a captivating tale of mystery and romance set in an enchanting underwater society in her wondrous debut...This poetic and emotional tale announces the arrival of a skilled storyteller."—Publishers Weekly

“A poignant epistolary adventure set in an underwater landscape filled with academics, explorers, and artists.”—BookPage

"Cathrall debuts with a wonderfully charming epistolary novel...Readers will want to savor the delightful letters that make up this cozy fantasy set in academia and an underwater world."—Library Journal

"Through these letters, a tale of love, friendship, and secrets unfolds, captivating readers with its whimsical charm and intriguing plot twists. In her debut, Cathrall skillfully addresses themes of mental health and anxiety, adding depth and authenticity to the characters' experiences. With its cozy-fantasy atmosphere and rich character development, A Letter to The Luminous Deep will appeal to fans of epistolary novels and readers who enjoy stories with elements of romance, mystery, and fantasy."—Booklist

"Whimsical and heartfelt, with a radar trained on delight."—Kirkus

"A heartwarming, beautifully written debut." —Observer
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316565530
ISBN-10: 0316565539
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: The Sunken Archive