Tom Swift and His Undersea Search, by Victor Appleton ISBN 1576462234
Four out of five stars
Originally published in 1920, this Tom Swift adventure takes place after the end of the Great War, which is mentioned several times. Like all the novels in the original Tom Swift series, there are some racist overtones, but in this one they are toned down to the simple-minded, yet loyal and hard-working format. All the standard characters are present, yet Tom’s father is depicted as having aged a bit from earlier stories.
This story features one of Tom’s earlier inventions, his powerful and efficient submarine. When his friend Mr. Damon encounters a man named Hardley, he is told about the known location of a gold treasure that was sunk in the Atlantic. Hardley was on the ship carrying a large amount of gold and he overheard the captain being told their precise location before the ship sank. Hardley managed to survive the sinking, but the crew did not. He has convinced Mr. Damon to invest in a quest to recover the gold and Damon then convinces Tom to come to his aid.
The adventure takes place under the ocean surface as Tom and his crew battle sea creatures, mechanical problems and the difficulties of finding a ship on the ocean floor in very deep water. The action is routine for an original Tom Swift story in the sense that experienced readers will not be surprised at the problems that Tom and his crew must face.
In many ways, the changes in the adventure stories written for early teen readers over the last century are a description of how the world has changed. Not only the literary context provided, but in the action and dialog. Read it with that in mind and you will enjoy this story.