Few of the Isle of Thanet’s inhabitants continue to face outwards after the winds turn cold and the winter swells rise. Fewer still concern themselves with the distant sand banks where seals rest, the vast kelp forests that shadow the sea, or the old war forts that still tower miles from shore. Ever since the Merren first entered the water and began to adapt to its depths, they have found ways of remaining hidden. That is, until a drowning gone-wrong causes the waters to become unbalanced.
A pain is sparked that breaks the protective barriers of the kelp wall and brings poisonous dry-walker feelings and memories right into the merren’s home. Niah, the one who failed to spark the drowning light properly is deemed responsible. While the rest of the merren retreat to the ancient deep, Niah stays to trace the source of the painful energy and try to close it off.
Meanwhile on land the drowning is having different effects. Jordan, a budding musician, is distraught over the loss of his little sister. He confides in his close friend Aurellie, an artist who makes posters for his band, and her musical father – the only other mixed race family he knows and wishes he was part of. Aurellie is secretly fascinated by stories of the merren -and rumours that they were behind the drowning, but she is determined to help her friend. Everything changes when she is met by Niah and becomes a vessel in a deadly plan, experiencing the merren’s maddening ways of sharing thoughts, feelings and memories.