I propose to you a new arm of war, as formidable as it is economical. Submarine navigation which has been sometimes attempted, but as all know without results, owing to want of suitable opportunities, is now a problematical thing no more.
Brutus de Villeroi in a letter to President Lincoln, 1862
It is a strange and curious thing to come across old documents related to the sea. Sometimes they are simply pedantic lists of cargo, other times they open up a whole new world. As I perused some of these letters and correspondence, I came across this odd character named Brutus de Villeroi. In the U.S. census, he simply identified his employment as “genius.” Many don’t know of his accomplishments that are still in use. The carbon dioxide scrubber, made famous in the Apollo 13 movie, where they jury-rigged a scrubber from spare parts was invented by this self proclaimed genius. The pressure chamber, periscope, and submarine are all his.
But what struck me as the most intriguing thing was his association with a student he taught while a professor in the University of France. An intelligent young student grabbed onto his ideas and propelled them into the lore of science fiction.
I’ve taken Professor de Villeroi and extrapolated a novel around him and his accomplishments. It is a modern-day adventure with a number of historical ties. If you enjoy diving, sailing, civil war history or naval history in general then this book is for you.
Many parts of the story come from actual experiences. I’ll let you judge what is real and what is not. Yet, I firmly believe that everyone is looking in the wrong place for the submarine – Alligator. I think I know where it is.
M. T. Harber