There have been cases of mysteriously abandoned ships recorded throughout history. They even have a poetic name: ships without a soul. The Marie Celeste is just the most famous of a whole list of ghost vessels; derelict ships with no signs of a struggle, just a logbook that ends for no reason, and sometimes food still left on the table.
In Manel Loureiro’s latest book, The Last Passenger, a cargo ship stumbles across just such a mystery in the middle of the North Atlantic in 1939. There’s no obvious reason for the Valkyrie to have been abandoned; the ship isn’t damaged, and all of the lifeboats are still place. But the entire luxury ship (covered in symbols of the growing Nazi party) is deserted, except for a blanket-wrapped baby found in the middle of a ballroom with the remains of a party that seems to have just…stopped. Those exploring the ship are quickly chased away by strange voices and moving shadows, and one man loses his sanity after an attack by unseen forces. The baby is left at an orphanage, and the Valkyre – who’s engines resist any effort to be repaired – is towed to a scrapyard and then forgotten.
Seventy years later, the journalist Kate Soto is given a unique opportunity: to travel with the eccentric millionaire Isaac Feldman on the refurbished Valkyrie in a repeat of its maiden voyage. Accompanied by a crowd of scientists, some with their own hidden agendas, Isaac hopes to unlock the secret of his own past, and find out what happened to cause the disappearance of every passenger aboard.