|Publication date||July 1997|
MEG, also known as Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror is a science fiction novel by Steve Alten, and was first published in July 1997. The novel, along with its sequels, follows the under water adventures of a U.S Navy deep sea diver, Jonas Taylor.
On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists-Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.
Written off as a crackpot suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Taylor refuses to forget the depths that nearly cost him his life.
With a PhD in paleontology under his belt, Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub.
Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time.
In the novel's prologue, taking place during the Late Cretaceous Period, a Tyrannosaurus rex stumbles into the ocean while pursuing a herd of Shantungosaurus, and is promptly attacked and devoured by a Megalodon. This is later shown to be part of a slideshow by Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and marine biologist for his presentation on Megalodon.
In 1997, Jonas is working deep in the Mariana Trench with the United States Navy. His mission is top secret and involves confirming the existence of an extinct species of shark known as the Megalodon, a predator that could grow up to 20 meters in length.
While on the dive, Jonas watches in horror as a Megalodon rises from the depths, Jonas surfaces as fast as is safe and escapes, but causes death of a few of his crewmates as a result; unfortunately, the Navy does not believe his claims, labeling him a madman and ruining his career while simultaneously covering up the discovery. Years later, Jonas continues to try to prove that what he saw was real. This has also led Jonas to push away his estranged and separated wife, Maggie, and leads to her having an affair with his billionaire friend. He is later approached by a friend, marine biologist Masao Tanaka, who lost a remote submarine in the Mariana Trench and hopes to retrieve it. Seeing this as an opportunity to prove that the Megalodon still exists, Jonas agrees to help Tanaka, over the objection of Tanaka's daughter, Terry.
When they arrive at the Trench, Jonas and Tanaka's son, DJ, dive in small submersibles. A male Megalodon rises from the depths and, despite Jonas' attempts to distract the creature, kills DJ. Jonas watches in horror as the Megalodon is trapped in the steel cables connecting DJ's sub to the ship. As the Megalodon is pulled to the surface, Jonas watches a second Megalodon, a much larger female, rise out of the Trench. She attacks the male and feeds on him as he is pulled to the surface, his heated blood protecting her from the cold water layer that has previously kept them from entering the wider ocean.
Jonas and Tanaka are worried about the imbalance in the ocean's ecosystem that might result from the re-introduction of a Megalodon after an absence of millions of years. As Jonas and Tanaka try to track down the Megalodon, the female surfaces off the coast of Maui and kills several surfers. She also attacks a helicopter that is tracking her at night after discovering that thousands of years of living in the depths of the Trench has led the sharks to develop bioluminescent white hides and destroys a military submarine led by Taylor's commanding officer from his time in the Navy.
Jonas and Tanaka come to the realization that the female Megalodon is pregnant, and are determined to capture her before she gives birth. Maggie seizes this opportunity to advance her career and decides to film the shark from within a shark cage as she swims to California to give birth. Despite his best efforts, the Megalodon breaks the cage and drowns and kills Maggie as she tries to escape.
Jonas and Tanaka track down the female after she gives birth to three pups. After tranquilizing her and capturing her, Taylor's vengeful superiors and Maggie's lover try to kill the shark with a homemade depth charge, causing the shark to awaken and rampage, killing dozens of witnesses and bystanders including Taylor's superiors themselves. While the Megalodon is rampaging, Jonas pilots a submersible down her throat and into her stomach where he uses a fossilized meg tooth to cut his way out and cut her heart out, ironically killing the meg with a meg tooth. The two survivors capture the last surviving Megalodon pup as Jonas is taken away to be treated for decompression sickness from his fight with the adult shark, and are excited about the opportunity to study this believed-extinct creature in the flesh.