In Sphere he teams up a band of diverse scientists from different fields to help the Navy explore an “airplane crash” deep in the middle of the South Pacific. It turns out the plane is from the future, even though it’s evident from the coral growth around it that it crashed 300 years ago. And that’s just mystery number one.
The team is housed a thousand feet underwater, walking across the sea floor periodically to enter the and study the huge craft. Their short stay at the bottom of the sea is extended, when bad weather at the surface forces their support team to evacuate the area. People start to die, or more accurately get killed.
The ensuing race to stay alive long enough to be rescued depends on understanding the alien, or perhaps futuristic, technology they’ve unleashed.
The book seems to end on a perfect note for a sequel, though it seems Crichton never wrote one. Unfortunately, he died in 2008. Hmmm. I wonder what the legality is for someone to pick up the story where he left off.
The book was written with adults in mind, but it’s certainly suitable for YA and above.