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The Midnight Watch chapter 1 The Midnight Watch, meaning The Midnight Watch, genre The Midnight Watch, book cover The Midnight Watch, flies The Midnight Watch, The Midnight Watch 703d513ade926 As The Titanic And Her Passengers Sank Slowly Into The Atlantic Ocean After Striking An Iceberg Late In The Evening Of April A Nearby Ship Looked On Second Officer Herbert Stone, In Charge Of The Midnight Watch On The SS Californian Sitting Idly A Few Miles North, Saw The Distress Rockets That The Titanic Fired He Alerted The Captain, Stanley Lord, Who Was Sleeping In The Chartroom Below, But Lord Did Not Come To The Bridge Eight Rockets Were Fired During The Dark Hours Of The Midnight Watch, And Eight Rockets Were Ignored The Next Morning, The Titanic Was At The Bottom Of The Sea And Than , People Were Dead When They Learned Of The Extent Of The Tragedy, Lord And Stone Did Everything They Could To Hide Their Role In The Disaster, But Pursued By Newspapermen, Lawyers, And Political Leaders In America And England, Their Terrible Secret Was Eventually Revealed The Midnight Watch Is A Fictional Telling Of What May Have Occurred That Night On The SS Californian, And The Resulting Desperation Of Officer Stone And Captain Lord In The Aftermath Of Their InactionTold Not Only From The Perspective Of The SS Californian Crew, But Also Through The Eyes Of A Family Of Third Class Passengers Who Perished In The Disaster, The Narrative Is Drawn Together By Steadman, A Tenacious Boston Journalist Who Does Not Rest Until The Truth Is Found The Midnight Watch Is A Powerful And Dramatic Debut Novel The Result Of Many Years Of Research In Liverpool, London, New York, And Boston, And Informed By The Author S Own Experiences As A Ship S Officer And A Lawyer


10 thoughts on “The Midnight Watch

  1. says:

    On the night of April 15, 1912, Captain Stanley Lord of the SS Californian slept in his chartroom while the RMS Titanic sank as few as eight miles away While the tired captain snoozed on his settee, young 2nd Officer Herbert Stone stood the middle watch He observed eight white rockets explode above a ship visible in the distance He told the captain twice, and was told in turn to signal with the Morse lamp Neither Lord nor Stone did anything , showing a distinctly curious lack of curiosity for rockets exploding at sea This disinterest, this indifference to a jarring lurch away from the normal, is one of the enduring mysteries of Titanic s sinking Indeed, on a night filled with the inexplicable, cloaked in myth and legend, the enigma of Captain Lord casts the most looming shadow I ve thought a lot about Captain Lord And I mean a lot When I was fourteen, I started writing a novel about the Titanic I finished a week before I went away to college As soon as I punched the final period, I hit the print button No proofing No editing Not even a run through the spell check The printer groaningly spit out the 620 single spaced Microsoft Word pages that comprised my magnum opus I stuffed those pages into a clear plastic page holders, and fitted them into a massive three ring binder A short time later, I left home for essentially the last time, carrying my tome with me you know, as a conversation starter During my college years, my parents moved twice The disks that contained my nautical version of War and Peace were lost the computer was tossed All that remained of years worth of labor was my single printed copy, which resembled the building codes for New York City My contribution to Titanic s literary canon It is the only known copywhich is probably for the bestI looked over the passages on Captain Lord to see how I had interpreted the man Surprisingly, I hadn t really explained him at all Of course, I was a teenager when I wrote this thing, and I didn t know crap about people At the same time, I d gone to some effort to glean the internal motivations of everyone from Captain Smith to Irish immigrants to the lowliest coal trimmer Captain Lord eluded me, as he has many others I wrote about what he did, without ever broaching why That is the mystery David Dyer attempts to solve in The Midnight Watch The Midnight Watch styles itself as a novel about the Californian and the Titanic It s important at the outset, however, to state that we barely step foot on the settling teak decks of the luxurious liner We don t meet a grandfatherly Captain Smith or square jawed Lightoller we don t mingle with a nattily dressed and fatalistically minded Ben Guggenheim we don t watch couples split apart on the Boat Deck, or in the case of Isidor and Ida Strauss, determine to stay together We never meet John Jacob Astor, though we get some discussion of his corpse If your expectation is to be thrust into the midst of the most famous shipwreck of all time, you are bound to be disappointed This is not that kind of book The Midnight Watch is a forensic investigation into the soul of a man whose lasting sin was to donothing The SS Californian Crash stopped in an ice field, she stood still while her deck officers enjoyed the light show put on by Titanic s Cotton Powder Company, Ltd socket distress signals The Midnight Watch is told in two different narrative tracks The major storyline is the first person account of the fictional John Steadman, a reporter for the non fictional Boston American Steadman is the body man at the daily tabloid His niche is to wring human interest stories from the dead When he begins telling his story, the Titanic has already touched the bottom of the Atlantic, and he is faced with bodies than he s ever encountered in his career Steadman goes looking for his story, and runs almost by accident into Captain Lord and the officers of the Californian He is immediately suspicious of the close lipped captain and his anxious second officer He begins to tug on a loose thread that will lead him to the revelation that the Californian had front row seats to Titanic s rocket studded demise The other storyline is presented in the third person, focusing on Herbert Stone Dyer covers Stone s fateful midnight watch, when he watched eight white rockets streak skyward and explode over a vessel that Stone himself said looks very queer out of the water her lights look queer Stone is later drawn into Lord s conspiracy of silence, before that veil is pierced by donkeyman Ernest Gill, who also happened to see Titanic s rockets Both Stone and Lord then had to endure the inquiries that opened in the wake of the disaster These proceedings are covered by Steadman The distant Lord remains Sphinx like, shielded by his own prideful rectitude The impressionable Stone, on the other hand, is a man in crisis Steadman sees Stone as his portal to Captain Lord As Steadman pursues his story, at increasing cost to his personal and professional life, his path and storyline eventually crosses with both sailors I didn t know quite what to expect when I picked up The Midnight Watch I was frankly a bit worried Dyer is a former attorney with an obsession with the Titanic I m also an attorney with a Titanic obsession And my book is terrible Turns out, I need to stop projecting.Dyer is a pretty fantastic writer This isn t a good Titanic novel It s a good novel, end stop He creates compelling characters in Steadman, Stone, and the elusive Lord He does a marvelous job of unobtrusively baking the history into the fiction He has a sailor s perception of the sea, and some of his best moments take place with Stone during his long, cold watch on the Californian s bridge This is a taut tale, told in a lean and efficient 319 pages The upside is that this reads quick The downside is that you lose a bit of detail Certain ancillary plotlines, specifically Steadman s relationship with his estranged suffragette wife a character who seems to have walked in from a Sarah Waters novel don t land with much impact For Titanic fans out there, it s worth noting that Dyer has no interest in litigating the Californian controversy There are for the uninitiated out there a faction of Titanic buffs known as Lordites for their fierce and bewildering defense of Captain Lord They argue that the Californian was 20 miles away that Titanic and Californian never saw each other that an unidentified mystery ship interposed itself between the two steamers and that Captain Smith s birth certificate was forged Okay, I made that last one up If you go on Captain Lord s Wikipedia page, you will find that it has been carefully edited by Lordites who have misrepresented various facts, including the results of the 1992 Marine Accident Board Investigation, to support their hero Who, likely than not, would have despised their very existences Captain Stanley Lord, a man fascinatingly unconcerned about rockets bursting midair, in the middle of the nightDyer does not give this contrarian movement even a sidelong glance He has no doubt that Stone saw the Titanic and that Lord was derelict in his response Full disclosure this is a position I share Accordingly, his chief interest is in penetrating Lord s psyche to reveal the decision making process that led him to continue a catnap while 1,500 men, women, and children went into freezing black water at 2 a.m., 400 miles from the coast of Newfoundland, and within visual range of his ship He doesn t give a straight answer, so much as he teases out a subtle theory involving the interplay between Lord and Stone One of the literary conceits that Dyer allows himself is to make Herbert Stone into a Melville fan Throughout the novel, there are references to Moby Dick, with Stone seeing himself as Starbuck to Lord s Ahab When I read this, though, I didn t think of Melville but of Conrad This feels like a Joseph Conrad novel It s so easy to imagine swapping out Steadman for Marlowe The ship, this ship, our ship, is the moral symbol of our life , Conrad wrote in Notes on Life and Letters This could be the thesis statement of The Midnight Watch Stone quails before the moral implications of his inaction Lord is able to go on as before, seemingly untouched It s easy to paint Captain Lord as a villain Historian Daniel Allen Butler has gone so far as to diagnosis him as a sociopath I tend to chalk his behavior up to a bad day Maybe he was tired Maybe his mind was foggy Maybe under different circumstances, he pops right up when Stone calls him, orders the wireless operator to put on his headset, and becomes the hero of the hour Lord s reticence upon discovering Titanic s fate is incontrovertible evidence of his guilty soul He knew he d cocked it up But then something changed in him He changed his narrative.Humans are amazing at rationalizing their own actions When I think back to my biggest mistakes, I see how I managed to justify every step along the way Even when I m totally wrong about something, I can convince myself I m correct I think Lord did this very thing He lied to himself so often that the lie became truth and the truth became his shield I think he died sheathed in his own righteous innocence, convinced he was the last victim of the RMS Titanic.


  2. says:

    Most of us here know about the tragic events of April 14 1912, when the worlds most luxurious ocean liner the Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk in the Atlantic, taking over 1 500 souls to a watery grave But what has not been as well known is the apparent unresponsiveness of another ship, the Californian, that seemingly failed to go to the aid of the stricken liner and its passengers and crew It is these events that is the basis of a powerful and impressive debut novel.Retelling the story of the sinking of the great ship through the eyes of the fictional journalist John Steadman makes for engrossing reading Steadman s desire for the truth sees him come into contact with two men who knew what really happened that night Second officer Herbert Stone on watch, who observed eight rockets fired from another ship, and captain Stanley Lord These rockets and why the captain did not respond after being informed of them by Stone would be the basis for US and British investigations that ruined the captains reputation and his career.Dyer has done a wonderful job with the facts of the day, but the story really comes to life with the determined delving into the character of the second officer and the captain by the heavy drinking reporter, who as he gets older never lingers from his desire to find out why things panned out the way they did and why so many had to die because of their non intervention Writing fiction based on historical events is never an easy task but it is one that the author here has manged with great aplomb The most haunting image of this tragedy is played out stunningly by the fate of the real life Sage family, who poor, were trying to make a better life for themselves in America only to all meet there fates on the Titanic


  3. says:

    4.5 Who knew Who knew that there was another ship nearby that might have been able to warn the Titanic or save her passengers In fact, it seems likely they may have been saved.The movies of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic focus on the flawed magnificence of the ship, the wealthy passengers on the ship s maiden voyage, and the iceberg that caused the disaster But the missed communications were the real cause Not miscommunications Missed Overlooked Overruled.The Californian s wireless operator s warning was hampered, the second officer, who was on the midnight watch and reported the distress rockets, was given short shrift by the captain, who had been asleep, and the Titanic well, we all know what happened next Nearer My God to Thee.At the time, there were news reports and a U.S Senate inquiry into the catastrophe, on which this fictional account is based Fictional, in that John Steadman and his interaction with newspapers and crew members is imagined But the facts are true of which vessels were where and which messages were sent when, in spite of the round robin of finger pointing.And horrifyingly, it is true that there were about the same number of wealthy, influential adult men who were saved in lifeboats as there were lower class children who drowned No, that s not quite right The victims probably only froze to death, rather than drown struggling for air, which is of small comfort to the families waiting for them Think how many children could have been in the lifeboats instead of all those big men.The 1% will prevail and Devil take the hindmost.The author worked as a lawyer at the firm that represented the Titanic s owners after the disaster, so he had access to a wealth of material about the case His website has information available But back to the excellent story John Steadman is a fictional newsman who seems to have made a career out of following the bodies after a tragedy He became something of a minor celebrity after the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in NYC, where so many young women died When he gets wind of something having happened to the Titanic, he races, not with all the other reporters to where the survivors are being brought, but to Boston, to meet the Californian, which is supposed to have retrieved bodies from the ocean But mysteriously, the Californian found no bodies Steadman gets curious He is told to go to the captain s little press conference and get a nice little story Steadman goes Then I saw them four men standing perfectly still, facing the crush, their backs against the bulkhead They were very clearly Englishmen tall, stiff and reserved there was something about these men their stillness, perhaps, or maybe their unimpeachable solidarity that told me at once that something strange had happened on this ship, something than a nice little story We move back and forth between Steadman and his family, the captain of the Californian, the second officer, the Marconi man wireless operator , and some of the crew and their personal back stories The thing that struck me is the youth of the main characters The captain is only 34, the second officer is a baby faced timid man in his early twenties And the wireless operator is fresh out of Marconi school with visions of being a hero someday.Steadman gets to know the various crew members over the years, and in old age, he follows them up again He says other people lost interest in the controversy when the enormity of the Great War struck the world only a couple of years later.He finds the buck passing remains, but he is convinced of the truth of the matter and has convinced me He will convince you, too Bullies and bullying the cause of so much grief in the world.Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin s Press for a copy for review An amazing story Who knew, indeed


  4. says:

    The midnight watch a time of loneliness, demons and trances P215As the Californian sailed through the ice, the decision was made to stop it was 14th April 1912 and not far before midnight The ice was thick and in the darkness the risk of running into an iceberg was high Captain Lord decided it would be prudent to wait until morning before taking the steamer through the ice Second Officer Herbert Stone took over for the midnight watch and at the beginning and during his watch he saw eight rockets firing from a distant ship across the ice When Stone reported his sighting of the rockets to his captain he was told to attempt Morse code to find out who they were and what they wanted When the Boston American newspaper broke the news of the unsinkable but foundering Titanic, John Steadman was the reporter who dug his teeth into the story As he learned of the terrible tragedy, he also learned the Carpathia was steaming to New York with survivors With the initial reports having said everyone on board the Titanic had survived, the shock of knowing that wasn t the case had the whole country the whole world reeling Steadman therefore decided he would meet the Californian when she docked in Boston with the bodies they had retrieved from the site of the tragedy Joining the reporters and seeing the captain and his second officer resolutely denying any knowledge of the Titanic s struggle to save its passengers and crew, Steadman sensed a cover up And so his journey for the truth began From Boston s shore to London he searched for answers Steadman was determined to have Captain Lord admit the truth Would the fifteen hundred souls who had lost their lives on that cold and icy night ever know retribution for the failure of the Californian to act Based on fact, The Midnight Watch by Aussie author David Dyer is a fascinating and involved mystery of the sinking of that unsinkable ship the Titanic Meticulously researched, the characters are the actual people involved in the tragedy John Steadman, reporter and narrator of The Midnight Watch, is fictional, as are a few other characters, but in the main they are drawn from history I was completely engrossed having never heard of the Californian or its proximity to the Titanic The thought of the change in history the fact that many if not all of those lives would most likely have been saved, had only the Californian obeyed the rules of the sea to respond to rockets as they were a call of distress David Dyer has information on his website highly recommended.With thanks to Penguin Random House for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.


  5. says:

    Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, the unsinkable ship, hit and sunk by an iceberg on it s maiden voyage Some may also recall the SS Californian, the ship closest to the Titanic that failed to respond to its distress rockets and arrived too late to save anyone This book explores that story in an almost journalistic way, trying to understand the actions and personalities of those in charge of the Californian at the time Using newspaper reports and accounts from the US Senate and British Inquiries into the disaster, David Dyer has crafted a fictional account of what he thinks could have happened Stanley Lord, the Captain, Herbert Stone, the Second Officer taking the midnight watch when the tragedy occurred and Cyril Evans the wireless operator, are all real characters while journalist John Steadman is ficticious He has previously specialised in telling the stories of victims of disasters so when he hears about the disaster on the Titanic goes looking for ships carrying bodies That the Californian arrives at Boston without any bodies, despite being at the scene of the disaster, puzzles him and his newspaper nose tells him there is a story to be sniffed out.And what a fascinating tale is is too Stanley Lord had stopped the Californian for the night after sailing into an ice field, deciding they would need daylight to see their way through it The lights of another ship were visible in the distance, also apparently stopped Herbert Stone, taking the midnight watch was told to keep an eye on it and when he saw it firing eight white rockets reported them to Lord Although white rockets signalled distress at sea, Lord decided to do nothing and the rest is history Dyer tries to delve into the psyche of a captain who could ignore such signals Lord might not have known that the other ship was the Titanic with over 2200 souls on board but surely he should have answered the distress calls anyway This is a well written book that tells a good historical resconstruction of a lesser told side of a disaster that still resounds with us today.


  6. says:

    This was just so,so for me It was fascinating reading about the Titanic from a different perspective, however, it just seemed to go on and on I found myself bored towards the middle I couldn t help but be reminded of Col Nathan R Jessep in the film A Few Good Men when trying to relate to Captain Lord Not a bad read, just could ve been shortened 3.5 stars.


  7. says:

    Since this is a fictionalized account of a true event, I can t review this book properly without spoiling a bit of it for you So stop right now if you don t know that the Titanic sank.Even than 100 years after the fact, people are still reading about the Titanic Authors are still writing about it It might not have been possible if it wasn t for one man, Stanley Lord Stanley Lord was the captain of a small tramp steamer, SS Californian 6223 grt why David Dyer never mentions the ship s weight in this case, volume is beyond me You couldn t tell how big or small a ship is without it, could you But this is a personal thing I have to know the dimensions and weight of a ship I am reading about.Captain Stanley LordSS CalifornianSo, on the night of recklessly sailing under imagination that nothing bad could happen to such a big ship, Titanic hit an iceberg Before it did, Californian s Marconi wireless operator, Cyril Evans, sent a message for ships in vicinity to warn them that the Californian was surrounded by ice Titanic s reply, Shut up shut up shut up I m working Cape Race By working Cape Race, what the wireless operator on Titanic, Jack Philips, actually meant was that he was transmitting messages for his first class passengers for shits and giggles Piqued, the Marconi operator of Californian went to sleep Stanley Lord, the captain of the Californian was on the bridge at that time He had been there for 17 hours straight At 12 o clock, second officer Herbert Stone came to the bridge for his midnight watch 12 to 4 The captain showed him a ship a few miles away supposedly Titanic and told him to keep a watch on it I should also mention that Lord had already ordered Californian to stop for the night as they were surrounded by an ice field Then Lord went down to his cabin to get some sleep.Second Officer Herbert StoneMeanwhile Titanic had already struck an iceberg before 12 o clock , so they fired a white colored distress rocket as per maritime laws Stone immediately saw it He didn t contact his captain Titanic fired a total of 8 rockets that night After the sixth one, Stone reluctantly contacted his captain and said that the other ship was firing rockets The captain asked him whether they were company signals Stone said he wasn t sure Captain told him to make sure by contacting the ship with Morse lamp, not wireless Stone tried, but he was unable to get a reply The captain of the Californian was told about the rockets three times that night He didn t wake his Marconi operator He didn t come up to the bridge Stone didn t try to convince his captain to come up to the bridge As a result, 1500 people died The two ships were so close that if Stanley Lord had tried to contact the other ship on that night immediately, it is possible that nobody on the Titanic would have died So what actually went down in history as one of the most awful tragedies at sea in peacetime, might have just ended up being an acute embarrassment only for the ship owners Nothing else Your unsinkable ship sank Everybody had to be rescued by a little ship Ha ha ha But that didn t happen And why it might not have happened that night is the basis of this book by David Dyer The chapters alternate between first person and third person narratives The first person narrator is a fictional character created by Dyer, Steadman, who is a reporter Steadman has created his niche in reporting on the morbid aspects of a tragedy Dead bodies, to be precise Steadman, bit by bit, learns that something went wrong on that night on the Californian, so he starts chasing that part of the story The chapters written in third person describes the events that happened on the Californian Here, the author, David Dyer, shows his writing chops and really brings the two main personalities of Stanley Lord and Herbert Stone to life Dyer writes about Stone s physically abusive father, and also about Lord s partially hidden contempt for Stone Dyer also follows the inquiries held immediately after the disaster, both in Washington and London The statements given by the people involved in the tragedy to the inquiries are included verbatim David Dyer, aware that none of the third class passengers got any reportage after the tragedy, through his reporter Steadman, provides a heart rending but fictionalized account of a real family of 11 that died that night in the freezing waters of the Atlantic.But what really frustrates a reader is the question that why the Californian didn t respond to Titanic s distress signals Dyer, though has tried his best, couldn t provide a clear cut answer Because there isn t one.But the author strongly suggests that as a result of his personal dislike of Second Officer Herbert Stone, Captain Stanley Lord didn t take the warning seriously He wanted to test his officer He wanted Stone to earn his keep first, so to speak On the other hand, Herbert Stone seemed to have even less confidence in himself than the Captain had in him but to be fair, Stone was not incompetent.At the press conference and at the inquiries, Stanley Lord treated his failure to respond as a mere technicality, as if the loss of 1500 lives meant nothing He showed no remorse, or guilt and didn t even seem sad at least in public It might be possible that he was just trying to save his face, thinking that anything he did after all those people died wasn t going to bring them back anyways.The events of the Californian in relation with the Titanic would always make one think about certain things Why did Herbert Stone waited for 6 rockets to be fired before informing his captain Why did Stanley Lord asked him if they were company signals, even though everyone knew that white rockets only meant a cry for help Why didn t Herbert Stone admit that they weren t company signals when asked by his captain Why did Lord didn t wake his wireless operator to contact the ship in distress And at last, in defence of Lord and the Californian, one should also consider What would have happened if Titanic s wireless operator had immediately reported to the bridge that Californian had transmitted that they were surrounded by ice And this was not a singular warning Other ships sent messages in the same vein.Stanley Lord had stayed on duty for 17 hours straight and then went to rest in his cabin Was it possible that due to lack of sleep his mind wasn t able to fully process the information that was relayed to him There is no way now to find any clear answers But what one can do is read this book It definitely adds something to the Titanic lore.


  8. says:

    The Midnight Watch A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian is a fictional novel written based on the facts of the tragedy that happened on April 14, 1912 with the loss of 1500 lives when the Titanic ran into an iceberg and sunk A lot of the facts and characters are true with a bit of embellishment on some of the story The novel focuses on the Californian, a ship that was the closest to the Titanic at the time of the tragedy but did not respond to the distress flares that were sent up A journalist that specialized in writing up stories of death and tragedy is determined to get to the truth of what happened that night and why lives couldn t have been saved Anyone who knows me knows that I m a sucker for picking up books based on true events and the story of the Titanic is no exception What I truly enjoyed with this novel was it focused on a different angle than the one you usually see The Californian with it s crew had stopped for the night very near where the Titanic hit and had even sent warnings over the radio that the ice was bad but they never responded and helped when the tragedy happened One thing I can t say about this novel is that I loved the characters, it was impossible not to really be totally disgusted with the events and the crew on the Californian especially Caption Lord Of course when you re reading about an event where 1500 lives are lost and think that maybe something could have been done to change the outcome then it s understandable to not like this crew Otherwise, the novel was well written and certainly and interesting read Would recommend checking this one out if you enjoy fiction based on true events I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.For reviews please visit


  9. says:

    There have been many novels written about Titanic, but it is rare to find something which looks at events from a different angle However, this is certainly an unusual look at the disaster, which centres on the actions of the S.S Californian on the night Titanic went down For those who are not familiar with what happened, the Californian was actually the nearest ship to Titanic that night, but it was the RMS Carpathia who reached the site of the disaster first and rescued any survivors The novel begins on the S.S Californian, where we are introduced to the crew on board It is known that the Californian had tried to warn nearby ships that they were in heavy ice and had taken the precaution of stopping for the night It is also known that Titanic s wireless operator had told the Californian wireless operator to stop blocking his signal although, as the Californian wireless operator later says in this book, his virtually telling him to be quiet, was quite normal among wireless operator s on different ships Having felt he had done his job, the Californian s wireless operator went off to bed.Still, there was still the second officer of the Californian on the bridge and on the midnight watch of the title This is obviously fiction and, so there are some differences to the results of a later inquiry into what happened that night In this novel, it is Second Officer Herbert stone who spies the distress rockets from what he believes to be a large ship Captain Lord, although contacted, fails to act and, when the ship finally does go to investigate, it is too late to render any assistance and Carpathia has already picked up any survivors from the stricken ship.Central to this novel is a journalist called John Steadman A man whose young baby son died, leaving to the breakup of his marriage Steadman is a man who looks to drink, and to the dead, for solace Having made something of a name for himself writing about disasters and death, the story of Titanic, when it breaks, leads him to travel to where the unglamorous, Californian docks He believes the ship should have bodies and is hoping to write a story around them What he finds is a ship that has a conflicting story about how close they were to the disaster, a sense of nervousness among the crew and absolutely no bodies Steadman though, can spot a story and uncovers what happened on that night His final story tells not only the story of the Californian, but that of a third class family and what happened to them on Titanic This was a gripping novel, with excellent characterisation and a good sense of place and time Steadman, and one or other characters in the novel, are fictional but, of course, the events of that night were all too real I felt this was an excellent read, which has much to offer book clubs, as there is so much to discuss Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.


  10. says:

    This is an exciting and at times toward the end of the book emotionally draining, work of fiction retelling of the story of the Titanic but largely from the point of view of the Californian, the ship that never went to help them.This story is told from the points of view of John Steadman, a reporter working on the case who becomes obsessed with understanding the reason the Californian never responded to the Titanic s distress rockets Steadman is a fictional characters but he makes a good vehicle for the story, despite this it is Steadman that lost me than once in the first parts of the book I cannot quite rate this as five stars, the ending is brilliant and makes up for the dithers of the early part but still I found the whole you will be fired from the newspaper if you pursue this story theme, annoying It is an exciting story it didn t need to contort into that sort of extra personal sacrifice dynamic tension The addition of a suffragette daughter and wife, well it sets it in it s times, but again, I did not feel it advances the story and I got impatient with this part This writing however, with it s dramatic tension and background will probably appeal to many people.The interpretation of what we will never really know why the Californian did nothing, I actually found the human explanation likely and quite touchingly sad The descriptions of night at sea were also incredibly evocative of the loneliness and isolation that one can feel and how the things you know, you trained for, they can save you and others But the isolation can breed uncertainty, so I found the slow buildup of events fascinating in that way.The research and the historical detail were amazing, and the representation of the inquiries both in America and England were brilliant The last chapter, Eight White Rockets where Dyer as Steadman tells the story of the sinking through the eyes of a single steerage class family completely brilliant


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