On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing.
As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship's captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.
©2016 David Dyer (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
If you have an interest in Titanic you should get this, even if you think you have read and know everything about the disaster. If your interest in the Titanic is passing or found its high water mark when you watched James Cameron's film, you may be thinking do I need this in my library. Well you do!!
This novel is not so much about the Titanic's lone disaster of failing to see ice burgs or having enough life boats for all the passengers, but instead focusses on the disaster of the California, the infamous ship that was close enough to see Titanic's lights, but failed to answer her eight distress rockets seen by the second mate of the California on his titular midnight watch. The ship was a cruise ship belonging to the same company The White Star Line, Captained by a very capable Englishman of the Merchant Navy. The mystery of why the California failed to come to Titanic's aid is what the book aims to answer.
The story is well written, extremely well researched, the author obviously loves everything maritime and absolutely respects deeply the subject matter as well as the characters both fictional and non fictional, and captures the spirit of the times while never falling into tropes.
A very easy to listen to story from the point of view of a journalist reporting on the Titanic disaster. However he was interested to know more about the Californian, a ship within sight of the Titanic that did nothing to help. I found it quite intriguing and well written and well read.
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