ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK -----
On the night the Titanic
sank, another ship, the Californian
, saw her distress flares but did not respond. Her captain, Stanley Lord, denied that he was informed of any such rockets, testimony contradicted in the official enquiries afterwards. This carefully detailed novel alternates between the first person account of journalist John Steadman, who suspects Lord is concealing the truth, and a third person narrative concerning the second officer, Herbert Stone, who was on the midnight watch and who saw the rockets flower in the still dark night. Steadman is an alcoholic who has never recovered from the death of his infant son and is driven to seek justice for the unregarded victims; Stone is portrayed as a man with romantic views of loyalty, seeking approval from a captain who only considers him with contempt. As Steadman pursues the story he knows is there, Stone increasingly struggles to remember what actually happened on that fateful night. A strong historical novel that portrays the times and the tragedy of the Titanic
with vivid detail. Lindy Jones
David Dyer's astonishing novel The Midnight Watch is based on the true story of the SS Californian, the ship that saw the Titanic's distress rockets and yet, unfathomably, did nothing. A psychological thriller.
Sometimes the smallest of human failings can lead to the greatest of disasters. As the Titanic was sinking slowly in the wretchedly cold North Atlantic, she could see the lights of another ship on the horizon. She called for help by Morse lamp and the new Marconi telegraph machine, but there was no response. Just after midnight the Titanic began firing distress rockets.
The other ship, the Californian, saw these rockets but didn't come. Why not?
When the story of the disaster begins to emerge, it's a question that Boston American reporter John Steadman cannot let go. As soon as he lays eyes on the Californian's captain and second officer, he knows a story lurks behind their version of events. So begins his strange journey towards the truth. Haunted by the fifteen hundred who went to their deaths in those icy waters, and by the loss of his own baby son years earlier, Steadman must either find redemption in the Titanic's tragedy or lose himself.
Based on true events, The Midnight Watch is at once a heart-stopping mystery and a deeply knowing novel – about the frailty of men, the strength of women, the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty.