The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian

David Dyer. St. Martin's, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-08093-6
Debut author Dyer elucidates formerly restricted evidence in his recreation of the confounding evening that the SS Californian watched on while the nearby Titanic sent up eight distress rockets before slowly sinking into the sea. The story itself is bizarre, rife with miscommunications. When Capt. Stanley Lord brings the Californian to a halt, his radio operator warns nearby ships that "We are stopped and surrounded by ice," but the steaming Titanic's operator responds, "shut up shut up shut up keep out" only moments before that passenger vessel's lights go out all at once. Meek second officer Herbert Stone sees the rockets go up, bursting "silently into a delicate shower of stars" one after another, during his graveyard watch, but is fatefully told only to monitor. When Captain Lord and Officer Stone later offer their official accounts, Boston reporter Steadman senses an incomplete truth, and through his pleasantly filigreed voice, their failure to act is exposed during the second half of the novel. Dyer's elegant, imaginative renderings captivate, and his expansive research—including exclusive access to legal documents—makes this colossal disaster newly enthralling. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Ebook - 978-1-4668-9308-5
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-11827-1
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