'Sometimes the smallest of human failings can lead to the greatest of disasters
'On a wretchedly cold night in the North Atlantic, a steamer stopped in an icefield sees the glow of another ship on the horizon. Just after midnight the first of eight distress rockets is fired. Why did the Californian look on while the Titanic sank?
'As soon as Boston American reporter John Steadman lays eyes on the man who stood the midnight watch on the Californian, he knows there's another story lurking behind the official one. Herbert Stone must have seen something, and yet his ship did nothing while the calamity took place. Now Stone, under his captain's orders, must carry his secret in silence, while Steadman is determined to find it out.
'So begins a strange dance around the truth by these three men. 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.' (Publication summary)
'Precisely why the story of the Titanic continues to exercise such a powerful hold on the collective imagination is a fascinating question. The answer lies, at least in part, in the way it simultaneously enacts and contradicts a series of fantasies about the passing of the Gilded Age, setting the hubris of the ship’s owners’ claims about its unsinkability against the images of doomed nobility and chivalry that are embodied in the image of the band playing on as the ship slid beneath the waves... Dyer isn’t the first writer to venture into this territory, although as a former ship’s officer and lawyer who spent many years working in the London firm that represented the Titanic’s owners, he may be the most qualified' (James Bradley).
Host Jennifer Byrne joins regular panelists Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger, and guests Omar Musa and Rosie Waterland to discuss and review the international book A Million Little Pieces and Australian novel, The Midnight Watch by David Dyer.