I thought The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer, was going to be a history book but instead, it turned out to be historical fiction. While real people are used some of it is the authors best guess at what happened. I would assume he has also embellished.
Like many, I have always been fascinated by the sinking of the Titanic. When I learned that there was a boat that was very close to her but never came to her assistance, I had to read and find out what happened. This novel follows a fictional writer for a real newspaper. The newspaper that did follow and publish stories about the Titanic at the time. The fictional reporter is out after the truth and follows around Lord and Stone, the captain and first mate of the Californian, the boat that was just miles from the Titanic saw its distress rockets and choice to do nothing. Why???
That is exactly what Dyer tries to answer with this novel. A great way of approaching this question is with historical fiction. I’ve never really been a fan of this genre because I like the facts of things and this genre interweaves fact and fictional storytelling so closely, that is is hard to tell them apart and you can’t trust what you have read as truth, even if some of it is.
Having said this, I think for this book the genre works in Dyer’s favor. For those interested in the story behind the story, I think they will enjoy the book. For my part, I would have been just as happy with a non-fiction book that presented the facts and the author gave us his best guess as to what actually happened. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.