The Midnight Watch

The Midnight Watch

By  David Dyer

Based on true events, The Midnight Watch is at once a heart-stopping mystery and a deeply knowing novel — frailty of men, the strength of women, the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty.

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.

‘Just when you thought nothing else could be salvaged from the wreck of the Titanic, Dyer has excavated a beautifully sad story about the terrible cost of one moment of pride. You will have no idea just how good The Midnight Watch is until you have read the last page.’ Malcolm Knox, The Age

'Engrossing historical fiction . . . such an assured debut.' Stephen Romei, Weekend Australian

'We know the gist of this story so well by now, embedded as it is in western mythology, so there must be something pretty special going on with the writing of this book when you are reading it thinking: 'Maybe the boat won't sink! Maybe a rescue party will get there in time!'' Alison Huber, head buyer, Readings

'Steadman spares no efforts in his pursuit of the truth, and we cannot help but follow him through this affecting tale that brings to life a world reeling from tragedy in the midst of fresh class disruption and the beginnings of the feminist movement. This excellent historical novel pushed me into new territory . . . [The Midnight Watch] is a novel that is disarming, compelling and, most importantly, compassionate.' Chris Gordon, Readings Event Manager

'A gripping, expertly written tale.' Canberra Times

'A new take on [the Titanic] story that is utterly compelling. This is Dyer's debut novel and he writes with a reporter's passion for detail, while his sensitive cast of flawed storytellers paints a whole new world . . . Dyer's search for the truth has a thriller's edge.' Australian Women's Weekly

'David Dyer has a reporter's ear for story, a detective's nose for motive, and an artist's eye for detail . . . A gripping novel of flawed people, missed chances, and suspense.' Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

'A fascinating novel. David Dyer has captured all the drama and emotion of the Titanic disaster from an intriguing new perspective. Clever, gripping and utterly compelling. Historical fiction at its very best.' Hazel Gaynor, author of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets

'In The Midnight Watch, David Dyer makes the story of the sinking of the Titanic brand new – he even makes you wonder what will happen. This superb novel, the disaster we think we know, comes freshly alive through its unfamiliar point of view, and David Dyer's vivid eye for the right and telling detail.' Peter Nichols, author of The Rocks

'Dyer proves why sometimes it takes fiction to answer history's question of 'How could this happen?' A compelling read and a journey through this moment in time.' Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer

Format & Editions

Paperback

9780143783466

February 27, 2017

Penguin (AU Adult)

RRP $22.99

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Trade Paperback

9781926428727

February 29, 2016

Hamish Hamilton (AU Adult)

RRP $32.99

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EBook

9781760141653

February 29, 2016

Penguin eBooks (AU Adult)

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Awards & Recognition

2017

Indie Book Awards

Longlisted

2017

Australian Book Industry Awards

Longlisted

2016

Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards

Commended

2016

Queensland Literary Awards

Shortlisted