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Dead Men [Paperback]

Richard Pierce
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

15 Mar 2012
Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man's name. Her parents had been fascinated by Henry 'Birdie' Bowers, one of Captain Scott's companions on his ill-fated polar expedition. A hundred years after the death of Bowers and Scott, she sets out to discover what really happened to them... The discovery of Captain Scot's body in the Antarctic in November 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But one mystery remains - why did he and his companions spend their last ten days in a tent only 11 miles from the safety of a depot that promised food and shelter? Dead Men tells the story of two paths. One is a tragic journey of exploration on the world's coldest continent, the other charts a present-day relationship and the redemptive power of love.

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (15 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715642960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715642962
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Pierce was born in Doncaster in 1960. He has lived in 21 different places since, including London, Cambridge, Germany and Norway. He still prefers moving around to staying still.

Educated in England and Germany, he speaks English, German, and Norwegian, which can be confusing for those around him, but helps with research for his writing. He administers 3 grant-making charities.

Richard has lived in Suffolk since 2006, and has no immediate plans to leave. He is married, has four children, a cat, a rusty 1966 Triumph Spitfire, a collection of epees, and thousands of books in boxes.

He also writes poetry and paints.

Product Description


Dead Men describes the peculiar pull of the tragedy of Robert Falcon Scott … Fascinating --Telegraph

An expertly told story that captures the detail and spirit of Antarctic adventure, then and now --Sir Ranulph Fiennes

About the Author

Richard Pierce was born in Doncaster and educated in Germany and St John's College, Cambridge. He now lives in Suffolk with his wife Marianne and four children. Dead Men is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
One hundred years ago, Robert Falcon Scott and four other men left the other members of the Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica and set out to claim the South Pole. When they arrived there on 19 January 1912, they discovered that the Norwegian explorer Roald Admundsen had beaten them to it by a mere matter of days. Neither Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Oates or Evans survived the arduous trek back to their comrades.

A century later in London, a young artist Birdie Bowers, named by her parents in honour of their famous and tragic relative Henry `Birdie' Bowers, is obsessed with finding the tent in which the frozen remains of Scott, Bowers and Wilson were discovered and buried a short time after their deaths. The tent was located just eleven miles from a food depot. Birdie believes that the answer to the mystery of why Scott couldn't reach this safety lies buried in the ice with him. His diary and those of the other men had been rescued but they didn't provide the answers Birdie seeks, just tantalising glimpses of five men descending into their fate.

Adam Caird is the man who has fallen in love with Birdie, a woman he has taken upon himself to rescue and love and so escort to the other side of the world. Neither of them were looking for love and both find it difficult to speak its language but, as they prepare for their expedition to the South Pole, they learn as much about each other as they do about the men they are trying to find. When they finally reach Antarctica and face true isolation and real danger, they realise how impossible it would be to survive without the other.

For life, love, fear and death are the themes of Dead Men.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel 28 Dec 2012
I enjoyed Dead Men very much. Initially uncertain if the contemporary strand of the story could prove as compelling as the interwoven polar scenes of a century ago (which bring Scott's ill-fated expedition palpably to life), as the book progressed I became just as intrigued by Adam and Birdie, an apparently ill-matched pair, and where their relationship would lead. It also became clear that, to work as a novel rather than simply another historical account, the story needed a contemporary narrative and characters to lend it perspective, contrast and relevance to readers today.

Birdie in particular - a kind of wilful female Banksy who happens to share the name of one of Scott's perished colleagues and whose obsession to visit Antarctica and discover their long-buried tent drives much of the narrative - is a genuinely original, complex and fascinating creation. Never predictable, or even that likeable, it is to Pierce's credit that we understand Adam's attraction to her nonetheless, that she remains the central force in the book and that we turn the pages eagerly as their own journey unravels.

The author's dialogue, his ability to evoke the harshness and beauty of the polar landscape, and to keep the story moving briskly forward, are especially noteworthy. I can thoroughly recommend Dead Men as an excellent first novel and look forward to seeing what he produces next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Setting, Warm Heart 20 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, a confession: I'm not interested in history. I know that makes me a Really Bad Person in lots of people's eyes, but I can't help it; I'm only interested in now and the future. Yet I found this book utterly compelling. The quality of the writing drew me in straight away, and I enjoyed the choreography of the dance between past and present. I enjoy travel writing, and the different locations were beautifully drawn. And I loved the characters. There seems such a vogue for unsympathetic characters in literary books at present, which may be great art but I simply don't want to spend time with them. But Adam and Birdie, Nev and Welland, even the more minor characters like Helge, were all such interesting people that I read more and more slowly as I got closer to the end of the book, because I didn't want it to end.

I could perhaps have deducted one point of a star here or there for a sentence that had room for improvement, or for a momentary lack of clarity - for example, I still don't understand what happened to Adam near the end of the book (I won't say more; no spoilers in this review). But I enjoyed the book so much that I can't summon the will to be picky.

Birdie says, at one point, 'If you visualise something - doesn't matter if you're writing or painting - you're much more likely to be able to take your audience with you. If you just make something up that you don't really believe in, then it doesn't mean a thing.' This book is fully and beautifully visualised, and what's more, it has a heart suffused with compassion. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Men 8 May 2012
By Mick H
This book as the Authors debut piece is a truly remarkable work.
I am not a very literary individual and as a rule I am not a great reader, however, this book captured me totally and completely from its very beginning.
The dual story lines and deeply moving account of the harsh and grim condition of the Antarctic 100 years ago was completely captivating.
I was held spellbound by this work from the first word to the last.
I reccomend this exceptional piece of work to you. You will not be disappointed.
I am eagerly awaiting more work from this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't let me down!
As a bit of a Scott nut, I’m always on the lookout for new literature about him and the now fatal Terra-nova exhibition. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. J. M. Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book x
Published 2 months ago by Christine McDermott
5.0 out of 5 stars As alive as I imagine the ice of Antarctica to be.
Dead Men by Richard Pierce lured me in rather like when I first saw photos of the great expanse of ice that is Antarctica. Read more
Published 6 months ago by DecodingStatic
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the most inviting of titles
First - the non-fictional context of the book, for those unfamiliar with it. 2014 has witnessed a first in Antarctica. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John Brain
5.0 out of 5 stars Scott and the Antarctic
This was a Book Group recommendation and unfortunately I couldn't attend on the night so have no idea how others felt. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Colliding Worlds
I love it when worlds that are completely separate from each other collide. I had such an experience in reading `Dead Men' and finding in the pages of this book a number of ways... Read more
Published 15 months ago by beegirl
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Compelling Read
Compelling to say the least.

Meticulously researched, the author really creates the feeling that one is there just as Scott and his men were on their ill-fated trip. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jonathan Lee
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I was alerted to the book, as I'm sure many others will be, through an interest in Scott and Amundsen. Read more
Published 21 months ago by CMJ Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars I've always been more of a Shackleton girl, myself....
.... but this book has well and truly sparked my interest in Scott, and Amundsen, too - I will have to go and get books about them, instead of reading all about Shackleton... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Terry Tyler, author
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Debut Novel
Do not read this book if you are boring, staid and without true human emotion. If you do choose to read it, then ignore the 2-star review. Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2012 by Nick
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