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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2016
This was dreadful. I struggled through the first chapter, checked a couple of later areas to see if it improved (it didn't) and then consigned it to the waste basket where it belongs.
Some people have a genuine gift for writing and this 'author' (Dan James is not his/her real name) simply does not have it. There are just no descriptions of people or places. The first chapter features the hero 'Beck' and a handful of other policemen, yet even by the end of the chapter I had no idea of any of their physical appearances or personalities at all. Unbelievable!
'Then comes 'Martha' the female reporter. Were there female reporters in 1912? From what I've read women in 1912 did not have proper jobs and were completely subservient to men. Rich women got married and poor women were servants. Modern books are able to have female heroines as that is what life is like now but it wasn't the same in 1912. This is supposed to be set in an entirely different era but has been written by someone in 2012 who appears completely ignorant of what life was like a hundred years ago.
It has also been set on board the Titanic in an attempt to try and make it interesting and completely failed. Likewise, simply putting famous people like Bruce Ismay, JJ Astor and Captain Smith in the book to conjure interest does not work either.
Apparently the author used to be a journalist for various newspapers. He/she should really stick to that because they have no talent for writing stories, especially when they are supposed to be in a historical setting.
I'm glad I only paid £2.81 for this secondhand and that's a lot more than it's worth.
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on 18 February 2014
It is always difficult to write a novel surrounding the Titanic as we know what ultimately happens. The secret must be to weave a tale around the incident. Dan James has done this with true events with the basis of The Siege of Sidney Street being the trigger force for the story. This is very much a holiday read, and once read probably to go to the charity shop, but James has done his research, and produced a very plausible novel with an interesting ending.
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on 30 April 2012
Published to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (15 April 1912), Dan James has woven an entertaining fictional account of the maiden voyage of the great ship and the events leading up to the collision with an iceberg that fateful night.

On board the Titanic, travelling in first class along with the dignitaries and well-heeled, we have Martha Heaton, journalist, sent across the Atlantic by her American newspaper to cover the ship's maiden voyage and dig up some stories about the ship's first class passengers. Another first class outsider is ex-Special Branch detective Arthur Beck. Arthur has encountered some troubles in his career and in his personal life and is escaping London to start a new life in the States.

Beck has boarded the Titanic for a change of direction and a fresh start, but when the ship takes on passengers in France Beck soon believes he has seen an extremely dangerous wanted criminal board the ship. He must act. Martha and Beck, journalist and detective, strike up a cautious friendship despite professional tensions from their jobs and differing motives aboard the ship. Can they work together to apprehend this dangerous man... before time runs out...?

It's a well-written novel with an engaging plot and characters. The sinking of the ship (don't worry - I don't think that's a plot-spoiler!!) and the ending of the novel both feel a bit rushed in the writing - hence 4 starts - but I would still recommend it as a light entertaining read, with a well-researched historical background.
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on 8 May 2012
There was a time in America (and in Britain, too, I suspect) when, if you'd asked folks what they knew about the sinking of the RMS Titanic, you would have drawn a blank.
Yes, I know that's hard to believe, but it's absolutely true.
In the four decades that passed after she took her two-mile plunge to the floor of the North Atlantic, other tragedies of greater note, including two World Wars and a worldwide flu epidemic, gradually erased the disaster from public consciousness and, by the early 1950's, had caused it to be largely forgotten.
That changed radically in 1955, with the publication of Walter Lord's smash bestseller, "A Night to Remember", a book in which he compiled the first moment-by-moment account of the disaster based on scores of interviews with passengers who survived it.
Lord's book, and the film that followed, had an impact that led to an awakening of interest on the part of, oceanographers, playwrights, filmmakers and other writers.
Robert Ballard, who discovered the vessel's wreckage in 1985, once remarked that Lord's book was the beginning of his fascination with the sinking and one of his inspirations to undertake the search.
Meredith Wilson cited the book as an influence to undertake his 1960 musical, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", later a movie.
In 1997, "Titanic" opened on Broadway and won five Tony awards.
In that same year, James Cameron released his epic film with a completely different story, but with the same title.
And there are currently 239 paperbacks available for sale, on Amazon, that deal with the disaster.
So did we really need another one?
Actually, we did. And my thanks go out to Dan James who has written it.
The book is called "Unsinkable", and it combines meticulous research (the author is a seasoned journalist) with rich imagination (he's also a best-selling fiction author).
James begins his tale with two factual incidents the "Houndsditch Murders" and the "Sydney Street Siege", both of which occurred in London, both of which involved the killing of policemen and in both of which a Latvian revolutionary criminal by the name of Peter Piaktow (or or Piatkov, Pjatkov, Piaktoff) was implicated - but never caught.
What if, James surmises, Piaktow (dubbed Peter the Painter by the press of the time) attempted to escape to America aboard the Titanic? And what if a Special Branch officer desperate to apprehend him also sailed on that same ship? And what if he teamed-up with an attractive lady, an American reporter whose easy ways he found quite enchanting?
It all makes for a cracking good read.
And, even though we know from the outset what's going to happen to the ship, James still manages to supply us with a totally unexpected surprise ending.
I immensely enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it.
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on 24 May 2013
I borrowed this book from the library after reading this writer's genealogical detective stories and really enjoying them. But unfortunately I never felt too enthusiastic about this novel. I liked the characters of Arthur Beck and Martha Heaton but because I had already read quite a lot about the Titanic and its passengers, the sinking and inquiry, it often seemed too descriptive - giving a lot of detail about how to get from A to B on the ship for example, so it felt a bit like reading another non fiction book.

It was very clever to weave two real life events into one novel but not knowing what happened to Peter the Painter in real life meant that I was very disappointed with the ending.

On a practical level, I found the many typographical errors quite distracting. I"d have expected them to be removed before publication.

I am glad I read it, but disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more.
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on 16 April 2012
I loved this book from the start and thought the characters really came to life. The narrative was clever, descriptive and kept me hooked until I'd reached the conclusion. I love anything connected to the Titanic and the author has clearly done his homework with lots of interesting facts woven into the story. I have already recommended this author to all of my friends and hope he releases something else soon.
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on 16 April 2012
I thought I wasn't going to like this book, because the prologue seemed badly written with too many adjectives. I'm glad I persevered though, because I ended up really enjoying it and finding it a great story. I thought the characters were very well drawn, especially my favourite, Martha.
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on 27 April 2012
Read this book on holiday, couldn't put it down. Plenty of action and suspense and you really get to know the characters
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on 14 April 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in a day.I've always been fascinated by Titanic but never really liked the Cameron film. But here the ship and the people on it come to life and you get a real sense of what it was like on board, as well as an extremely satisfying plot and some memorable characters (I really liked the main female character Martha). It's also really well paced and by the time it reaches the end (and yes it still sinks) your heart will be thumping.
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