Dead Men Paperback – 15 Mar 2012
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
In this novel, (which is of course also largely a factual account, using information available at the time and later) he charts that fatal journey undertaken by Scott, Wilson, Oates ‘Birdie’ Bowers and Evans, not to mention what was a devastating discovery by the British team, when they reached the Pole, to discover the Norwegian, Amundsen, had got there first. Scott’s party all died on the journey back.
The explorers, over the century , have achieved iconic status; they failed (in being the first to reach the Pole) and the mystery of their deaths (understandable, given the harshness and danger of the venture) has come to stand for a certain kind of brave, against the odds, heroism in pursuit of an ideal not always understandable to others.
Pierce’s book worked well with these aspects
What did not work for me was the modern, fictional story. ‘Birdie’ Bowers is a young artist, quite tortured, quite flaky and terrifyingly vulnerable. She is obsessed by the original Birdie Bowers, whom she was named for, as her dead father was obsessed by him. By chance she meets an older man, Adam, someone with some demons of his own – a history of failed love affairs, some challenges with social communication, who works in some kind of rather nebulous freelance IT field. Adam falls immediately for the flaky Birdie and comes to share her interest and obsession (as part of that falling in love) He is cast, within the book as an impossibly high minded knight in shining armour.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book - beautifully written, with adventure, romance, storylines that operate on several different scales, and characters that capture the imagination. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Anna Bass
Enjoyed it so much the first time that I will definitely be reading it again sometime soon.Published 13 months ago by Merryn
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 morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 25 April 2014 by DecodingStatic
First - the non-fictional context of the book, for those unfamiliar with it. 2014 has witnessed a first in Antarctica. Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2014 by John Brain
This was a Book Group recommendation and unfortunately I couldn't attend on the night so have no idea how others felt. Read morePublished on 27 Nov. 2013 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 11 July 2013 by Beegirl
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