image lifeboat searches for survivors of the Titanic disaster

Historical Fiction

A Brittle Sea Book Extract

The scene of debris, bodies, capsized-boats, flotsam, and a mass of small icebergs scattered across a wide expanse of freezing Ocean sent a chill down Blackmore’s spine. It wasn’t the chill of the cold; it was the chill of desperation those people experienced in their last moment before a cold death took them. It was an unworldly scene, almost like a surreal painting. Everywhere he looked was as still and silent as a grave. Blackmore nodded to himself, realising that was exactly what he was looking at. The Titanic was now at the bottom of the Ocean and with it were the lost souls who perished with her. Another vessel, the Carpathia, had been on the scene but had already departed for New York with the survivors. Blackmore had been tasked with searching for more survivors if that were possible in this frozen and lifeless scene before him.

The telegraph operator had brought Blackmore more bad news, news that made Blackmore seriously doubt the usefulness of the new telegraph technology.

“Let me understand what you are saying, Mr Archer. The message we received was a day older than it said. And you are saying somebody else sent this message, not the Carpathia?”

Archer stood his ground but was instinctively feeling like a schoolboy up before the headmaster. “It was very confusing with a lot of extraneous chatter, sir. It was hard to understand what was going on. It could have been Carpathia, even the California who insisted they had warned Titanic about the icebergs, sir.”

“So, this disaster was never going to be anything other than a disaster. We could not have got here any sooner because what warning we received was garbled and unhelpful, at the very least?”

“Aye, Captain.”

Extracted from The Brittle Sea.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2020


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