Titanic: Death on the Water by Tom Bradman and Tony Bradman
|Titanic: Death on the Water by Tom Bradman and Tony Bradman|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A good look at a fictional adventure on board the most tragic voyage of all.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: A and C Black|
I'll let you in on the end of this story - she sinks. Of course it would be a travesty if she didn't, and insulting to the 1,517 who died in the disaster. But this is a story of some historical characters, and some invented ones, and of course there's high drama in seeing who is destined to survive. The main invented character is young Billy, who joins up as a bellboy to abandon an apprenticeship at the same shipyards where his own dad died. He's too conscientious, too polite and too brave for one of his more rough 'n' ready colleagues, but when push comes to shove, is it enough?
It's only a slip of a book, so it's interesting to note the collision is about halfway. Before then we get a very competent eye to the world of the Titanic, the labour she gave to Belfast, her grandeur and her class segregation. Billy is a good way for us to see it all, even through the light description and lots of dialogue. Once Billy becomes one of the first on board to see messages regarding iceberg warnings, in his job as runner, you just know he's going to be there to the end.
Look closely and you can see some easy comparisons with the Cameron movie. There's companionship with those in steerage that might well not have been possible, let alone likely. There's people being belligerent in a way that seems to give them no narrative appeal at all. And of course you have to have tense beats regarding onrushing, freezing water, and the fight for lifeboat places atop the disintegrating ship.
But, luckily, Billy and this book are their own beasts. Giving him something to do during the sinking means we can avoid so much of the dying, and have something a lot more heroic, dramatic and affirming. Yes, Billy is a do-gooder, yes, the antagonism is too cheesy, and yes, it could easily have been non-fiction and still a stirring tale, but I liked this. It's a way in for the young as to what really happened, and is a decent race-against time action story, with some pleasant messages easily and lightly given to its target audience.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
A larger and richer book, for a slightly older age bracket, yet starting in a similar way, is Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce.
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