Author(s): Rene Goscinny
David Dyer's astonishing novel The Midnight Watchis based on the true story of the SS Californian, the ship that sawtheTitanic'sdistress rockets and yet, unfathomably, did nothing. A psychological thriller.
Sometimes the smallest of human failings can lead to the greatest of disasters
On a wretchedly cold night in the North Atlantic, a steamer stopped in an icefield sees the glow of another ship on the horizon. Just after midnight the first of eight distress rockets is fired. Why did theCalifornian look on while theTitanicsank?
As soon as Boston Americanreporter John Steadman lays eyes on the man who stood the midnight watch on the Californian, he knows there's another story lurking behind the official one. Herbert Stone must have seen something, and yet his ship did nothing while the calamity took place. Now Stone, under his captain's orders, must carry his secret in silence, while Steadman is determined to find it out.
So begins a strange dance around the truth by these three men. Haunted by the fifteen hundred who went to their deaths in those icy waters, and by the loss of his own baby son years earlier, Steadman must either find redemption in the Titanic's tragedy or lose himself.
Based on true events, The Midnight Watchis at once a heart-stopping mystery and a deeply knowing novel - about the frailty of men, the strength of women, the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty.
Jean-Jacques Sempe (b.1932) is one of the world's most successful illustrators and cartoonists. He is the illustrator of the classic children's-book character, Nicholas, and author of a collection of some thirty albums of his cartoons and graphic novels, all published or to be published by Phaidon. His world-renowned illustrations and cartoons are featured on the cover of the New Yorker and in Paris Match. Rene Goscinny (1926 - 1977) is the world-famous writer and creator, along with Albert Uderzo, of the adventures of Asterix the Gaul. Born in Paris, Goscinny lived in Buenos Aires and New York before returning to France in the 1950s where he met Jean-Jacques Sempe. They collaborated on picture strips and then stories about Nicholas, the popular French schoolboy. An internationally successful children's author who also won awards for his animated cartoons, Goscinny died in 1977. Anthea Bell was awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize (USA) in 2002 for her translation of W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. Her many works of translation from French and German (for which she has received several other awards) include the Nicholas books and, with Derek Hockridge, the entire Asterix the Gaul saga by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.