Review 10: Dead Men by Richard Pierce

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Dead Men by Richard Pierce

About the author

Richard Pierce is an English author who was born in Doncaster and educated in Germany and St John’s College, Cambridge. He now lives in Suffolk with his wife and four children. As well as writing he also paints, administers to two charities and writes poetry.

Blurb

Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man’s name. Her parents had been fascinated by by Henry ‘Birdie’ Bowers, one of Captain Scott’s companions on his ill-fated polar expedition. A hundred years after the death of Bowers and Scott, she sets out to discover what really happened to them…

The discovery of Captain Scott’s body in the Antarctic in November 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But one mystery remains – why did he and his companions spend their last ten days in a tent only 11 miles from the safety of a depot that promised food and shelter?

Dead Men tells the story of the two paths. One is a tragic journey of exploration on the world’s coldest continent, the other charts a present-day relationship and the redemptive power of love.

Review

I was so delighted to receive this book off Richard Pierce to read and review. My first book received from an author to review, as you can imagine I was very excited and it went straight to the top of my to read pile.

I finished this book a few days ago and it has been on my mind ever since, it really has stayed with me. It’s made me think a lot about Scott and the Antarctic expedition and the things done to push one’s self beyond the normal capabilities of the human body. I really can not believe that this is Pierce’s first novel as it is just brilliant. I can really tell that Pierce did a great deal of research for this book and spent a lot of time to perfect the story and intertwine the past and the present together.

The book contains two tales, the tale of Scott and his expedition to the Antarctic and the tale of Birdie and Adam. Birdie who is named after Henry Bowers is obsessed with the Scott expedition and finding out why Scott lost his life and did not make it to the safety of the food depot which was only 11 miles away. This obsession she got from her dad and losing him has made her even more determined to get the answers she seeks. Adam is the other main character who meets Birdie unexpectedly on the train and whose life is changed forever from that day. Birdie and Adam are very different people, Birdie is an artist who has a very artistic temperament and can be difficult to get on with. Adam works with computers and everything is organised and planned in his life, he never does anything out of the ordinary and keeps himself to himself. 

The story shows how Birdie and Adam become friends and help change each other for the better, whilst trying to solve the Scott mystery. 

I really enjoyed how all the way through the book there are flashes back to the past, these sections really moved me and at times almost brought me to tears. Quite often after reading these sections I also just sat and thought about what Scott and his people must have gone through, how alone they must have felt out there on the ice. 

This book is a wonderful read and a beautiful love story and I got to learn some history as well. It really got me interested in the Scott expedition and I fully intend on doing some more reading about Scott and Amundsen. At just under 300 pages this book packs a lot of punch and you get a great deal of content in such a small book. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are a fan of books with history, love and the power of nature.

A massive 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Lady Book Dragon

Review 8: Watermelon Snow by William Liggett

Watermelon Snow by William Liggett

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About the author

William Liggett is an American author who writes climate fiction. He holds a BS in geology, an MA in Education from Stanford University, and a PhD in applied social psychology from New York University. Liggett has experience working as a teacher in schools and colleges, conducted behavioural science studies for IBM, and consulted with health care and educational organisations. He currently lives in Boulder with his wife Nancy and loves the outdoor life.

Blurb

A climate scientist uncovers a long-held secret, triggering a series of tragic events that threaten her research, her career–and the lives of everyone around her.

Review 

I used to enter all the Goodreads giveaways and in total I won four books from them, and I am pleased to say they were excellent books. I really hope they bring the giveaway scheme back soon. I entered every giveaway for this book as I loved the sound of it. Sadly my efforts were left unrewarded, but then I got my Kindle and the first book I actually bought for it was this. I can say with hand held on heart that I do not regret my purchase.

This book had me hooked from the very beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is my first venture into reading the genre climate fiction and I must admit I will be happy to read more of this genre. It was fast paced and I could not put it down, I loved the twists and turns it took with the plot and the characters.

The main character Dr Kate Landry is a climate scientist who has discovered something groundbreaking in the Blue Glacier, in Washington. However she is terrified that her discovery might be stolen and she lose all credit for the amazing find. She must race against time to make her discovery securely hers.

Dr Grant Poole is a scientist who studies behaviour for NASA and is sent to study and observe Kate and her team. Kate finds his presence a threat to her work and so she must keep Grant distracted from the discovery. Grant has secrets of his own and this study is not just for science but for himself as well.

The other three main characters are Frank, Charlie and Alice who are students working under Kate’s supervision on the glacier. However when a strange illness strikes the three of them Kate is left trying to save her team and keep her discovery a secret from the world. She has to accept help from Grant.

Kate’s character was good; she was a strong determined young woman who was determined to further her cause of promoting the damage of climate change and to make sure that she gets the full credit for her discovery. However at certain points in the book Kate’s character wound me up a little, she was very narrow minded and selfish at times and that let the story down. At certain points it was like she did not care about her team at all. Grant’s character balanced Kate’s character out, he was patient, understanding and a problem solver. Kate is good at problem solving when she thinks straight, but her temper lets her down a great deal and if something goes against her plan or idea she will not listen to reason. 

I really liked the layout of the book, each chapter is another day of the expedition, it was like reading a journal, you had the place and date for each day so you knew exactly what was going on. It made me feel like I was reading about a real science expedition. The detail of the characters’ surroundings was also excellent, the details of the glacier made me almost feel like I was there and want to see one in person one day, as they sound incredibly beautiful.

The science that was discussed in the book, the theme of climate change, the team building work all points to Liggett having a good background in these areas. It was all well laid out and realistic.

This was a fabulous read and it kept me on my toes with its twists and turns. The only reason it did not get 5 out of 5 stars was because I struggled with Kate’s character at times, mainly I wanted to shake her and tell her to get into the real world. 

I’m looking forward to reading more climate fiction in the future and I hope it is as good or better. If you have any suggestions please drop me a comment.

4 out of 5 stars.

Lady Book Dragon.