I'm thrilled to be hosting the final day of the blog tour for Lindsay Galvin's extraordinary new historical fiction book for children. 'Call of the Titanic' is absolutely sensational story-telling with a rich and captivating blend of history, survival and myth. It's vivid, fascinating and gut-wrenchingly exciting.
What makes this stand out, when there has been so much written about the Titanic, is that the focus here is on the much smaller steam liner, the Carpathia, which was the vessel to come to the Titanic's aid and rescue the passengers stranded on the life boats. As a stowaway on the Carpathia, Clara makes for a brave and rebellious main character, proving she has more to offer than just bad behaviour. She befriends a beast of a dog, Rigel - probably one of the most memorable dogs in recent children's fiction! Somehow Lindsay Galvin weaves together their story with the Titanic's sinking, told through the eyes of young cabin steward, Sid, with the myth of sea serpents too! This different perspective of historical events, with a dash of aquatic fantasy, makes for such a wonderful and absorbing story.
As always, Lindsay Galvin has such a talent for evoking the past in glorious, vivid detail, and with 'Call of the Titanic' she exceeds expectations. Details of both the Carpathia and the Titanic are brilliantly described, but aspects of myth and pure invention are rendered just as richly too: I utterly believed in the sea serpent as much as did with Rigel's antics and the colossal descriptions of the Titanic's final hours. Linday Galvin also cleverly riffs on real-life characters, imagining what they might have been like. For example, Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia is such a brilliant, heroic figure and I adored his interactions with Clara. That such a character believed in sea serpents in real-life, makes his fictional echo all the more compelling.
'Call of the Titanic' is a fiercely imagined epic; a potent and mesmerising mix of real history, imagined history and myth. What a ride! With Dan Smith's excellent 'The Wall Between US' out too, Chicken House publishers are cornering the market in brave and powerful historical fiction.
Thank you to Laura Smythe and Chicken House for including me on this blog tour.