Review: Dead Men by Richard Pierce
I don’t do this very often. Mostly because I don’t get to read half as much as I’d like, but mostly because I post reviews on Goodreads instead of on the blog. However, there’s an exception to every rule and this particular one is going to be broken by Dead Men.
Now, I’ve met a lot of fellow aspiring authors over the internet, mostly on Twitter, and read a LOT of independent work. Some good, some that still needed work. But now and again, I meet someone who really does deserve to be raised above us all; someone who deserves a healthy dose of props/kudos/respect. This post is my little nod to Richard Pierce, who I believe to be worthy of those three things.
Richard has done what many (including myself) aspire to do. He’s been published in the traditional rather than the self-published route. That means that he’s jumped those dreaded hurdles which wake us up at night, in a flop sweat, screaming unhinged syllables into the dark. You say that’s just me? Oh right…sorry. Anyways, he’s made it by hook or by crook, via a collection of poetry and now his book is on the shelves. Congratulations, Richard!
What’s astounding about this story is that I’ve actually found time to read it! Here’s the official blurb:
Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man’s name. Her parents had been fascinated 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 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.
Now what’s interesting, and brilliant about Dead Men is right there in the blurb. This is not only a story about one of the greatest feats in human exploratory history, but its about the smaller event of two people falling in love. If you’re expecting a long-winded, overly glamourous re-telling of Scott’s journey, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a chick-flick style romance, go somewhere else. This book is neither formulaic or predictable. I can honestly say that there is nothing I’ve ever read which has been quite like Dead Men. The mix of a real-life, very relatable story and the themes of obsession are a fantastic contrast to each other, while Pierce shows us that they’re not Polar (excuse the pun) opposites at all. You don’t have to understand WHY someone becomes obsessed, you only have to accept it as part of them and, if you love them, maybe even embrace it a little yourself. Who knows? You might find something beautiful to share.
And that’s what Dead Men is all about, at least it was for me.
Now that the literary study is over and done with, what did I think? I can throw compliments at Pierce and his work until the cows come home and all f them will seem hackneyed and bland, or overly enthusiastic and hence ignorable. So I’ll put it this way. I bought Richard’s book from my Doncaster branch of Waterstones on a Tuesday afternoon. By 7 o’clock the next morning, I’d read it. More than that, I read the last page, and realised I was smiling.
Go and read it. Download it, buy the hard copy, have it sent to you on post-it notes, but read it. You won’t be disappointed.
And now for the surprise that I promised you all through Twitter!
If you tune into the blog tomorrow…Richard Pierce, author of Dead Men, will be guest blogging about his book touring experiences!
Thanks for reading.