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Dead Men Hardcover – May 24, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An expertly told story that captures the detail and spirit of Antarctic adventure, then and now. Not only a compelling novel but an excellent tribute to Scott and his men" — Sir Ranulph Fiennes

"A book that had me captivated from start to finish. You don't have to be interested in exploration to enjoy this thrilling read." — Andrew Gulli, Editor, Strand Magazine

"A book that had me captivated from start to finish. You don't have to be interested in exploration to enjoy this thrilling read." — – Andrew Gulli (Editor, Strand Magazine)

"Sensual and intriguing, this is a story about passions: the passion between Adam and Birdie, the passion of the Antarctic explorers, and a passion for the truth. . . . Solid research and great attention to detail will appeal to Antarctic aficionados, while others will enjoy the engaging love story and touch of the paranormal." — Booklist

"This debut novel by Richard Pierce proves a poetically written narrative can also be riveting and engrossing. . . . a notable success. I highly recommend this novel." — The Washington Independent Review of Books

About the Author

Richard Pierce was born in 1960 and has lived in 21 different places since. He was educated in Germany and England. Dead Men is his debut novel.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press; First Edition edition (May 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590208684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590208687
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,668,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love it when worlds that are completely separate from each other collide. I had such an experience in reading `Dead Men' and finding in the pages of this book a number of ways in which worlds therein came together to become something new. That, in and of itself, would have brought me great enjoyment. But my reading of this book was even better. It nicely crashed into my real world.
I've never liked Scott. My children attend a school where the `houses' are named for the great Antarctica Explorers. Our family is Shackleton. Of course, that is no reason to dislike Scott, but all I've heard of him in history lessons furthered my dislike. But my reading of `Dead Men' coincided with a walk through the new Scott Exhibit at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. Boom, those two experiences brought me into a new understanding of this great man and the excitement, pain, and disappointment of his life.
The story itself is about people and their experiences bringing them into a fresh understanding of life. A woman, named for a great explorer, meets a man so distant from her obsession, and yet together they set out on a great adventure of their own. There was no way these two characters will ever be the same again. I loved the way the author brought together the worlds of the great Explorers and these two main and rather unusual characters of the modern day. Their journeys, distanced by time, join together and we, the readers, find ourselves understand what drives people, past and present, from a fresh perspective.
This is a book for everyone. Adventure, romance, eccentric characters, history, and art, you can find it here.
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Format: Hardcover
Who said literary works tend to be boring? This debut novel by Richard Pierce proves a poetically written narrative can also be riveting and engrossing. Dead Men is the story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated race to the South Pole. Arriving at his destination on January 17, 1912, Scott learned that the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, had planted his flag there thirty-three days earlier. Returning north to his base, Scott and the four members of his party perished by starvation only eleven miles away from food and fuel. Scott and two others, Bill Wilson and Henry "Birdie" Bowers, were found frozen in their tent by Cherry-Garrard and other members of the expedition. They buried their comrades under a snow cairn in the tent where they had found them.
A century later we meet Birdie Bowers, an accomplished artist, named by her parents after their distant relative who died with Scott. She meets by chance Adam Caird, an older, introspective, computer wizard who drinks and smokes too much. He becomes obsessed with this erratic, spiteful, chameleon of a girl (any prospective mother-in-law's nightmare) who is obsessed with solving the mystery of how and why Scott and her namesake died.
The idea of obsession runs throughout. Birdie is obsessed to discover her namesake's grave and solve the riddle of why he died with Captain Scott when they had only eleven miles to go. Adam is obsessed with Birdie and trudges on in his effort to gain her love. Scott is obsessed with being the first person at the South Pole. Cherry-Garrard is obsessed with the thought that he was responsible for the death of his leader and the four other men. He also hears the voices and the songs.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Pierce clearly knows a lot about the race to the Antarctic early in the twentieth century, not only the practicalities of it, but also how mythic it became in the collective imagination, particularly in the UK.

In this novel, (which is of course also largely a factual account, using information available at the time and later) he charts that fatal journey undertaken by Scott, Wilson, Oates ‘Birdie’ Bowers and Evans, not to mention what was a devastating discovery by the British team, when they reached the Pole, to discover the Norwegian, Amundsen, had got there first. Scott’s party all died on the journey back.

The explorers, over the century , have achieved iconic status; they failed (in being the first to reach the Pole) and the mystery of their deaths (understandable, given the harshness and danger of the venture) has come to stand for a certain kind of brave, against the odds, heroism in pursuit of an ideal not always understandable to others.

Pierce’s book worked well with these aspects

What did not work for me was the modern, fictional story. ‘Birdie’ Bowers is a young artist, quite tortured, quite flaky and terrifyingly vulnerable. She is obsessed by the original Birdie Bowers, whom she was named for, as her dead father was obsessed by him. By chance she meets an older man, Adam, someone with some demons of his own – a history of failed love affairs, some challenges with social communication, who works in some kind of rather nebulous freelance IT field. Adam falls immediately for the flaky Birdie and comes to share her interest and obsession (as part of that falling in love) He is cast, within the book as an impossibly high minded knight in shining armour.
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