Big Ass Ships!
Research for books can lead you into some very strange areas. Recently I found myself reading up about the monster Transatlantic passenger ships build in the late Victoria and Edwardian periods. The most famous of those is the HMS Titanic, but the Titanic was one of the last of the big ships to be built. It was designed and built to compete with the really big ships already in service.
In one of the earlier scenes in the movie Titanic, Rose looks at the new Titanic and says; “It doesn’t look any bigger than the Mauritania.”
The HMS Mauritania and her sister ship, the HMS Lusitania were competitor ships built and owned by the Cunard shipping line (which is still in operation today). And in fact, the Titianic was 100 feet longer than the Mauritania and therefore the largest Transatlantic vessel…for a few short days until it sunk.
How big were these ships? It’s hard to wrap your mind around their size when you see images of them on the ocean, because there’s nothing to scale them again.
Try these two photos I dug up, though:
This is the Mauritania in dry dock.
The Lusitania, which was launched in 1906.
And perhaps the most stunning image of all is a panorama (which is even more mind-blowing, considering it was taken in 1907!). This is the Lusitania at the end of her maiden voyage, arriving in New York harbor.
If you’re looking at this on your phone, then you can’t really appreciate the scale and size of the ship. (although, try turning your phone sideways to get more detail). You can also check this image out on Wikipedia here.
These ships were massive!
We’ve all seen, or at least know about, the sinking of the Titanic, but did you know that the Lusitania was sunk three years later? Only the Lusitania didn’t hit an iceberg. She was sunk by a German U-Boat, and she sank so fast, that nearly all the people on the ship drowned with her. The sinking of the Lusitania and the loss of over a hundred American civilians was one of the reasons the US entered World War I.
So why was I researching Transatlantic ocean cruisers?
It all fed into the writing of The Rosewater Debutante, which is story 2 in the Adelaide Becket series.
But first — Cover Reveal!
Dar Albert strikes again!
Adele learns just how ruthless German agents can be.
In Edwardian England, Lady Adelaide Azalea Margaret de Morville, Mrs. Hugh Becket, continues her work for William Melville, spymaster, even though it has left her with no time to live the life she would prefer, which includes spending at least a little time with Daniel Bannister.
When she refuses to travel to Germany to watch over King Edward while he visits the German Emperor to discuss disarmament of their increasingly more competitive navies, Melville gives Adele an alternative, superficial task of watching over a young, sweet debutante, Lady Winnifred.
Adele perseveres with the useless, quite horrid task of trailing an innocent girl through the Season. It puts her in the path of German agents, who demonstrate just how dark and dangerous her new work really is…
This novelette is the second in the Adelaide Becket Edwardian espionage series.
1: The Requisite Courage
2: The Rosewater Debutante
…and more to come.
A historical suspense espionage novelette.