Book Chat: Tip of the Iceberg

by Ash Hartwell

A historical horror story set on the doomed Titanic. Add zombies in the mix for a grisly tale.

MYRA’S HORROR BLOG REVIEWS : I wanted to write reviews as if I were sharing the love of a book with a friend. What I liked about it, from storyline to characters; to include any parts that had a negative impact on me as a reader. Join me on the couch as we explore today’s exciting read.





Esme Jackson grew up in the slums around the Southampton docks with dreams of travel and a better life for her sister. Bridget Grafton was born to Boston wealth and married to an arrogant, violent English industrialist. The two young women board RMS Titanic for her maiden voyage. Separated by money and divided by class, their lives become fatally entwined by a single act of humanity. Murder, deceit, betrayal, and friendship—all set against the violent destruction of the social order in the face of a rapidly spreading deadly virus. The voyage quickly becomes a struggle for survival. An iceberg ensures the virus will not reach New York, but few will make it to the lifeboats. Fewer still will make it to safety …


At first this book read more like a historical novel with well-developed characters.  It was a bit slow for me in the beginning; I like chomping zombies to show up quickly in an undead tale. But once the infection started, the action became a fast paced, grisly fest of horror.

Patrick, a young Irishman intent on seeking his fortune in America (shades of DiCaprio in my mind), won a small monkey in a card game while still ashore. He hopes to make money from owning such an exotic creature. Unfortunately, Patrick doesn’t know the primate is infected with a deadly virus, turning anyone in contact with the disease into flesh eating monsters.

Although we follow a cast of characters, it is Esme and Bridget’s relationship which is the main focus. The bond between Esme the chambermaid and Mrs. Grafton, a rich socialite, was refreshing and sweet. Even to the bitter end, the relationship continued. Without giving away too much, Esme showed her affection for Bridget as the situation became savage and unimaginable. I really liked Esme, a strong young woman determined to better her life and that of her sister. I was saddened by what happened to Esme.

The Titanic crew members were strong and honorable, including the Captain who made a hard decision that goes off track from the real iceberg encounter.

The only negative for me was the number of people who vomited during the story. Although understandable with the situation, it became very repetitive. As an author, I can think of several ways this could be done without being redundant. This bothersome point was almost nullified by the author’s vivid, very graphic scenes of horror as the zombies take over the ship. Some were clever ruses on the reader; such as what seemed a sexual encounter in the pool that turned out to be a nightmarish scene.

The author appears well researched on his information about the Titanic. He puts you in the center of a society that lived on different terms than we have established now. He makes you feel the dissatisfaction of characters such as servants, a wife and a mistress to their circumstance in life. It reminds me of the rich descriptive settings Anne Rice wrote for her Ramses series, just a tad less lush than Rice, who is a Master storyteller.

If you love reading zombie stories set in a historical context (add in the treat of being aboard the Titanic), you should check out this novel. A recommended read.



NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the September issue.



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