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Dead Men

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
A gripping historical novel inspired by the legend of Captain Scott.
Paperback, 284 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Duckworth (first published March 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Vanessa Wu
Jun 05, 2012 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing
It’s frightening being in love. You face a huge, uncertain prospect that ties your stomach in knots and makes you do crazy things. So much lies in wait. Whatever happens, will you be up to it? There’s no-one else you can rely on. It’s just you against an unknown and unknowable otherness.

When Adam falls in love with Birdie Bowers, there can be no compromises. It’s all or nothing. “I knew it would have to be forever, or not at all,” he tells us. Without her he is numb, like a dead man.

So it is whe
Mar 15, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
As young children, in a tiny rural primary school, we used to listen rapt to the Master as he told us stories of great adventurers both mythical and real. Forty years on, I still vividly recall the three “heros” who impressed me the most – Abraham Lincoln, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Captain Scott. The story of Scott’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole, only to be thwarted by Amundsen, has always fascinated me so I was delighted to get the opportunity to read a new novel about Scott especially in ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Miles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
Many, many years ago – far more than I care to remember – I was given a small hardback book by my father. I can’t remember the title or the publisher but the subject matter has remained with me to this very day – The Race to the South Pole – Scott versus Amundsen. I vividly remember the book patriotically siding with Scott and despite his failure to reach the Pole ahead of the Norwegian he was the true hero of the story, or at least that’s how the book portrayed the race. It was – and still is – ...more
Katie Ward
Mar 22, 2012 Katie Ward rated it really liked it
This intriguing novel uses as its starting point Captain Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1910-13. Scott led a team of British explorers to the South Pole which, after a great deal of planning, expense and suffering, he reached on 17 January 1912, only to find that Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition had been there five weeks earlier. Their achievements and tragedies are recorded in a swath of letters, journals and photographs, not to mention in the very clothes, artefacts, preserved ...more
Terry Tyler
Dec 10, 2013 Terry Tyler rated it really liked it
I've always been more of a Shackelton girl myself, but this book has well and truly sparked my interest in Scott, and Amundsen, too - I will have to go and get books about them, instead of reading all about Shackleton (again).

I loved this book, absolutely loved it, and read it in a couple of days. At first I thought I wouldn't like the fact that much of it is about Birdie and Adam and their quest to find the frozen grave of Scott, Wilson & Bowers, but even though I wasn't particularly intere
Craig Hallam
Mar 22, 2012 Craig Hallam rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a single sitting, straight through a night shift. It's a fantatic blend of easy readbility, the realistic relationship observation skills of Nick Hornby with some heart-warming and thought-provoking history. I didn't know a damn thing about the antarctic expeditions and you dont have to. The history doesn't outweigh the present storyline, but adds to it and highlights how we mark ourselves by the endeavours of those who have come before.

I can't recommend this highly enough.
Bree T
Jun 06, 2012 Bree T rated it really liked it
Adam Caird is an unassuming sort of guy who spots an interesting woman on a train. When she ends up fainting, he helps her and takes her for something to eat, looking after her partially because he finds her interesting and in need of looking after and also because he finds her attractive. The woman is Henrietta “Birdie” Bowers, named for Antarctic explorer Henry “Birdie” Bowers by her explorer-obsessed father. For her whole life, Birdie has lived, breathed and obsessed over Antarctica. She and ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: antarctic enthusiasts, readers of high-quality literature, people who enjoy love stories
I pre-ordered Dead Men back in February when Richard Pierce first shared news of the book's imminent release. Richard is a friend of mine since our Authonomy days, and I was thrilled that one of his books was finally going to be released. Needless to say, I looked forward to being able to sit back with my own copy of his Antarctic-set work and read it at my leisure at long last.

The only problem with reading something written by a friend is that it can be hard to separate the friendship from the
Mark Stevens
Aug 19, 2012 Mark Stevens rated it really liked it
They meet, accidentally, on the Tube. She is Birdie Bowers. And although she has the same first and last name as one of the men who died with Robert Scott on his journey back from the South Pole, she is not related to the famous dead man. Birdie’s parents were obsessed with the Antarctic and knowingly gave her the name. Now she’s obsessed with a certain aspect of the fatal mission and on the way to the Royal Geographic Society as part of her research when they meet.

He is Adam Caird and it’s Bir
Dec 04, 2013 Bradley rated it really liked it
Shelves: polar-regions, plus4
A slim book makes a nice change after the last few books I have been reading.

I have a considerable interest in polar exploration, with particular focus on the late Victorian period. I was drawn to this novel which mixes a modern love story with Scott's last expedition.

I could do without the love story, which had slightly creepy overtones between a middle aged man and a small, frail and pale young woman.

The woman is named Birdie after one of the explorers that died with Scott 11 miles from poten
Douglas Lord
Dec 18, 2014 Douglas Lord rated it it was amazing
Antarctic exploration and Robert Falcon Scott go together like helium blimps named Hindenberg and static sparks. Both, ironically, carry quite a romantic charge. Pierce’s first novel intersperses imagined little episodes of Scott and his fellow explorers with growing-up-into-I-am-going-to-be experiences of a loner, sad sack-esque, computer networky nerdy dude. Adam is besotted on sight with this skinny little chick who turns out to be a famous artist. She’s obsessed with the Antarctic and wants ...more
May 30, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
I have enjoyed stories of exploration, so I was excited to read this book and see how Pierce mixed actual Antarctic exploration with a modern-day fictional story. The novel is a first-person narrative from a man who falls in love with a stranger, and through her develops a love for the Antarctic (and those who explored there long ago).

The first-person writing works well to convey emotions. I was surprised to see that the book is really more about self-discovery than a mystery about long-dead ex
Oct 09, 2012 Connee rated it really liked it
Although it has few characters this book covers many topics including art, the power of love, death, living, obsession all intertwined with stories that
happened while explorers tried to reach the South Pole during the early 20th century But it is a contemporary book with all the modern tools and techniques that were not yet invented and available to the early explorers. While reading it you become involved in the love and personalities of the two main characters, the personalities of many of the
Jenny Karraker
Jul 09, 2012 Jenny Karraker rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was like a combination adventure/mystery and romance with the quirky Birdie obsessed with discovering what happened to her namesake (who perished with explorer Scott in the Antarctic just 11 miles from safety) and Adam, an older fellow who never thought he'd discover someone who loved and needed him. the chapters that went back and forth between the present story of Birdie and Adam and the past history of Scott and his fellow explorers wove the story ...more
Shelley Fearn
Oct 08, 2012 Shelley Fearn rated it really liked it
When Adam meet Birdie Bowers (yes, named after the explorer), he quickly realizes that she is obsessed with the Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1918) and the fate of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson. (The men died and their bodies were discovered 11 miles from a supply depot.) Adam agrees to assist Birdie on an expedition to Antarctica to find the remains of the dead explorers.
The novel is told alternating between the expedition and present day. Anyone familiar with the story of Amundsen and Scott and thei
Jun 03, 2012 Dbbooks rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The first chapter of Dead Men draws you in to the Antarctic past vivid enough to be there.

a Modern day adventure by the two main characters "Birdie and Adam" set out in chapter two retracing the past as the timeline shifts from past to present in alternating chapters.
Adam is a character I thought to "soft" for an adventure/explorer in a general sense and some of his emotions seemed odd in the beginning but is part of the humanity conveyed through the book.
Once out on the "ice" the the story is
May 02, 2016 Arthur rated it it was amazing
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. This is not a lengthy novel and the author uses every word, sentence, and verbal image to craft his themes, for there are many layers here. This is a love story, a historical novel, a polar expedition, and a ghostly tale. At first it appears improbable, but ...more
Aug 30, 2013 elstaffe rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
While I initially was not too fond of this book, I found it grew on me. Part of the problem is that I went in expecting the love story to be more compelling than it was. On the other hand, I found myself much more drawn into the mystery of what happened to Captain Scott and his men than I had expected, which is what ultimately bumped my rating up from 2 to 3 stars. Once the story moved past the initial relationship formation and into the planning for the Antarctic, I had difficulty putting the ...more
Mrs Cox
Dec 27, 2012 Mrs Cox rated it really liked it
Dead Men will surprise you.
RP weaves time seamlessly.
Thanks to RP I now want and have to read all I can about Scott & Co. He writes with conviction and knowledge so that the reader can believe in the story.
I would usually give any novel with a big love story a wide berth so I was a little hesitant, but it is well done and I did like the themes it explored.
My only critique would be, that for me, less love story and more Antarctic.
I have already recommended Dead Men to family and friends.
Jun 07, 2012 Jeanne rated it liked it
I was expecting an antarctic adventure book, but this is really a love story. Either way, it was good. The book blends the history of Antarctic exploration with a present day love story. For a debut novel, it is very good. I won this book in the Goodreads giveaway.
Shawn Hopkins
Aug 29, 2013 Shawn Hopkins rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction piece. The writing was engaging and you felt what the characters felt. Anyone interested in Antarctic exploration and the expeditions of Scott and the rest should check it out. A romantic history mystery with a touch of ghost story.
Andy Weston
Nov 24, 2012 Andy Weston rated it liked it
Overall I was disappointed by this novel. Pierce uses the Scott story to write a romantic adventure story, with adventure n brackets. I am not sure this environment suits romance.

I have read a lot about polar exploration, so expect a lot. I have read no good novels on the subject, except the outstanding "The Terror" by Simmons. So in the future I will stick with non-fiction and pass that recommendation to others.
Jul 26, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it
Shelves: polar
An interesting read although it confirms I prefer reading the facts rather than fictions. I found it hard to take to Henrietta, and by extension to Adam, so I didn't get caught up in their lives. What this has left me with is a renewed desire to read The Worst Journey in the World.
Jan 03, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
The main female character I found annoying and it had a silly ending. Interesting facts about history though.
Apr 21, 2013 Linda rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I read about 100 pages for book discussion group but couldn't get into it. After we met I renewed but never did get back into it.
Louise Walker
Louise Walker rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2014
Anna rated it liked it
Nov 01, 2012
David Bond
David Bond rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2012
Hanna rated it really liked it
Oct 09, 2015
Abovethecliffs rated it it was ok
Dec 31, 2015
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Richard Pierce was born in Doncaster, and educated in Germany and at St. John s College, Cambridge.

He now lives in Suffolk with Marianne and their four children. He is a novelist, poet and painter, and administers three charities.
More about Richard Pierce...

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