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Shipwrecked Lives by Nicholas Kinsey

Shipwrecked Lives

by Nicholas Kinsey

340 pages
The Empress of Ireland passenger liner collided with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the St. Lawrence River in 1914 and sank in 14 minutes, claiming 1,012 lives. The story of the survivors and the inquiry into Canada's worst maritime disaster.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
The Empress of Ireland passenger liner collided with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the St. Lawrence River on a foggy night in May 1914, sinking in 14 minutes and claiming the lives of 1,012 people. This is the story of the survivors and the government inquiry into Canada’s worst maritime disaster. It is based on the actual testimony of witnesses at the Commission of Inquiry, which was presided over by Lord Mersey, the gruff and opinionated British jurist and politician. Lord Mersey had led the investigation into the Titanic and the later Lusitania disasters, but was sorely tested by the Empress Inquiry.

It tells the story of the ruined captain of the passenger liner, the woman who survived the disaster and tried unsuccessfully to claim the body of her disfigured son, the Rimouski fisherman whose job was to search the debris field for the bodies of the victims, the Norwegians who were quickly condemned by the press, the shysters and wagon-chasers who fraudulently claimed insurance policies on next of kin, and the government inquiry which pitted a multinational transport industry giant against a tiny Norwegian coal-hauling firm.


“From the very first lines, Kinsey skillfully crafts his novel. We are drawn into the lives of the individuals on the Empress, passengers confused and frightened when loud blasts of the ship’s whistle sound and the ship begins to list, then rapidly sink. He weaves the story between the disaster itself and what follows with the survivors in a courtroom as lawyers and witnesses try to unravel the cause of the collision... Kinsey has written a historical novel that is impossible to put down. I found that the transitions from survivor story to courtroom events held my interest from start to finish.”
- Rosalie Grosch,


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About the Author
Nicholas Kinsey Nicholas Kinsey is a Canadian / British writer and director of feature films and television drama. He has been a successful director, scriptwriter, director of photography, a film editor, and a producer over a long career. As a screenwriter Kinsey has written some 20 feature and television drama screenplays.



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