On 1st May 1915, the luxury ocean liner Lusitania sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool. Her passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone and its submarines were bringing terror to the Atlantic.
But the Lusitania's captain, William Thomas Turner, had faith in the gentlemanly terms of warfare that had, for a century, kept civilian ships safe from attack. He also knew that his ship was the fastest then in service and could outrun any threat. Germany was, however, intent on changing the rules, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. For this would be the ill-fated Lusitania's final crossing . . .
Erik Larson is a prize-winning journalist and narrative historian. His books include Isaac's Storm, Thunderstruck and In the Garden of Beasts and have combined sales of nearly 6 million copies and been published in 14 countries. His No.1 bestseller The Devil in the White City won an Edgar Award and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Non-Fiction Award. He lives in Seattle.