The winner of the M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction, announced in June 2015 at the Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver, and a finalist for the People’s Book Prize to be announced in April 2016, Lusitania R.E.X is an historical account of the sinking of the Lusitania replete with spies and secret societies, super weapons, millionaires and martyrs. After being struck by a single torpedo on May 7th 1915, the Lusitania sank in only eighteen minutes. Passengers such as Alfred Vanderbilt, one of the wealthiest men in the world, ignored warnings from the German embassy, confident the fastest ship in the world could outrun enemy submarines. Since the time of her sinking, the Lusitania has been wrapped in mystery and intrigue. Experts continue to debate the cause of the second explosion that sealed her fate after the torpedo struck. Imperial Germany immediately claimed she was loaded with explosives destined for the front. Lusitania R.E.X weaves a tale around disputed facts to create a plausible explanation of some of the mysteries surrounding her sinking.
Author Greg Taylor discusses the history behind his book on a Goodreads video.
Greg's passion for research has led him to develop first-hand relationships with the descendants of some of the characters in the book, including the 11th Duke of Marlborough and Alfred G Vanderbilt III. He was drawn to the tale of Lusitania because he was fascinated by the cataclysm of elegant Edwardian society caused by the brutal warfare the industrial success of that society made possible. His passion for research and discovery has taken him to the numerous historical sites that appear in the book. Undergraduate studies in history at Williams College in Massachusetts and the University of Durham, England, are reflected in the book. Greg attended the School of Management at Yale University where he lives one block from The Tomb of Skull and Bones. London has been Greg's home since 2000, and he has divided his investment banking and asset management career between New York and London.
Mike Uretsky, Professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, was contacted specifically to vet Lusitania R.E.X for the M.M. Bennetts award. Mike is a specialist and adviser to governments on international energy policy. His area of expertise provides him with an in-depth view of the part private capital has in the past and continues to play in international affairs. He highly recommended the book’s accuracy in that field and compared it as a whole to a well-conducted symphony.
Jim Bencivenga, a retired book critic at The Christian Science Monitor, wrote of Lusitania R.E.X:
"Were it not of American origin, 'Lusitania R.E.X', by Greg Taylor, is a candidate for a BBC Masterpiece series.
"Most enjoyable are descriptions and details of the luxury ship itself. From boilers to horse stables to elevators to paneled suites puts me on board, freeing the imagination with the rhythm of ocean swells and throbbing engines (several decks below, certainly not from Alfred Vanderbilt's suite).
"War on land, in the air, or at sea is deadly business. World War I trench warfare and U boat war (novel and ever so 'ungentlemanly') with the potential for rocket combat as explored in this novel, does indeed set the tone for the modern age.
"Combine political intrigue among British and European aristocrats, the fabulously wealthy American elite, members of a secret Yale society and you have a superlative historical account about the best and worst in human beings.
"Archibald MacLeish tops my list of fascinating characters inhabiting the pages of 'Lusitania R.E.X'. Individuals do make a difference, historical differences. Taylor exploits the Newport crowd, the Skull and Bones crowd. He characterizes an era. Irish and German espionage (I have a German grandfather and an Irish grandmother whom I now understand much better), suffocating conditions in diesel powered U-boats, sex drives above and below the waves, inform this notorious crime at sea.
"The relevant lesson I take from 'Lusitania R.E.X' is how easy it is for people and nations to stumble into war. The US and India just signed a ten-year naval pact to balance the rise of China in the South China sea (in the annals of war the phrase 'balance of power' should bring dread).
"What misstep off a nameless atoll on or below the waters near the Philippines awaits its destiny. Torpedo tubes from a diesel sub, again, could down a ship and initiate a devastating nuclear war."
|Greg signing aboard|
Lusitania R.E.X can be purchased from Amazon.
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