The sinking of the Titanic has been fodder for creative minds since the ship met its fate in 1912. Alathia Paris Morgan has added a new premise in Infected Waters: A Titanic Disaster.
A young man, chased by hideous creatures through the English dockside streets, is attacked before escaping onto the empty ship waiting in port. He hides in a second-class cabin as his deadly illness takes hold. When discovered, he’s moved to the infirmary, but manages to bite one of the crew members, and with that, the zombie plague is unleashed on the ship.
Although the nurses and crew members fight valiantly to stem the tide, the undead eventually overrun the ship, and Captain Smith realizes he can’t let the plague reach America. He records this in a letter to the captain of the rescue ship Carpathian, in which he swears his colleague to secrecy.
The story’s scattershot composition is exemplified by infrequent references to a gold coffin bearing a mummy, which reportedly curses every ship on which it travels. No one knows why it’s on board or where it’s headed, and other than serving as a poor warning of the well-known disaster to come, its inclusion in no way serves the storyline. Virtually every human in the western world knows the fate of the Titanic, and adding a zombie-infected young man to the narrative is enough of a hex without an ill-placed mummy.
While Morgan makes a good-faith effort to turn the world’s most famous sea disaster into an Edwardian version of The Walking Dead, her narrative is basically a series of horror screenshots rather than a compelling novel. Reaching the predictable end is a relief.