A History Of Ocean Liners In 50 Objects

For somebody that worked with most of the world’s cruise companies for eight years I have strangely never been on a cruise.

I have however been on many ships and a few liners though though my work, usually for meetings or a grand tour.

I was lucky enough to have lunch in the first class restaurant on the QE2 and to be invited on the press tour of the brand new QM2 before her maiden voyage in 2003.

A Suite On Cunard's QM2
A Suite On QM2

I also saw the original Queen Mary moored in Long Beach near LA – now a hotel since retiring from service with Cunard in 1967, and played blackjack in the casino of the SS Norway (ex-SS France), another fine liner that was sadly scrapped over a decade ago.

A good friend of mine from Devon as just had a fascinating book published telling the the majestic history of the ultimate sea going vessel, the ocean liner.

Mark Berry has a lifelong passion for the Rolls Royces of the seas. The iconic style of vessel conjures images of a bygone age, the Titanic, White Star Lines & Cunard, and opulent transatlantic crossings with fine dining and formal dress.

Don’t let the fact that most of us could only ever afford steerage class put you off! This is a great read for anybody that loves nostalgia. I will let Mark explain……

A History Of Ocean Liners In 50 Objects - a book by Mark Berry

The Book Blurb

Liners represented the ambitions of their nations in peace and war; their design, interiors and fittings incorporated the finest contemporary technological and artistic features.

In peacetime they carried celebrities, vacationers and emigrants; while in war they carried thousands of troops – and then war brides seeking new lives.

A History of Ocean Liners in 50 Objects takes in evolving technology, supreme luxury and fine cuisine, as well as hardship and the burning hope for a better life.

There is peril, disaster and death, international pride and competition, glory and war.

The objects tell a fascinating story, showing how the functional sea voyage has evolved from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to the huge cruise industry we have today.

About the Author

Mark Berry grew up with stories of the sea.

His father was a marine engineer and would come home on leave with tales of places like Aden, Hong Kong and San Francisco, all hugely exotic sounding to a boy growing up in 1960s Britain.

After reading about the tragedies of Titanic and Lusitania, an interest in liners followed – and so started a lifetime of collecting books, ephemera and items from all kinds of ships.

Now retired after thirty-eight years in the property industry, it seemed only natural for Mark to share some of the items in his collection.

Mark and his wife Val have two grown-up sons and live in rural Devon with their cats and chickens.

When they can, they enjoy escaping to sea on a cruise liner or, even better, an ocean liner.

The Book

The History of Ocean Liners in 50 Objects is published by The History Press and is available from online outlets such as Hive & Amazon as an eBook or paperback.

The Queen Mary Ship
Picture of the Original Queen Mary
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is queen-mary-2_0720.jpg
Picture of the Queen Mary (shot on the QM2)

Drip by Drip – A Thriller Set In Cambodia


Every so often you visit a country that really touches you.

I do not mean that you have a great time – that is usually a given. I mean a destination that gets you thinking deeply, makes you unusually emotional and ekes a way into your very heart and soul.

Cambodia is one of a handful of countries that has had that effect on me.

I was totally beguiled by the ever so smiley people, enthralled by the stunning sights that lay within, but completely sickened by what I learned about the abhorrent Khmer Rouge regime of the mid-late seventies.

Those smiley people that crossed my path were the survivors and descendents of the most cruel and unjust dictatorship imaginable, comparable with the worst human atrocities of the last few centuries.

They live in a poor but beautiful country that is now happily back on its feet. I will remember them and their homeland for ever.

Lake, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. A beautiful country with a scarred past
Lake in Siem Reap Province

Drip by Drip

Cambodia inspired me to write. 

I left the amazing nation with thoughts sketched on my mind for a fictional book that would touch on that unsavoury past perpetrated by monsters, mixed with a whole new breed of demons born of the turmoil that followed.

‘Drip by Drip’ is that book. It is the story of a middle-aged couple who visit South East Asia to rekindle past adventures from their carefree lives before parenthood and bereavement took hold.

Unwittingly they lock horns with a ruthless criminal organisation, and what ensues tears their world asunder.

‘Drip by Drip’ is available from Amazon as an e-book and paperback.

Drip by Drip Book Cover, Amazon
Drip by Drip Cover

See also my articles about the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Detention Centre in Phnom Penh by clicking HERE.

The Killing Tree, Killing Fields​, Cambodia
The Killing Tree, Killing Fields

Book Review – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Everything that is to be said about the Holocaust has been written already, right?

Well not quite actually.

This astonishing book tells the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale, a confident would be entrepreneur prior to the War, who is sent to the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau along with hundreds of thousands of fellow Jews, as well as multitudes of romanies, all destined it seemed to perish at the hands of the cruellest of captors.

Entrance to Auschwitz

Imprisoned in the spring of 1942, Lale resolves to survive by using his wit, determination, cunning and extraordinary language skills.

He manages to secure the ‘privileged’ role of camp tattooist, whose job it was to permanently mark every prisoner with four crudely scratched numbers which became their sole identity in the eyes of the SS.

Entrance to Auschwitz

What Lale had not reckoned with was falling in love with a girl who bore his mark. This only heightened his determination that he and fellow Slovak Gita would have a future together.

Told through Lale’s eyes, this is a story that cannot be put down. A story of cruelty, degradation, sorrow, death and hardship, but also a story of human spirit, ingenuity, selflessness, incredible will power and true love.

The writing puts you right there alongside Lale and his fellow prisoners as the appalling conditions, sadistic captors and knife-edge existence are brought to life in vivid detail.

Highly recommended.

Book Review – The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The book is extraordinary, powerful, thought-provoking and deeply disturbing. I really loved it.

I was initially drawn to the book due to the Aleppo setting, the ancient Syrian settlement being my favourite city that I have ever visited.

Aleppo Citadel, Syria
Aleppo Citadel

It follows Nuri & Afra, a couple fleeing their war torn country to undertake an arduous journey to Western Europe.

Very cleverly the book concurrently follows two streams of their quest that are intertwined alongside each other – the tortuous, dehumanising, soul-destroying migration over land and sea, together with their less dramatic but no less traumatic existence in a shabby English seaside bed & breakfast as they seek asylum and the right to start a new life in the U.K.

Aleppo Souk, Syria
Thriving Aleppo Souk
Damaged Aleppo Souk, Syria
Damaged Aleppo Souk

Christy is the daughter of Cypriot refugees and somebody who worked as a volunteer in an Athenian refugee centre. She compassionately draws on her experiences and the incredible stories she has been told to create the central characters, the people they meet and the dangers and hardships they face.

Most of all it is a story of hope in adversity, of life altering situations and of amazing courage and the belief that despair can once again turn into happiness and companionship.

I urge you to read the book and also catch a film called ‘For Sama’ to begin to understand what millions of innocent people have faced and why they continue to risk everything for a second chance.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is available from Amazon and all the usual retailers.

Hornbill Publishing

My name is Will Linsdell, the creator of Hornbill Publishing. This is my London based publishing house, which at the present time features my own works only.

Travelling By Train Across The Balkans

Passionate about travel and an avid football fan, writing about my cherished hobbies just seemed like a natural thing to do.

Over time I hope to also feature other writers on the label, but at this time I am concentrating on increasing my own output of quality fiction and non-fiction.

I am delighted to present my existing books, together with a third that will be released very soon. Please read the individual book pages for full details.

E-book and paperback versions of all my books are available on Amazon.

Manchester City Book Cover

I am also honoured to feature the works of South London author Gregory Edwards, who is an aficionado of London’s many fine examples of Art Deco architecture.

Gregory has a series of books available from Apple Books and Amazon. See the Hidden Cities page for full details.

Read just one of his books and you are sure to be a whole lot wiser about your surroundings and more than likely to be walking around with your eyes trained upwards in order to witness the intricate details on buildings that you might otherwise miss.

I know I do!