John Rowland, a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant, has taken a job as a lowly deck hand aboard the largest ship ever to have sailed, the Titan. One night in deep fog, the Titan strikes a gigantic iceberg and sinks almost immediately. Written in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic's sinking, this novel has been hailed in equal measures as a prophetic work and the result of pure coincidence. Certainly the similarities are striking: two unsinkable ships steam ahead in treacherous conditions, carrying privileged passengers, with an insufficient number of lifeboats. Sam Leith's foreword grapples with the nature of chance, and the surprises it can produce.