Author Rhys B. Davies commissioned this piece from me as potential coverart for a horror novel he’s developing.
Lovers of the great liners might want to check out Rhys’s previous novel, “Timewreck Titanic”, which can be found here: www.amazon.com/Timewreck-Titan…
Rhys’s thoughts on designing the ship
In conceiving Montresor and her story, I was inspired by the 2002 movie ‘Ghost Ship’, which featured a derelict Italian liner named the Antonia Graza. An earlier draft of the script however defines the ship as Chimera, a three-stack interwar Canadian liner, and so I looked to the Empress of Britain for inspiration, a real ship built by John Brown & Co. for Canadian Pacific in the late 1920s.
I wanted an ocean liner that would feel timeless, appropriate to any period between the turn of the century and just after WW2, so while Montresor’s basic configuration is inspired by the Empress of Britain, her hull form is patterned on the great Edwardian liners of Cunard, White Star and HAPAG, as seen the proportions of the funnels, near-vertical prow and overhanging ‘counter’ stern. Finer details such as lifeboat configuration, mast placement, deckhouses and the ‘stepped’ terraces of the aft superstructure were derived from later ships like the Queen Mary and Normandie. The result is a ship that (I hope) feels like a possible contemporary of the Olympic, Aquitania or Imperator, but which was modernised at some point between the wars.
Returning to ‘Ghost Ship’, a further influence on Montresor’s design was my desire to incorporate features of the Antonia Graza. Although broadly inspired by the real Andrea Doria, the fictional ship had a unique and rather pleasing arrangement to her forward superstructure that incorporated a gentle curve and two external staircases connecting her boat deck with the forward promenade. These details were among several incorporated into the design.
In keeping with the feeling of being from any era, Montresor’s dimensions were produced by tabulating and averaging the key measurements of a range of famous ships, starting with the Lusitania (1909) and ending with the Leonardo da Vinci (1958). I also created another set of averages based just on the Edwardian ships, but eventually rejected them, because they would have made Montresor physically larger and heavier than the Britannic, whose crown as the largest ship built in Britain (before the Queen Mary) I didn’t want to steal.
The name “Montresor” might be assumed to be in reference to ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ by Edgar Allan Poe, the vengeful narrator of which is named Montresor. However I initially remembered it as the name of a world from ’Treasure Planet’ (another 2002 movie), whose writers derived it from the French ‘mon trésor’ (my treasure). This appealed to me as an appropriate name for a ship regarded as a treasure by passengers and crew who grew to love her over many years, and the discovery of the connection to Poe’s vengeance-driven Montresor sealed the deal.
2nd ship of the Esplendor Class (Esplendor, Montresor, Coenamor)
Owner: Lavrador Line
Port of Registry: Quebec City, Canada
Builder: Maitland & Hughes, Newport, Wales
Yard Number: 387
Length: 862 feet over extremities, 822 feet at waterline
Beam: 114 feet overall, 96 feet at waterline
Draught: 35 feet
Height: 186 feet from keel to funnel-tops
Weight: 47,468 Gross Register Tons
Displacement: 55,298 tons
Propulsion: Four manganese-bronze quadruple-bladed propellers
Installed Power: 32 doubled-ended Yarrow water-tube boilers and 3 doubled-ended Scotch fire-tube boilers, supplying steam at 225psi to two triple-expansion reciprocating engines, exhausting into two low-pressure turbine engines.
Horsepower: 59,888 under normal operating conditions, with power in reserve
Speed: 23 knots under normal operating conditions
Total Crew: 937 persons
Passenger Capacity: 2067 persons