Coming in November of 2024...

Ship of Lost Souls : The Tragic Voyage of the Steamship Valencia
The Anatomy Of A Tragedy

In January of 1906, off the coast of Vancouver Island, BC, almost everyone aboard the steamship Valencia died, including every single woman and child. Some 170+ souls perished within a couple hundred yards of land, and in spite of the fact that ships had been dispatched to rescue them. This is the story of that disaster, about who was at fault, and about the lessons we may or may not have learned from the tragedy.

Ship of Lost Souls: The Tragic Wreck of the Steamship Valencia is available for pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and directly from the publisher.

Advance Praise for Ship of Lost Souls:

“Riveting! A stranger-than-fiction tale that memorializes the Valencia among the great lost steamships of history—and one lost in the most jaw-dropping of ways.” —Daniel Stone, national bestselling author of Sinkable: Obsession, The Deep Sea, and The Shipwreck of the Titanic

“A fascinating story of tragedy, terror and drama that has been well researched and passionately told. Hard to put down once you start reading.” —Richard M. Jones, author and historian

In the story of the steamship Valencia, lost off Vancouver Island in 1906, we find some of the same hubris and human error that would lead to the sinking of the Titanic six years later. With scrupulous research and a fine eye for detail, Rod Scher recreates this maritime tragedy in a compelling and highly readable way. —Hugh Brewster, author of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World

“A fascinating and highly engaging account of one of the greatest marine tragedies to strike the west coast of North America. Equally impressive is the fact that the author goes out of his way to highlight the important role that the wind and oceanographic conditions played in the tragedy. Had the vessel’s captain taken into account the ship's drift associated with the strong northward-flowing, wind-driven currents known to prevail off the Pacific coast of the US and Canada in winter, the ship might have successfully entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the storm and the tragic loss of so many lives would have been averted.” —Richard Thomson, oceanographer; author of Oceanography of the British Columbia Coast

“Scher details the background, key people, decisions, and circumstances that led to the grounding of SS Valencia and the tragically avoidable loss of life. His book reads like an adventure novel, except that it isn't fiction. Like virtually all marine accidents, the loss of Valencia was avoidable. The weakest link in the chain of events was and continues to be the decisions of honest, hard-working, and experienced people. Today's yacht and ship crews need to read this book so they can manage their decisions and successfully avoid disaster.” —CDR. John E. Harrington, USCG (Ret.)

“A completely engrossing saga. I could not put it down! Scher combines insightful historical perspectives along with weaving fascinating information on both the inventions and seafaring conventions of the time. While examining the reasons for this disaster, Scher shows how easy it is after the fact to place blame and second-guess each decision made that leads to tragedies. At turns both fascinating and heartbreaking, Scher’s book is a perfect addition to any sailor’s library.” —Patricia Wood, sailor and author of Lottery (short-listed for the 2008 Orange Broadband Prize for Women’s Fiction in the UK)

“Through meticulous research and exacting detail, Scher builds the story of the SS Valencia and makes it come alive by putting the events and people in historical context. And he doesn’t leave out the human component. He makes you care about both passengers and crew—those who survived and those who didn’t—and reveals both heroes and cowards, leaving it up to the readers to draw their own conclusions.” —Valerie Davisson, author of the Logan McKenna mystery series

 Books by Rod Scher

Available on,, and at your local bookstore.

Ship of Lost Souls

The Tragic Wreck of the Steamship Valencia

Ship of Lost Souls: The Tragic Voyage of the Steamship Valencia

Valencia as she crashes into the rocks during the storm. 

- Illustration by Molly Dumas. To see more of Molly's work, go to

Click here for larger image

Sailing by Starlight

The Remarkable Voyage of Globe Star

Leveling the Playing Field

The Democratization of Technology

What happens when technology gets into the hands of the rest of us.

The Annotated Two Years Before the Mast

An annotation of Richard Henry Dana's classic sailing yarn.

The Annotated Sailing Alone Around the World

An annotated version of Joshua Slocum's classic.

Need more info? Got questions?

Email Rod at to learn more about the books, about upcoming author tours and book talks, or to schedule a meeting with your book group, library, or bookstore.