On December 28th 2000, Charlotte Wilson, a 27-year-old VSO worker, was killed when her bus, the inauspiciously named Titanic Express, was ambushed in war-torn Burundi. The attackers were members of the Hutu-extremist FNL, a faction linked to those responsible for the Rwandan genocide. Twenty others died with Charlotte, including her Burundian fiance. One of the few survivors was given a chilling message for the Burundian government: "We're going to kill them all and there's nothing you can do". In "Titanic Express", Charlotte's brother Richard charts his painful struggle to unravel what happened that day, to understand the complex and brutal history that lay behind it. Cutting through the obfuscations of the authorities, he uncovers a story of violence, fanaticism and neglect that exposes the self-interest and double standards at the heart of our supposed commitment to human rights and the fight against terror. As the facts begin to emerge, the family's deep personal grief is compounded by the realisation that this murder is just one among thousands, in a war fuelled as much by western cynicism and African greed as by ethnic divisions.
"Titanic Express" is a political detective story, a memoir of grief and a moving portrait of an extraordinary woman who died at the very moment she had found fulfilment. In gripping detail it shows the human reality of lives torn apart by the machinations of war and diplomatic expediency, where competing versions of the truth can be as deadly as bullets and machetes. "I have watched in growing admiration how, with dogged persistence, Richard Wilson has conducted a singular crusade, not just to bring his sister's murderers to justice, but to understand who they were and why they killed her." Jon Swain, Sunday Times
Richard Wilson read philosophy at University College London before working in IT for five years. He spent 2003 volunteering for a human rights charity in South East Asia. He lives in London, where he now writes full time, and continues to campaign for his sisters' killers to be brought to justice. This is his first book.