Author Emmett E. Slake spins a tragic tale about the interwoven lives of a handful of Americans and Japanese thrown together in Japan at the outbreak of the Korean War. Private Dave Ricksen is one of these soldiers who falls in love with a Japanese woman. He is selected to be in the first wave of American soldiers to be sent to Korea to stem the North Korean invasion. Ill prepared and ill equipped, his unit is slaughtered, and Ricksen narrowly survives the encounter. Barely alive, he evades the North Koreans and finally makes it back to the American lines. Flown to a military hospital in Japan, he slowly recovers, only to learn he has been charged with treason. Meanwhile, the life of everyone he left behind has been disrupted. He struggles to prove his innocence only to find the woman he loved has disappeared, and he is being thrown back into the conflict. This is an interesting and realistic account of the impact of war, not only on the battlefield, but on those left behind.
Review by Bob Doerr (June 2019)
One June day at the mid-point of the twentieth century, the uneasy peace that settled over the "Land of the Morning Calm" was shattered by an act of aggression. Not far away, on the "Islands of the Rising Sun" the first tremors of conflict resonated. In response to the vague menace, an army of occupation from a previous war was ordered into action, forever altering the lives of those called upon to respond. The novel is an intense account of the early stages of the Korean War candidly presented without pretense or heroic embellishment. The saga provides a unique fictional journey that traces the lives of two young American soldiers, who from a common beginning diverge to their separate fates: one heroic and the other treasonous. Involved in the course of action is a diverse cast of related characters, military and civilian, foreign and native, each confronting a range of moral issues, which include courage and sacrifice, misbehavior and intrigue, love and lust. The tragic drama evolves over a realm that extends from the backstreets of Yokohama to the power center of Japan: the Dai Ichi building in Tokyo, to the treacherous landscape of Korea. The vivid portrayal of events is a captivating fictional experience that serves to inform, entertain and reveal a largely disregarded time and place in history.
ISBN/ASIN: ISBNs 9781642375558, eISBN 9781642375565
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 363