Empress of Asia: A Novel

Empress of Asia: A Novel

5.0 1
by Adam Lewis Schroeder
     
 

A sweeping epic story of heart-wrenching love and wartime adventure, Empress of Asia introduces a stunning young talent hailed as the next great Canadian writer

The year is 1942, and the world is engulfed by war. Young Canadian seaman Harry Winslow has just arrived in Singapore after the bombing of his ship, the Empress of Asia. One night in

Overview

A sweeping epic story of heart-wrenching love and wartime adventure, Empress of Asia introduces a stunning young talent hailed as the next great Canadian writer

The year is 1942, and the world is engulfed by war. Young Canadian seaman Harry Winslow has just arrived in Singapore after the bombing of his ship, the Empress of Asia. One night in the ravaged city, Harry meets and falls madly in love with a vivacious young Englishwoman named Lily. After a hasty marriage, they are separated during the confusion of an air raid. Harry begins a desperate search for Lily across the Dutch East Indies, enduring hunger, illness, and unimaginable cruelty before finally being reunited with his wife.

Many years later, in Canada, Harry sits at Lily's bedside. In her dying moments, Lily reveals an astonishing secret: She gives him the address of Michel Ney, a man who saved Harry's life before being killed by the Japanese during the war—or so Harry had always believed. Can Lily be in contact with a man she never met, and why does she insist on Harry's reunion with him now?

Fifty years later after the wartime events that changed his life forever, Harry travels to Thailand to begin the final adventure of his life—to retrace the journey of his Empress of Asia and to uncover the mystery that lies at the heart of the love of his life.

A powerful story peopled with unforgettable characters, Empress of Asia is a stirring chronicle of love and loss, of loyalty and betrayal, amidst the turbulence of war.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Compelling, heartbreaking, and witty...will stay with you long after you've put it down."

- The Globe and Mail, Best Books of the Year

"A well wrought-tribute to lives torn apart by war."

- Publishers Weekly

"Adam Lewis Schroeder is a talented writer with a promising future ahead of him."

- The Vancouver Sun

"Terrific...vividly present. The text sparkles and crackles with places and people."

- Books in Canada

"An accomplished and textured tale that is both memorable and rewarding."

- The Georgia Straight

"Schroeder has a deft hand at recounting Harry's emotional and psychological journey."

- Booklist

Publishers Weekly

British Columbian Schroeder takes the reader on an epic journey from contemporary back to WWII Singapore in his debut novel. After Harry Winslow's dying wife reveals that Michel Ney, a war buddy who Harry thought was dead, is in fact alive, Harry begins a quest that will take him to remote Thailand. Spliced in with the contemporary plot is Harry's wild past: as a young marine in Singapore, Harry meets Lily, marries and loses her in a 24-hour period during the Japanese invasion. Harry is captured and sent to a Japanese prison camp, where he meets resourceful Frenchman Michel. The two are split up, and Harry later hears that Michel died while trying to escape from another camp. Harry and Lily reunite after the Japanese surrender (she'd been held in a women's camp), though Harry doesn't know about the painful secret Lily now bears. Chunks are told in an annoying second person, and the lengthy descriptions of flora and fauna suggests an author too eager to show his research, but the narrator's wry sense of humor and a plot loaded with jailbreaks, desperate sea crossings and daring rescues do much to mitigate. Schroeder's first effort is a well-wrought tribute to lives torn apart by war. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312376406
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/18/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.79(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.42(d)

Meet the Author

Adam Lewis Schroeder grew up on an apple orchard in Vernon, British Columbia, and has since traveled widely, publishing stories in more than a dozen journals and anthologies. His story collection Kingdom of Monkeys was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and Empress of Asia was a finalist for both the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Amazon.ca / Books in Canada First Novel Award. Adam lives with his wife and sons in Penticton, British Columbia. Visit his Web site at www.adamlewisschroeder.com.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Harry Winslow is stunned when his wife Lily on her death bed at St. Paul Hospital informs him that his French World War II buddy Michel Ney was still alive Harry had thought Michel had died several years ago. She gives him an address and unanswered questions like how did she know this man whom he assumed she never met. His quest to meet up with the Frenchman who saved his life back in 1942 takes him to Kanchaburi Province, Thailand.------------- On his quest Harry reflects back to his days as a Canadian marine in Singapore. He met, married and lost Lily there in one day when the Japanese invaded the island and captured him as a prisoner of war. He went to a Japanese prison camp where he met Michel. They became friends until the Japanese separated them. He later learned Michel died trying to escape internment. After the war ended, Harry finds Lily, freed form a women¿s prison, but she hid a dark disturbing secret from her husband.-------------- EMPRESS OF ASIA is a fascinating look at the negative impact of war on the lives of people even decades after the conflict is over. The story line is superb when it focuses on the three main characters in the present and during WW II. However, there is an overwhelming sense of place due to overwritten but picturesque descriptions of geography. Still filled with excitement, readers will appreciate Adam Lewis Schroeder¿s fine tale that armchair cheerleaders insisting the surge is working should read to understand the long term side effects of war on the soldiers (and their families). ---------- Harriet Klausner