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Beside a Burning Sea: Book summary and reviews of Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

Beside a Burning Sea

by John Shors

Beside a Burning Sea
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2008
    448 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Paperback Original. One moment, the World War II hospital ship Benevolence was cruising through the Pacific. In the next, she was engulfed in chaos, split in two by a torpedo.

A small group of survivors makes it to the deserted shore of a nearby island, including a wounded Japanese soldier who saved a young nurse from death. Akira has spent five years engulfed in blood and horror. Now, surrounded by those he is supposed to hate, he instead finds solace in their company. Sharing the mystery and beauty of his favorite poems with the beautiful American woman he has rescued, he watches as the others confront their own passions and demons. Meanwhile, a secret held by one of the castaways may determine whether any of them will ever see their homelands again.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Shors pays satisfying attention to class and race dynamics, as well as the tension between wartime enemies. The survivors’ dignity, quiet strength and fellowship make this a magical read." - Publishers Weekly.

"Fast-paced and earnest, but this tale of a fateful trip promises more depth than it delivers." - Kirkus Reviews.

"From page one of Beside A Burning Sea, you know you are in the hands of a master storyteller. This novel has the aura of the mythic, the magical, and that which is grounded in history. Shors weaves psychological intrigue by looking at his characters’ competing desires: love, revenge, and meaning. Both lyrical and deeply imaginative." - Amy Tan. —Amy Tan, Author of The Joy Luck Club

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Author Information

John Shors Author Biography

After graduating from Colorado College, John Shors lived for several years in Kyoto, Japan, where he taught English. On a shoestring budget, he later trekked across Asia, visiting ten countries and climbing the Himalayas. After returning to the United States, he became a newspaper reporter in his hometown, Des Moines, Iowa, winning several statewide awards in journalism. John then moved to Boulder, Colorado, and helped launch GroundFloor Media, now one of the state's largest public relations firms.

John has been lucky enough to spend much of his life abroad, traveling in Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, Africa, and North America. Now a full-time novelist, John spends his days writing and going on family outings with his wife, Allison, and their two young children, Sophie and Jack.

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