Joh Sasaki, Author, Jo Sasaki, Author, Hiroko Yoda, Translator , trans. from the Japanese by Hiroko Yoda with Matt Alt. Vertical $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-932234-09-1

A major Japanese talent in detective and thriller fiction appears in English with this excellent, compact WWII tale. Hitler decides to build a Japanese Zero fighter, and Japanese navy officials, with mixed feelings about the alliance with Germany, have to find some way of getting two Zeros from Japan to Germany. This involves picking two maverick pilots, Lt. Keichi Ando and NCO Kyohei Inui, and arranging for airfields in British territory (India) and British-patrolled territory (Iran and Iraq). Both pilots are well-drawn characters, Ando especially, and competent sketches of people like Gaj Singh, an anti-British maharajah; Ando's sister Michiko; and American pilot of fortune Jim Purvis lend depth to the book. So do the flying scenes (including a raid on British Victoria bombers in Iraq, into which the Japanese pilots are blackmailed by Iraqi Colonel Hussein). Sasaki also draws on the wartime history of Japan to deal with themes not well-known to Western readers, including the rivalry between the Japanese army and navy and the "culture war" between Japanese patriotically sticking to traditional ways and those maintaining modern tastes. The writing is sometimes awkward but never incomprehensible, the pacing breakneck, the cast a trifle large for the length, but the total effect a compact Japanese version of a W.E.B. Griffin novel. Agent, Anne Ishii. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 699 pages - 978-1-934287-51-4
Paperback - 704 pages - 978-1-935654-78-0
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