||Jun 19, 2006
Palawan is an adventure story that has it all. There is an exotic tropical island location. There are Muslim terrorists, missionary hostages, a millionaire’s daughter, mercenaries, Borneo pirates and a struggle for survival. It’s a story of friendship, courage, life, death and love played out under extreme conditions. The story begins half a world away in the Philippine jungle, continues in Las Vegas and has its unexpected climax on a ranch in the Arizona High desert.
Barnes & Noble.com
Lisa sat at the dressing table in her quarters at the Christian mission. The sheen on her skin was part perspiration and part mosquito repellant. She listened to the night call of the geckos and reflected on the previous week as she combed her shoulder length hair before turning in for the night. Her body clock was still playing catch up after having traveled half way around the world. Her home was in the high desert country of the American Southwest and she wondered if she would ever get used to the humidity. It was the rainy season on Palawan.
The geckos went silent and the door to her room suddenly flew open. The image of a man appeared in the dressing table mirror. She jumped out of her chair, knocking it over, and spun around. Standing in the doorway was a young Filipino man with a wispy mustache. He was short, maybe 5 feet 4 inches tall. He was slightly built with a mop of blue black hair over a pair of wild, dark brown eyes. The intruder was wearing a sleeveless white tee shirt over loose baggy trousers and had rubber sandals on his feet. Hanging at his waist was a large bolo knife in a wooden scabbard; the AK47 assault rifle in his hands was pointed directly at her chest.
Lisa gasped, then stammered, “What do you want?”
He spoke in heavily accented English, “No talk, no sound, you make sound, you die.” The worst nightmare of Lisa’s young life had just begun.
The island of Palawan protrudes like a dagger thrust out from the rest of the Philippine Archipelago deep into the South China Sea. The small islands in the Balabac Straights fall like drops of blood from the tip of the dagger onto the island of Borneo. The east side of Palawan forms the western boundary of the Sulu Sea. The island has a spine of mountains running its entire length and some of the thickest triple canopy rainforests this side of the Amazon Basin.
Southwest Palawan is one of the last wild places on the planet. Of the more than seven thousand islands that make up the Republic of the Philippines, many could be said to be remote, but Palawan is the place that Filipinos refer to as the last frontier. It is the home to many rare species of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else, not even in other parts of the Philippines. It is also home to a number of indigenous peoples, some of whom are jungle dwellers with no written language who are just a couple steps out of the Stone Age.
The list of things on Palawan Island that could kill you was already long. Now, Abu Sayyaf terrorists could be added to that list.
Palawan A Novel by C. D. Williams
The rescue of two young captives on the remote island of Palawan leads to a hunger for revenge by the leader of a terrorist group who follows his victims from Manila to Las Vegas in search of satiation. In Palawan, first time novelist C. D. Williams illustrates the reach of terror as it extends beyond politics and religion into the personal.
Lisa Sutton is a new college graduate who has accepted a missionary internship on Palawan, a sparsely inhabited island in the Philippine archipelago, run by a reverend and his wife. One evening Lisa is abducted along with her sponsors and a young man named Marty, who came to the island to dive with his friends. The kidnappers are members of the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group with connections to Al Qaeda. Once the captives are secured in a remote village, the group’s leader, Commander Omar Ali Hassan, releases a video of the four and makes demands to the Philippine and United States governments in exchange for their lives.
This book cannot be read without recalling news clips of captives in Iraq over the last few years. Through his characters, the author provides a realistic depiction of the fear and anguish real-life victims must have experienced. There is also a frightening characterization of an Al Qaeda devotee in Commander Omar Ali: He becomes obsessed with his goals of destruction and credits every violent success to Allah. Where the story departs from reality is in the execution of retribution by the victims.
Williams creates scenes in vivid detail. Most appealing are the descriptions of the tropical forests of Palawan and the fire power used by both the good and bad guys. Equally intriguing are the violent death scenes that, initially, catch the reader by surprise and, like the mangled remains of a fiery car accident, demand a second glance. After their rescue, the youngest victims start a business and a life together, but learn that they are still not safe. As Marty and Lisa take steps to protect themselves, the author continues to paint meticulous pictures that, on occasion, move a little too fast and tell a little too much too soon. A slower pace would have had readers in a tizzy by the time the glorious ending was reached.
Palawan is filled to the hilt with action, military history, and true- to-life terror. Williams has accomplished a solid first effort and clearly has the talent and capacity to achieve success as a writer.
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Midwest Book Review
C. D. Williams
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
1425916406, $15.99 www.authorhouse.com www.cdwilliams.com
Ruthless Islamic terrorists, hapless missionary hostages, a millionaire's daughter, seasoned mercenaries, and lethal Borneo pirates are all key elements in "Palawan", a riveting action/adventure novel by C. D. Williams. An exceptionally engaging read from beginning to end, "Palawan" is a deftly written story of friendship, courage, life, death, love, and a struggle for survival that begins in the Philippine jungle, continues to unfold in the lights and glitter of Las Vegas, and ultimately reaches its unpredictable resolution in the high desert country of Arizona. Very strongly recommended for community library collections and personal reading lists for those who appreciate compelling action/adventure fiction, "Palawan" is the debut novel of C. D. Williams and will have the reader looking eagerly toward his next title.
Midwest Book Review
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Palawan by C. D. Williams
October 25th, 2007 by Andrew Ian Dodge
C D Williams
A little under 250 pages with a nice tropical scene on the cover might lead you to believe that this was a fluffy little novel about romance in the South Seas. And that is just the point of the cover, to lure you into this rip-roaring thriller with Islamic terrorists and ‘Nam vets. Locals as diverse as the lush tropical jungle of the Philippines and Sin City aka Las Vegas add to a nice mixture here.
This is a great thriller that never once drags anywhere. The pace is quick, the novel is well laid out and the editing is better than most mass market paperbacks. The fact that Williams has pulled off a timely terrorist thriller with more pace and less verbiage than the mighty Tom Clancy is to be applauded.
This is a perfect novel for someone flying from the East Coast of the US to Vegas. A perfect travel novel that has enough to get you distracted but not enough to get turgid. I highly recommend this novel and feel almost intimidated that this is Williams’ debut.
The novel would make a perfect movie, as long as Williams could make sure the baddies stay the same. Methinks there is a great script right below the surface. Let me assure you that it does not read like a script made into a novel.
If you are in search of a good novel to while away a few hours before you sleep at night might I suggest Palawan?
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