||July 7, 2009
Based on history's deadliest crocodile attack. **EPIC Award winner for Best Historical Fiction 2011**
It is the deadliest crocodile attack ever recorded. On February 19th, 1945, a thousand Japanese soldiers retreated into the fetid mangrove swamps of Ramree Island. Days later, only twenty were found alive.
Inspired by true events during WW2, Sunset on Ramree follows young musician-turned-soldier Shigeatsu Nakadai and his best friend, Kodi, as they head ever deeper into danger.
*Winner of the 2011 EPIC Award for Historical Fiction.
For more info, visit www.robertappleton.co.uk/sunsetonramree.htm
I try to conjure a memory of before the war—something, anything to distract me—but draw a blank every time. I purse my lips to whistle a familiar tune, but nothing comes out. I shut my eyes tight and roll them inward until they ache and release a heavy pulse. The screams and shots and calls for surrender are still there. Kodi and Sobiku are still there. I imagine the reed of a clarinet between my lips and the long, sustained breath given to making sweetly aching music. But nothing comes out. No tune, no melody, no woodwind to soothe the mangroves. Just the damp, cold harmonics of the night. I’m lost without music, and there is no music on Ramree.
This is a story based on actual events of WWII. Shigeatsu Nakadai, a young musician turned soldier,along with his friend, Kodi, are among the 1000 that are trying to escape from the British. The Japanese army’s motto was “never surrender.” They would commit suicide rather than surrender.
As they flee further and further to the recesses of the island they are plagued with mosquitoes, scorpions, fever and many other maladies. There is no fresh water, just the murky waters of the swamp. They are at the mercy of the salt water crocodiles. As they move further into the dense regions they wonder if they are still traveling in the same direction, or if they are going in circles. As they slowly fight for survival, death seems almost a relief.
I felt as though I was there alongside the men trying to escape. This is a book that will stay with you long after you close the cover.
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