Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Killing Sea
By Richard Lewis
Pub: April 2008
This is a compelling story that follows two kids struggling to survive and find family and safety during the aftermath of a massive tidal wave.
It's written by someone who should know. Richard Lewis lives in Indonesia, experienced the 2004 tsunami firsthand and worked as a relief worker in the days and weeks following the tidal wave.
Sarah is spending Christmas sailing around Indonesia with her parents, brother, and a mangy cat they found in a gutter called Surf Cat. But when tragedy strikes and the massive tidal wave leaves her mother dead and dad missing she is forced to forge forward to find a safe refuge and medical care for her brother, who is getting increasingly worse.
The other character you follow is young Ruslan. He is a native of the island, Aceh, and fancies himself an artist. He works at a local coffee shop where he meets Sarah and her family before the disaster. When the wave strikes his father, the local mechanic, is aboard a ship close to shore, or so we think. Ruslan finds a letter from his father explaining that he actually went to meet his mothers relatives in a dangerous rebel-occupied area and didn't want his son to worry. Now Ruslan must traverse the dangerous coast line, avoid military soldiers and rebels, and find his father without getting killed.
The story is written with chapters alternating perspectives between Sarah and Ruslan, which worked but it did take a bit of getting used to. The book kept me intrigued until the very end. Each chapter set up a cliffhanger ending which kept me reading throughout the night.
The characters feel very real and I felt I could relate to how they handled their problems. I held my breath at some parts, worried and unsure of what would happen next. Ruslan narrowly escapes on a motorcycle while dodging bullets from military soldiers. He also gets attacked by a giant python, Sarah has to deal with a water buffalo trying to jump into her boat, and both of them have to steal a jeep to avoid another deadly military attack. Lewis brings the reader along for the ride, puts you in the middle of the action and makes you care about the characters.
The Killing Sea is a wonderful book which I enjoyed immensely. Lewis' first hand accounts add a fabulous realism to the characters experiences. I recommend this novel to anyone who likes action, suspense, and just plain awesome!