Monday, 31 October 2016

Book Review of Water Trade

About the book

In the late 1930s a brilliant Japanese military spy-in-training hides a dark secret. Despite unparalleled academic achievements and impressive physical ability, he hides a damning psychological disability that is unknown to the public or his military superiors. His “condition” is one he shares with few others, but they are, like him, the high achievers of their day. Scientists, doctors, scholars, writers, politicians, actors and more. Unknown for the most part, even to one another, in the early twenty-first century they wrestle their shared disability into submission or risk losing everything they dream of and have worked for. 
Today we celebrate so many of them. The secret is out. These people have bipolar syndrome. But in 1938 so little was known that the disability was without even a public name although there were inklings of its existence in scientific circles. 

The propensities of the condition were then, as now, unpredictable, sometimes shocking and often simply bizarre. It’s likely that as human beings have suffered with this “mood disorder” through millennia, some of them have been able to suppress the demon; have been able to press it deep into themselves and contain it…most of the time.

“The Water Trade” is a novel built around the idea that a high level covert operative of the Japanese government was a very high functioning sufferer of what is today known as bipolar syndrome. The novel is an espionage tale and a historical romance which takes many cues from history, but imagines also what might happen when an agent with an undiagnosed psychological malady slips unnoticed into a leading role in a history making series of events. Even the most disciplined sufferer might be prone to make ill-advised decisions from time to time. “The Water Trade” explores how those decisions might impact the fate of people and governments and the future of nations.

In 1938, while still in training with the Japanese Imperial Navy, ensign Arashi Sasaki is assigned to monitor shortwave radio messages when he comes upon one describing the northward movement of seventeen British troop transports on the open ocean to the west of Dakar, Sengal. He immediately reports the intercept to his superiors and the information quickly finds its way to the German High Command in Berlin. The subsequent sinking of the transports resulted in the death of over 1,000 British seamen. A year later, and courier-delivered hand-written letter of thanks from German Chancellor Adolph Hitler was delivered to the ensign. The rising star of the Imperial Navy might have languished in the obscurity of Tokyo office buildings if not for this lucky lightening strike, but as it was he was selected by top brass to be the eyes and ears of the Japanese Imperial Navy in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the fall of 1941.

A poor choice of disguises on a daylight reconnaissance reveals his identity to a Japanese civilian woman and a US Navy shore patrol. Compromised by his unmasking he begins making a series of course corrections to keep the suspicious couple at bay. As the clock ticks down to the day of the attack on December 7, 1941, just as incriminating evidence has been obtained, the zeros unload their ordnance on Pearl Harbor and three parties are flung far from one another across the globe.

The three primary characters, despite their individual determination to let the past lie, are nevertheless drawn together once again to a final explosive conclusion in 1954 Honolulu orchestrated by international forces they would never have imagined.

My Review

Intriguing piece of story in the backdrop of World War II! The moment I started reading the historical fiction I was completely drawn towards the amount of research the author had done in developing the story plot.

The war is upfront and all the details of the enemy will help the Japanese take reigns and to keep their strong hold and Arashi is the man for the job. Arashi is a spy deployed by the Japanese to find the secrets of the enemy and to foil their plans. He is the man for the j0ob.

The protagonists of the story play their part in the best way possible and will keep you hooked up, as you move through the pages.

The story is quite descriptive and the way the author has portrayed the happenings in the pre-war scenario will amaze you. There is so much to read in the story, with spies, love, deception and war upfront, there is a lot happening throughout the book.

Be prepared to go back in history and to watch the lives of people in the pre World War II period. Incredible story but the best part of the story lies in the end where things go a little eerie in the most unexpected way you can ever imagine.

Read more about the book at Online Book Club