Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis

After starting and stopping two books (A Prayer for Owen Meany and Alice's Tulips), I finally finished a book!
The Killing Sea is "a novel about the tsunami that stunned the world" (from the cover). The author, Richard Lewis, is the son of American missionaries who lives in Bali, Indonesia and helped out in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami. His firsthand experience really shows in this novel.
This book is intended for readers ages 12 and up, and the difficulty level reflects that. It is not a challenging book in that way, but Lewis doesn't hold back on the subject matter. Emotionally, there are some challenges in this book, but they were handled with care. The book is a very quick read and short, at just under 200 pages. The story is gripping and characterization is well done.
Oh yes. The story. Ruslan is an Indonesian teenager whose father is the local mechanic. On Christmas Day in 2004, a Western family approaches him for help fixing their yacht. Ruslan is immediately fascinated with Sarah, the blond-haired, blue-eyed American girl. Fast forward to the next morning, when an earthquake shakes the area, and, minutes later, the land is swept by a monstrous wave. Sarah's family was anchored on an island off shore, and, while trying to get away, her father breaks his leg. Sarah's mother tells her to run for high ground with her brother, and, Sarah and Peter are separated from their parents. Meanwhile, Ruslan's father was meant to be repairing a tanker offshore, and Ruslan assumes he was lost, until he finds a note from his father saying that he had gone to Ie Mameh to talk with Ruslan's late mother's rebel family, and he hadn't wanted to tell him. Ruslan is relieved to learn that his father could still be safe and sets out towards the other village. Naturally, along the way Ruslan's and Sarah's paths cross and they travel together. I won't say anymore, except (and this could be considered a small spoiler) the ending was one of the most satisfying endings I've read in a long time. Very well done!


Debi said...

Never heard of this one, but it really sounds fantastic! Thanks Somer!

Somer said...

I think you and Annie would both really like The Killing Sea!