In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow

  

Set in Hiroshima, Japan, during the closing months of World War II, In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow is the story of Micah Lund, a B-29 Bombardier hellbent on extracting revenge against the Japanese after his brother’s death on Guadalcanal, and Kiyomi Oshiro, a war widow, struggling to keep her young daughter, Ai, alive in a city where starving people line up for handouts of spoiled food. 

In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow explores the bond between a mother and daughter that is stronger than death and the guilt of a man who comes face to face with the suffering he has caused. It is a tale of love in all of its extraordinary forms, forgiveness, and sacrifice against overwhelming odds. 

A blend of historical fiction and magical realism, In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow  gives readers a glimpse of Japanese culture and customs while bringing to life Japanese legends and mythological beings.

Excerpt

  

This world—

to what may I liken it?

To autumn fields

lit dimly in the dusk

by lightning flashes. 

—Minamoto-no-Shitago


  

Chapter One

Death followed Micah Lund like an ever-present shadow. It hovered in briefing rooms and Quonset huts in the form of empty chairs and beds. It lingered in the conversations of men tired of fighting a war. Death even invaded his dreams where, night after night, he awoke from a terrifying vision of falling toward earth, arms clawing at clouds for purchase. He had watched too many friends plummet through the sky over Japan toward an uncertain fate—toward a wave of fire rolling across whatever city lay below. 

  

Micah pressed against the hard bombardier’s seat in the forward dome of the B-29. The droning Superfortress engines vibrated inside his head as he struggled to forget the nightmare and focus on his mission. Through the bomber’s Plexiglas nose, the sapphire water of the Philippine Sea brushed past as if paint applied to canvas, morning sunlight glistening upon the swells. 


He covered his mouth and yawned. The dream roused him during the night. Eyes closed, he had attempted to go back to sleep but buzzing mosquitoes, rats scurrying along the walls of their hut, and the wind stirring palm fronds kept him awake. Micah had stopped trying to interpret the dream’s meaning, content to awaken before the nightmare concluded.