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Book Review: Fire and Ice by Paul Garrison

Michael Stone and his wife Sarah and their ten-year-old daughter Ronnie sail in a medical boat, Veronica, in the remote Pacific. Their duty is to attend the distress calls from the passing by ships or tankers, and in other time they visit remote isolated islands and atolls to tend the needs of poor. While they are sailing towards Pulo Helena (a chain of atolls) to help the poor living in the fales, they get a distress call from a massive tanker bound for China, carrying LNG. Sarah and Ronnie go to attend that ship in their medical boat while Michael runs towards a fale where an old man is dying. The old man having sailed for one thousand miles reaches to this atoll only to find it deserted. Thus, he commits his own killing by thrusting a knife in his flank. By the time Michael could do anything miraculous, the old passes away.

On the other hand, Sarah and Ronnie find themselves being deceived by the call from the tanker. They have to cure and nurse an old man who has received a bullet on his torso. Their boat is cradled up and Michael sees that the tanker is going away. They are kidnapped. When a white man’s bullet-ridden body washes up the atoll shore, his doubts confirmed that his family has been kidnapped and taken away. He miserably sees them going away.

He repairs the dead old man’s battered canoe and starts sailing towards Palau that is located 250 miles from the atoll. But he is going in the opposite direction of the tanker. Since he has some contacts in Palau from that he will be able to trace down the details of the tanker, Dallas Belle. Having inspired by the old man’s journey who took 1000 miles solo journey on an ordinary canoe, Michael believes that the journey is not about the vehicle but the man who takes it. Michael braves the odds of the sea in his journey and without equipment it becomes a life-draining journey. After gaining the details about the tanker he travels to Hong Kong, Shanghai and in the end to Tokyo to end everything.

The old man in the tanker is Mr. Jack from China – he served as a pilot in WWII. And he keeps deep hatred against Japs. His plan is to blow the Tokyo Tower, which will cripple down Japan’s economy. After knowing about Michael’s chase plan, he sends a gang of assassins to get him killed but to no avail. Michael with his experience in the sea gets on the tanker in Tokyo and saves his daughter and averts the danger. Though the tanker explodes in the end but its course was already maneuvered by him so it blows in the mid, not around the city.

The story is more of chasing the kidnappers and less to do with the sea adventures. The author has done amazing research work to fit well the sea-related jargon in the story. It is a gripping story with fewer characters, as a debut writer Paul has brought his writing talent to an amazing justice and applause.   


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