Rich historical detail and the very best sort of emotional engagement--in a fine treatment of the fate of the Americans, both military and civilian, trapped in the Philippines during WW II. Several generations have grown up since the last days of the Philippines as part of an American empire, and the once strong emotional ties to that most confusing country, weakened by time, seem to have been snapped by President and Mrs. Marcos. But author Graves (August People, 1985, etc.) grew up in Manila, remembers the American raj, knew the Americans, knows and admires the Filipinos, loves the islands, and understands that the story of the Japanese occupation is a great one. He has done that tale justice, hanging it on story lines about Amos Watson, a wealthy American businessman whose prediction of Japanese victory makes him a pariah; Carmen ""Papaya"" Despensayang, Watson's clever and entertaining mistress; Jack Humphrey, an American officer captured and imprisoned by the Japanese; Judy Ferguson, a rather spoiled American beauty; Brad Stone, a teacher-turned-soldier who slips out of Japanese hands to become a guerrilla; and various supporting Americans and Filipinos, each vivid, none stereotyped. Watson, interned after the Japanese invasion, runs a spy ring from his civilian concentration camp. Humphrey survives the death march and hangs on to provide leadership in the military prison. The Filipinos, seething under the Japanese, subvert and sabotage and plan for an independent future. Exhaustive research and firsthand knowledge provide a superb foundation for a fascinating story that is fresh and free of clichÃ‰.