In Lee’s debut World War II thriller, a young agent infiltrates the Japanese atomic bomb program.
Mina Sakamoto, code-named Coral Hare, is no ordinary teenage girl. Born and raised in Honolulu, she learns medicine from her father, a doctor, and also becomes proficient in several languages. Her life is changed forever on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and Mina’s beloved father is killed. As a skilled Japanese-American linguist, she’s uniquely suited to join the U.S. government’s Office of Strategic Services—first as a translator and later as a spy posing as a young nurse. After three years of fieldwork in Asia, Mina is already battle-hardened at the age of 17, but her greatest test is yet to come. Japan is making dangerous progress in its atomic bomb program, so Mina must travel behind enemy lines to Tokyo and mark an atomic facility for destruction. In the process, she encounters Col. Tetsuo Matsui of the Imperial Japanese Army, the man in charge of the program who’s also known as the Butcher of Bataan; she gains his eternal enmity by causing the firebombing of Tokyo. From Japan to northern Korea to Borneo, Mina witnesses horrifying violence and leaves a trail of bloody destruction as she races to stop Japan from building an A-bomb and dropping it on the United States. With her Japanese schoolgirl uniform, arsenal of weapons and exclamations such as “Aloha, bitches!,” Mina seems more suited to the graphic-novel or comic-book format; so do the secondary characters, as the good guys are all good, and the bad guys are all bad. However, even if this thriller seems a little too enamored of its own protagonist, it moves at a whirlwind pace. Every time it seems that Mina is about to catch a break and wrap up her adventures, another crisis sends her back out in the field, regardless of her life-threatening injuries. The story also delivers a submarine chase, a Tommy-gun–wielding priest and even a shark attack.
A breakneck historical thriller.