ALLEGIANCE by Wayne L. Green


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It's May, 1943, at the western edge of the Aleutian Islands: First Lieutenant Michael Andrews, flying a strafing mission against the Japanese, is shot down over the barren isle of Attu. Wounded, he manages to reach Chichagof Harbor, only to arrive at the door of a Japanese field hospital. But the doctor who happens to find Michael is Tomi Nakamura--US-educated, a devout Christian, non-violent. And, convinced that Michael is destined for some God-ly quest (especially when it turns out that Michael is studying plant pathology), Nakamura vows to save the American's life, ""no matter what problems or obstacles. No matter what cost to himself."" The doctor swathes Michael in bandages, telling everyone that he's a severely burned Japanese officer. Michael is suspicious at first--trying to make radio contact with the US troops, trying to escape (briefly) into the icy wilderness. But Nakamura remains steadfast through it all; Michael realizes the doctor's goodness: ""friend, companion, rescuer, and mentor. Brother and father too."" And when the US forces close in and the Japanese doctors are ordered to join in a suicidal last-ditch attack, there'll be a noble, holding-back-tears farewell between the two men--with a tragic, ironic end for the brave doctor. First-novelist Green gives only the most obvious treatment to this plain scenario, ""based on the actual experiences"" of a WW II Japanese doctor: the Christian-saint portrait of Nakamura is especially one-dimensional. And attempts to fill out the novel--flashbacks to Michael's love-life, scenes involving the approaching US troops--are amateurish. But the Japanese-hospital milieu is grimly convincing, with genuine horror in the kamikaze windup; and the strong central story-idea should be powerful enough to pull many war-fiction readers past the lapses and weaknesses in Green's creaky narrative.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1983
Publisher: Crown