Author: E.C. Olson
ISBN: 978-0-9905595-0-4 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-9905595-1-1 (eBook)
This epic novel is one part historical drama, one part love story, and one part spy mystery, but perhaps most of all, it is an homage to a very special people trapped in a deadly, duplicitous, war-torn world. For more than three generations, the Collins-Adderley family pioneered the Florida Keys - growing pineapples, oranges, bananas and tobacco on their plantation, "Torchwood" - fishing, sponging and turtling the bountiful waters of the Northern Caribbean - treasure diving 17th Century Gold Fleet shipwrecks - and most of all, living and loving in peaceful harmony in one of the most beautiful, idyllic places on Earth. But then World War II harshly descends upon them, and before long, their peace and prosperity vanish and their patriarch, Roy Collins, is tragically lost at sea in a U-boat attack. Gone, too, is Roy's only son and successor, Chris, who joins the U.S. Navy the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when a U-boat litters their beach with grisly, bloated bodies of boys not much older than he. Trapped in the South Pacific throughout the war without leave, there is little Chris can do to help his family battle the misfortunes he reads about in their woeful letters. Then, finally, when the war ends, Chris makes his way home only to find conditions worse than he ever imagined. All of their businesses have failed and their plantation is foreclosed, but that pales in the harsh light of their personal misfortunes. Chris' father is three years gone and presumed dead, his mother debilitated by haunting visions of her personal demon, his fiancée Rebecca Adderley is strangely preoccupied with a secret she can't tell anyone, and his beloved younger sister Clarity is running wild on the bawdy streets of Key West. In his attempt to salvage what is left of their lives, Chris crosses paths with a young intrepid newspaperwoman, Kate Douglass, who has inadvertently discovered that Roy Collins' disappearance was the result of something far worse and far more nefarious than a U-boat attack. She and Chris encounter seemingly invincible evil forces as they attempt to unravel the mystery that has engulfed them, and ever so slowly their quest reveals the involvement of the Mafia, the CIA, the Nazis, Cuban communists, crooked U.S. politicians and most threatening of all, a mysterious, traitorous, Wall-Street funded cabal known as "The Cartel." And then, when all seems lost, Chris and Kate are shockingly aided by the astonishing alliance of Ernest Hemingway, Meyer Lansky, a young, emerging political firebrand named Fidel Castro, the German resistance leader Rudolf von Gersdorff and most shocking of all, the legendary pirate known for centuries as "Black Caesar." But even with the extraordinary abilities of these notable characters, nothing prepares Chris and Kate for what they find at the end of their quest: that Roy Collins was an unintended victim of a global conspiracy to rule the post-war world, a treasonous scheme that included the overthrow of the U.S. government from forces within. Against the backdrop of this foreboding intrigue is the breathtakingly beautiful isles of the Keys and Cuba - settings that truly become characters - and as this story unfolds, their unpredictable waters, stoic mountains, and fickle jungles shape events and determine destinies like no armies could ever do. Based on actual events and well-researched facts, this gripping epic will leave the reader shocked, mystified and forewarned, for as the preface states: "Most of the things written about here actually occurred...and the rest could have."
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