One man. One hour. One million people to save…
Over the remote central Pacific, an airliner is rocked by a massive explosion and plummets into the ocean, leaving no survivors.
Twelve hundred miles away in Hawaii, Kai Tanaka, the acting director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Honolulu, notes a minor seismic disturbance but doesn’t make the connection with the lost airplane. He has no reason to worry about his wife, manager of a luxury hotel, or his daughter, who is enjoying the sunshine at Waikiki beach.
But when all contact with neighbouring Christmas Island is lost, Kai is the first to realize that Hawaii faces an epic catastrophe: in one hour, a series of massive waves will wipe out Honolulu. He has just sixty minutes to save the lives of a million people, including his wife and daughter…
Boxing Day 2004 – millions of people around the world wakeup after overindulging in mince pies, chocolate and turkey to hear the devastating news that a Tsunami – known today as the Boxing Day Tsunami or Indonesian Tsunami – had struck in fourteen countries killing in excess of 200,000 people.
We are fully aware of the facts today but on that day in 2004 news was initially light and spasmodic, no one knew how things would unfold over the subsequent weeks or how many souls lost to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, very few of us even knew what a Tsunami was. But as the days unfolded news reports increased with regularity and the horror of what had occurred on Boxing Day made everything sound unreal, incredulous and something out of a Hollywood disaster movie that would never happen in real life.
The first thing that struck me about The Tsunami Countdown by Boyd Morrison was the book cover. It’s not something I often talk about in reviews but with vibrant colours and a seemingly antiquated and rusty compass pointing North East I was immediately drawn to the book and after reading the accompanying blurb on the back cover I knew it was something I’d want to read. Combining my love for Hawaii, adventure and disaster novels I was just hoping the story inside wouldn’t disappoint – it didn’t!
The Tsunami Countdown gripped me from the very first page and just as powerful as the destructive Tsunami itself I was helpless and a slave to its power, slightly melodramatic but it’s true! I couldn’t or didn’t want to escape, it sucked me in from the moment the plane went down and only released me from its savagery when I flipped over the final page exhausted. With references that often reminded me of Bruce Willis and Armageddon including a cheesy line that gave me a lump in my throat this was an experience I won’t forget for a while.
The storyline is well delivered and includes an exciting and colourful cast of characters, so much so that I felt part of their lives and had a vested interest in the outcome of the book, you can’t ask for more than that. I wanted them to succeed, some did, some didn’t but in Kai Tanaka we have an amazing and likeable protagonist. The author doesn’t alienate the supporting cast either, allowing ample air time to a handful of characters who contribute to the fluidity and storytelling in one way or another. Only one character annoyed me and I’m positive he was written in such a way to invoke disgust and offer a balance between good and evil.
Morrison combines adventure and science effortlessly as he tries to explain the different types of Tsunami, why they happen and what to look out for. Getting the right balance between scientific fact and intelligent fiction isn’t easy but Morrison captures the essence and feel for the book with ease and as the adventure unfolds I found the page turning intensified. This is without question and engrossing and electrifying book and with each turn of the page I wanted to know what would happen next, so much so that I was late for an appointment due to wanting to finish just one more chapter.
As I alluded to earlier, I really felt part of this book and as Kai and his group of survivors wandered the streets and empty buildings in search of sanctuary, I was on the streets with them. I felt every shortness of breath, every injury, the chill of the water, every pungent odour and perhaps most of all the intense feeling of helplessness they so often encountered.
I won’t go into detail of what happens, this is one book you’ll want to discover for yourselves. I haven’t had the opportunity to compare this to his other books and cannot comment on the standard in comparison but I come away from this novel thoroughly entertained and the little time it took me for read, I enjoyed every minute.
A terrific read with an explosive storyline, Hawaii has seen better days but when you add a mega Tsunami to the mix, lives will never be the same again. The Tsunami Countdown is one of my books of the year and for sheer entertainment value it’s not only unbeatable but unputdownable! You’ll never think of Tsunami’s in the same light again. When I think of Hawaii I think of three things – Lei’s, Elvis and the beaches. You can now add this book to the list.
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Sphere (8 Nov 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0751547158
- ISBN-13: 978-0751547153