Antwyn's Corner

Paradise in Ruins

A new historical novel by Antwyn Price, Paradise in Ruins: A Novel (View) of the Pacific War ©, follows the development of World War Two in the Pacific Theater, based on the author’s first-hand knowledge of the region. It is the story of a British civil engineer, Peter Perry, who gets his wife and son out of Singapore just before the Japanese invade, only to lose them later on as his life is transformed while working for the Americans throughout the Pacific region.

The US and its British, Dutch, and French Allies are thoroughly routed in the first six months of the Pacific war, as Japan destroys their main bases and occupies nearly all the former sleepy colonies. When the tide begins to turn in mid-1942 at the Battle of Midway, the Pacific battleground theater is divided between General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz, creating a two-pronged force, Operation Cartwheel, to push back and finally subdue Japan in August, 1945.

            In the Nimitz theater, at little-known Canton Island, Peter learns of a powerful Japanese secret weapon, and is delegated to take the secret to the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. Afterwards, on his way back across the Pacific from Hawaii, Peter is assisted by the New Zealand Defense Force commander in Fiji, and in Australia he becomes a civilian agent of the ONI. Through Peter’s assignments, we see the early Allied buildup at Nouméa and Espiritu Santo, then the conversion of Guadalcanal, Guam, and Okinawa into huge Allied platforms for launching the expected final assault upon Japan.

In MacArthur’s theater, the Australians fight their way through New Guinea, and the US Army and Navy recapture the Philippines, to provide a counter-thrust for Japan’s eventual defeat. Often darting from one Cartwheel track to the other, the fast carriers of the US Pacific Fleet help destroy Japan’s once-mighty air force, leaving the residue to die as Kamikaze human weapons.    

            Peter survives the war and remarries, but his story is above all an account of the most destructive and wasteful activity in human history, the Second World War. Were you there? If not, this book should give you a taste of how it was.


Honorable Mention: Paradise in Ruins © embodies the author’s salute to his father, mother, godfather, and uncle, who guided his early life in the Pacific region; to his father-in-law and uncle-in-law, who served with distinction as US naval officers during WWII; to the author’s old boyhood memories of Singapore, Java, Australia, Fiji, Canton Island and Hawaii; to the United States Marine Corps—in which he served as an instructor of surface-to-air missile fire-control—and last but not least a salute to Pan American Airways, which carried him on multiple occasions back and forth across the Caribbean Sea from Puerto Rico, and eventually to business ventures in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, S. Korea, Japan and China.

Paradise in Ruins © is also a tribute to James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific and Return to Paradise; to the wonderful operettas of William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan; and to some very silly skits from the Monty Python players.  See if you can spot the references!

About the author

Antwyn Price was born in Singapore of British parents. He attended Fort Street School in Sydney, St Mark’s School in Dallas, then Harvard College and the University of Oklahoma. A US Marine of the late 1950s and a multilingual worldwide resident thereafter, he has authored and published several extensive memoirs and numerous technical papers. Paradise in Ruins: A Novel (View) of the Pacific War © is the first historical novel of a planned trilogy about the Pacific war, crafted in the semi-narrative style of the era. It covers the American campaigns of the Pacific conflict, including those of Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur.

In his forthcoming second book of the series, Colonies in Ruins: Another Novel (View) of the Pacific War ©, the author deals with the French, British and Dutch colonial aspects of the Pacific conflict, and their aftermath.

The third and final historical novel about the Pacific region will be a "prequel", to examine the period from 1898 to around 1930, from the Spanish-American War to the Great Depression after World War One, during which many islands of the Pacific changed hands - colonial hands, that is..