There was a lot of negative comments about Canadian author Tim Wynne-Jones‘ book The Emperor of Any Place. I was a little surprised because I basically started and finished the book in one night. I thought it was quite interesting and a page turner.

The book begins in the present day when Evan discovers his beloved father dead in his study. He also finds a book, one of about 20 copies in existence, that is the true account of Isamu Oshiro, an Imperial Japanese Army officer with footnotes and information from U.S. Army personal Derwood Kraft, who is saved by Oshiro and later freed by “Griff” Griffin, who is Evan’s estranged grandfather.

The story flips between Evan and his grandfather and the accounts of Isamu, including his escape from the battle of Tinian during the Second World War (he washes up on a heart-shaped island that is part of the Northern Marianas. He also escapes a tsunami on the island, which Derwood Kraft, in a footnote, mentions might have been the result of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.)

The book has a fair bit of mythology and supernatural in it (as well as history) and I absolutely love the ideas behind the creatures found on the island.

I found Evan realistic and perhaps Griff is as well, although I could see, as a father, he would be an incredibly hard person to love. He does some things to Evan, which are absolutely awful.

The book was a fast read and an enjoyable one.

A copy of this book was provided by Candlewick Press for an honest review. The opinions are my own.