Set in the South Pacific and based on true events, this is a novel about war, gold, interracial friendship, and the emergence of a new nation.
Growing up in Bougainville, an island archipelago in the South Pacific, Ishmael always wanted to be a soldier. The Crisis—a brutal civil war with Papua New Guinea ignited by the gargantuan Panguna Mine—gives him his chance. As the guerrilla leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Ishmael secures a peace agreement that provides his islands with a measure of autonomy and the future right to conduct an independence referendum. If the people vote affirmatively, Bougainville could become the newest nation on earth.
In the aftermath of the Crisis, Bougainville’s corrupt and inept government causes a vacuum. From its perch across the Pacific, China salivates. They covet Bougainville, both for its Panguna Mine and its strategic location, and are prepared to do whatever it takes to grab it.
When Ishmael and Bougainville’s chiefs ask Jack Davis, a pin-striped American investor, to help rebuild their economy, he is intrigued. Although primitive, Bougainville holds billions in gold and copper, and its people seem lovely. Jack’s life has been comfortable, but things are changing. His family members have moved on with their lives, and his country doesn’t seem to value people like him anymore. Maybe Bougainville would be different.
That two men—one black and one white—from totally different walks of life could meet on a remote island and decide they stand for the same things is a testament to Bougainville and its people, and shapes a story that anyone who believes in the innate goodness of humanity should read. The fact that it all really happened is truly inspirational.
John D. Kuhns is the author of three previously published novels, including China Fortunes, Ballad of a Tin Man, and South of the Clouds. He writes stories derived from his personal experiences. He has lived and worked in Bougainville since 2015.