It is 1946, a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and World War II is over. But the U.S. government has decided that further tests of atomic bombs must be conducted. When Bikini Atoll is chosen for the testing site, the inhabitants of the tiny island are told they must relocate for just two years. But sixteen-year-old Sorry Rinamu believes the Americans are lying and that it will never be safe to return. He must find a way to stop the first bomb before it is dropped . . . even if it means risking his own destruction.
Includes a reader's guide and an author's note.
In 1946, Taylor (The Cay) served aboard the USS Sumner, part of a naval team that set the stage for post-war atomic and hydrogen-weapons testings near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific-experiences at the crux of this heart-wrenching novel. As Taylor tells it, the Bikini natives live simply in accordance with age-old customs, taking all they need to subsist from the land and the sea. World War II intrudes when Japanese soldiers establish a weather station in their pristine village. Then, when U.S. Marines capture the island in the "Battle" of Bikini (a misnomer, since the Japanese killed themselves rather than be taken prisoner), the islanders hold a celebration. Little do they know that the same government that has liberated them from the hated Japanese will shatter the peace forever, convincing them to vacate their idyllic residence, placing them in the media's invasive, insensitive spotlight and rendering their homeland uninhabitable. Three very real and likable characters-a courageous 14-year-old boy; his outspoken uncle, who after years away returns to the island with insight into modern society; and the island's perceptive schoolteacher-underscore the tragedy. A haunting, soundly researched work. Ages 12-up.