Set against an extraordinary historical backdrop, The Emperor's General is the all too human story of a young man's turbulent coming of age and of the conflicting demands of duty, honour and love.
'Spellbinding . . . this is the sort of book that makes history . . . Unmissable'
As the Second World War enters its final days, Jay Marsh is an eager young aide-de-camp to the great General MacArthur, helping him to engineer the Allies' triumph in the Pacific and the surrender of Japan. But the arrogant, majestic MacArthur has a more ambitions aim in mind: supreme control over Japan and its eighty-three million inhabitants. Trusted with his secrets, Jay becomes ensnared in a labyrinthine world of diplomacy, double-dealing and corruption, as he negotiates with the Japanese of behalf of his mentor and hero.
All the while he is unravelling the web of deceit that MacArthur and the royal courts and geisha houses of Japan would trap him in, Jay is desperate to get back to Manila and find his beautiful fiancée Divina Clara. But, as each side gets more desperate for power, Jay becomes a helpless pawn in a tragic game that is out of his control.
Praise for The Emperor's General:
'A Madame Butterfly of our time'
'Gripping, martial and, almost subliminally, achingly romantic'
The collision of love, war and power is explored through the unflinching eyes of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's trusted aide-de-camp in Webb's (Fields of Fire) powerfully compelling and moving new novel. Fighting the Japanese for control of the Philippines during the final months of WWII, the general reveals his military genius and broken heart as he posts his army on the island of Leyte, home of his long-lost lover, Consuelo Trani. Capt. Jay Marsh, MacArthur's 23-year-old aide-de-camp, fluent in Japanese, becomes an envoy to prisoners and to the general's officers, finding his own romance when he meets beautiful Divina Clara. But their marriage is postponed when the atom bomb ends the war, and the Japanese emperor's adviser, Kido, selects Marsh as his conduit in Japan, using him in a complicated plot to protect the emperor and to gain access to MacArthur's strategies. Kido plies Marsh with the favors of a geisha, with whom Marsh embarks on a politically and romantically deceitful entanglement. Meanwhile, MacArthur avenges atrocities in Manila by rigging General Yamashita's trial for war crimes, which plays into the hands of the Japanese royal family; subsequently, he succumbs to a series of labyrinthine alliances and conspiracies that display his weaknesses and complexities. This is historical fiction of a high order. Webb fuses fact and fictional experience through hypnotic storytelling, giving a human face to the victims of war, including its criminals, strategists, heroes and lovers. Towering above them all is the mesmerizing figure of MacArthur, a flawed titan made palpable by Webb, whose appraisal of human nature here proves as vigorous and exemplary as his narrative prowess.