Ruslan slipped away from the café and the curious onlookers. He began to run, not knowing exactly why, but instinct making him head away from the sea....
And in the distance, along the seafront of Ujung Karang, screams rose from a hundred, a thousand, mouths.
Aceh, Indonesia. December 2004. Ruslan, an Indonesian boy, and Sarah, an American girl, are brought together in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami. Ruslan is searching for his missing father, while Sarah is trying to get medical treatment for her sick brother. Together they travel through the destruction, barely believing all that they see.
The Killing Sea is a high-stakes survival story that puts a human face on a terrible tragedy. Richard Lewis, who lives in Indonesia, was there during the tsunami and worked as a relief worker in Aceh in the days and weeks following it. This novel is based on his firsthand experiences.
Lewis (The Flame Tree) sets this rambling novel in northern Indonesia's Aceh, the first area hit by the 2004 tsunami. As the novel opens, 16-year-old Ruslan meets the Bedfords, an American family, when the engine on their sailboat breaks down and they seek out Ruslan's mechanic father in the small harbor town of Meulaboh. The author (who lives in Indonesia and volunteered as a tsunami relief worker in Aceh), provides a chilling description of the disaster that strikes Aceh the next day. Teen Sarah Bedford and her younger brother, Peter, become separated from their parents after being forced to abandon their boat. Meanwhile Ruslan watches villagers disappear under the raging water as he takes refuge on a rooftop and then embarks on a search for his father. Sarah discovers her mother's body and buries her with little emotion (in one of several soap-opera twists, readers later learn that the girl's lack of grief stems from the fact that she read, in the diary her mother kept when she was pregnant with Sarah, "My resentment of this child within me borders on hate"). Ruslan leads the Bedford siblings on a danger-wrought yet curiously lumbering journey to a makeshift hospital, but there is no medicine available for a fever-ravaged Peter. The trio then returns to Meulaboh, where Ruslan is reunited with his father, and Peter gets the medical help he needs. Though Lewis includes ample realistic-sometimes jarringly graphic-detail, unlikely coincidences and overwrought writing ("Something swished its tail in his heart") significantly diminish the narrative's impact. Ages 12-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
this is one of my favorite true-story books. it's amazing all that happened. and the emotions and the feelings really just hooked me. I could stop reading until I was done. I really would recommend this book. it's very inspiring too.
This is an excellent read and riveting. I have read it aloud to my 4th graders for the past 3 years. It has informed and excited my student year after year to want to learn more as we study our science curriculum.
The Killing Sea
O.k. I honestly did not like this book. I am not one that shelters myself very much but this book was absolutely HARSH. I am a strong believer that people can not ignore the catastrophes around us but the writer was a little to descriptive and emotionally implementing. I respect that this book WAS based off of a true story, and I think it IS really cool that the author was trying to educate people about this terrible tsunami. The Sarah and Rundra's romance is what sold me, this book was written more to entertain then educate. This may not be the author's intention but it is what came through to me.