Wednesday 18 October 2023

Read an excerpt from War Sonnets by Susannah Willey


War Sonnets

By Susannah Willey

Publication Date: 5th July 2023 

Publisher: Utter Loonacy Press

Page Length: 364 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction / World War II


 In the war-torn jungles of Luzon, two soldiers scout the landscape. Under ordinary circumstances they might be friends, but in the hostile environment of World War II, they are mortal enemies.

Leal Baldwin, a US Army sergeant, writes sonnets. His sights are set on serving his country honorably and returning home in one piece. But the enemy is not always Japanese…Dooley wants Leo’s job, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it…Leo finds himself fighting for his reputation and freedom.

Lieutenant Tadashi Abukara prefers haiku. He has vowed to serve his emperor honorably, but finds himself fighting a losing battle. Through combat, starvation, and the threat of cannibalism, Tadashi’s only thought is of survival and return to his beloved wife and son. As Leo and Tadashi discover the humanity of the other side and the questionable moral acts committed by their own, they begin to ask themselves why they are here at all. When they at last meet in the jungles of Luzon, only one will survive, but their poetry will live forever.


Beloved homeland
Parents, dear wife, and children,
I return to you!

Chapter 45

Somewhere in Luzon – July 1945

No matter where they wandered, the situation was always the same: There was no food. The water was contaminated, and they drank it anyway. They’d had nothing to eat but insects and grass since abandoning the mango tree. All over southern Luzon, the trees were stripped of fruit and bark. There was not a pig, carabao, or dog left alive. Even rats were scarce, and those that remained seemed to know to stay well away from starving humans.

Shimbu Group—the fifty thousand-member Japanese division tasked with defending southern Luzon—now numbered less than eight thousand. Broken up into small groups like Tadashi’s, they foraged for food and struggled to make their way north, where the rest of the army still fought. 

Tadashi had long since given up any hope of winning the war. He was far more occupied with simply staying alive. Two days ago, they had encountered a Japanese platoon and learned that Germany had surrendered. The platoon leader encouraged Tadashi and his men to join them, but Tadashi had an uneasy feeling that they might end up as food instead of recruits. 

The effects of starvation ruled them now. Their bodies were emaciated. They stumbled along the trails, their progress slow and aimless. Their metabolisms weren’t working properly—they were constantly too cold or too hot, their bodily functions erratic. Their muscles were so shrunken that movement was painful, and their skin cracked from dehydration. Even their minds were affected. They felt sluggish and apathetic—sometimes they had hallucinations. There were days Tadashi wanted nothing more than to sleep. He wasn’t even sure if he cared whether or not he woke up.

“Do you ever wonder why we still fight?” Kaito’s voice was weak and raspy as they settled on a downed tree for their third rest of the morning.

“You—the man who pledged undying loyalty to the emperor—ask this?” Tadashi smiled weakly. “You must be hallucinating.”

“The army may have surrendered for all we know,” Kaito said. “And if they go, why should we stay?”

Would the great Japanese Imperial Army surrender? Hundreds of officers would be required to honorably fall on their swords. Tadashi couldn’t imagine that. And how would they know if there was a surrender unless they ran across someone else who knew? 

“Nii-chan,” Kaito said but kept his eyes focused on the now-distant mountains. “Have you ever thought about quitting this war?”

“Desertion?” Tadashi started to protest, but he stopped himself and thought about it. Was it desertion if the army didn’t even know whether they were alive or dead? Was it desertion if they were simply trying to survive? He saw no honor in dying of starvation. “Where would we go? Would you surrender to the enemy?”

Kaito’s eyes went wide. “Never. I would take my own life before I would allow myself to be captured.” His face reddened. “How could you think I would dishonor the emperor like that?”

“No need to get agitated,” Tadashi said. “I simply wondered, what are your plans?”

“I don’t have any plans.” Kaito looked at the ground for a moment then looked up, his eyes filled with tears. “I just want to live. May the kami forgive me; I just want to go home.”

Tadashi touched Kaito’s shoulders. “You do what you must, Kai-chan. I cannot abandon what remains of my squad.”

“Then I will stay too, Nii-chan. We are brothers, and we stay together as brothers should.”

Grab your copy HERE!

Susannah Willey

Susannah Willey is a baby boomer, mother of four, grandmother of three, and a recovering nerd. To facilitate her healing, she writes novels. In past lives, she has been an office assistant, stay-at-home-mom, Special Education Teaching Assistant, School Technology Coordinator, and Emergency Medical Technician. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Computing from S.U.N.Y. Empire State College, and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design from Boise State University. 

Susannah grew up in the New York boondocks and currently lives in Central New York with her companion, Charlie, their dogs, Magenta and Georgie, and Jelly Bean the cat.

Connect with Susannah:
Amazon Author Page 
Alliance of Independent Authors 
The Historical Fiction Company 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting Susannah Willey today, Mary Anne.

    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx