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The Ambassador's Son | [Homer Hickam]

The Ambassador's Son

It's 1943 and the Americans and Japanese are fighting a deadly war in the hot, jungle-covered volcanic islands of the South Pacific. The outcome is in doubt and a terrible blow has fallen on American morale. Lieutenant David Armistead, a Marine Corps hero and cousin of the President of the United States, is missing and some say he's gone over to the enemy. Coast Guard Captain Josh Thurlow and his ragtag crew are given the assignment to find Armistead, though not necessarily to bring him back alive.
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Publisher's Summary

It's 1943 and the Americans and Japanese are fighting a deadly war in the hot, jungle-covered volcanic islands of the South Pacific. The outcome is in doubt and a terrible blow has fallen on American morale. Lieutenant David Armistead, a Marine Corps hero and cousin of the President of the United States, is missing and some say he's gone over to the enemy. Coast Guard Captain Josh Thurlow and his ragtag crew are given the assignment to find Armistead, though not necessarily to bring him back alive. Recruited in the hunt is a tormented and frail PT-boat skipper nicknamed "Shafty" who is also known by another name: John F. Kennedy.

When Josh is stranded in the jungles of New Georgia with a mysterious, sensual woman who has a tendency to chop off men's heads, it's up to Kennedy to come to the rescue and complete the mission. But to procure a gunboat, he first has to play high-stakes poker with a young naval supply officer called Nick who happens to be the best gambler in the South Pacific. Nick has another name, too: Richard M. Nixon. Based solidly on historical fact with echoes of James Michener, The Ambassador's Son is a thrilling tale of the South Pacific and adventure fiction at its finest.

©2005 Homer Hickam; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A funny, tightly wrapped tale of wartime action." (Publishers Weekly)
"A very exciting high-seas, wartime adventure tale, which combines the color, humanity, and humor of the play and movie South Pacific and the TV series Black Sheep Squadron." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (46 )
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3.2 (11 )
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  •  
    Richard San Francisco, CA, USA 04-21-05
    Richard San Francisco, CA, USA 04-21-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hickam is Hilarious!"

    Set in the Solomons during mid-1943, this novel is populated with some notorious WWII characters, including an AWOL Marine lieutenant named David Armistead; a Navy PT boat skipper named Jack Kennedy; a Navy supply officer named "Nick" Nixon; and a Navy historian named Jim Michener. The story begins on Tulagi and heads north in a Catalina, looking for trouble.

    Hickam is a very funny writer, combining inventive storytelling with a keen eye for characterization and detail. This novel is the second in Hickam's Josh Thurlow series; the first, The Keeper's Son, is freighted with some frankly insipid romance, so I really can't recommend it. Hickam's latest novel, on the other hand, takes all of his first novel's best qualities and cranks them up.

    You'll love it!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Viera, FL, USA 06-05-05
    Jared Viera, FL, USA 06-05-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Off the beaten track"

    The cast of characters, the premise, and drama of setting/time all make for a very enjoyable listening experience. Hickam is laugh-out-loud funny at times. The unexpected and the build to a climax writing is both inviting and fulfilling when one finally reaches the endpoints. The only thing disappointing is having to listen in small chuncks. It's the type of writing I could binge on... and alas life intrudes too often....
    I will investigate the first installment in this series and anything else Hickam has written.
    Bottom line: Not a change the world type book , but extremely enjoyable.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fritz Moraga, CA, United States 12-01-13
    Fritz Moraga, CA, United States 12-01-13

    No matter where you go, there you are.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fine Hickam, until the Wrap."

    I really enjoy Hickam's folksy, sharp toned story telling. His characterizations are well formed and plausible and these believable characters, far-fetched as they sometimes are, dew you in to 'know' and relate to them. This story tweaks history in a meaningful way and this reader brings them vividly to life. The problem with war stories is many times they push our sensitivities to the raw end of reality and Homer takes this brutality at times a bit too far. Gratuitous, even. Some of these scenes are sprinkled then culminated with heads rolling (literally) and human flesh finding its way onto the menu. But it is not so prevalent as to ruin the story's momentum.

    This is neither my first Hickam tome, nor will it be my last. But the ending here is badly conceived and very clumsy. Admittedly, this tale would require a masterly conclusion considering the lengths to which we are taken. But Hickam falls very short of pulling it off. I was physically uncomfortable as I cringed and squirmed in my seat as he fumbled his way through it, but it did not completely detract from my enjoyment of this odd tale.

    I am also pleased to discover that Stephen Hoye rivals Michael Kramer whom I consider the very best at droll, ironic humor. Kramer as the narrator is damn near enough to convince me to try a book, Fantasy excursions excluded, of course.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-09-11
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-09-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A unique view"

    An amazing series, probably the biggest one to make go research / think / debate about its story.... but loved it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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