Excerpts from the book:
Once the shoji screen was closed, Kiyoshi said in a low voice, “It’s about the piece I submitted to the Chūō Kōron.”
Fumiko took a deep breath. The Chūō Kōron was one of the few literary magazines that still dared to publish articles hinting at disagreement with official policy. Recently, government censors had confiscated several issues just as they’d arrived at news stands. They’d snipped out entire paragraphs and, preposterously, returned them for sale. Authors of the censored material would obviously come to the attention of the Tokkō.
Kiyoshi looked at her with an expression of fear and resignation. “I’m to report to the Tokkō tomorrow morning for questioning.”
The first few waves Helen encountered were almost depleted into running white water and she crossed them at half throttle. Increasing to a steady three quarters throttle, she timed her run to meet the first large wave of the next set straight on, right after it had fallen to bow height. The wave rumbled in, cresting at six feet, and curled. Just as it crashed into white foam, Helen increased power and sliced the bow into the cold, green body of water. The boat lifted over the crest and slid down the backside into a trough pointing directly at the next oncoming wave.
The second wave, just as tall as the first, arrived faster than the ten-second prediction…
A little before midnight, the sound of an explosion jolted Nick out of deep sleep. Men were running outside the barracks as a bugle sounded the call to arms. “What’s going on?” Nick shouted at Jim.
“Don’t know,” Jim muttered, scrambling out of his bunk. “Sounded like a bomb.”
“Man your posts!” the Sergeant yelled through the barracks door. Someone snapped on the lights. Half-awake, Nick and the other soldiers stumbled about pulling on their clothes and hastily lacing up their boots.
There was a decrescendo whistle, silence, then a loud explosion somewhere south of the drill field. The sounds repeated at short intervals with no discernible pattern. Shells seemed to be landing close, but no obvious damage could be seen…
Ensign Isamu Takahashi covered his ears as the 127 mm gun on the aft deck fired at the dark shoreline. The cannon’s recoil sent a vibration all the way to the bridge of the huge submarine, and diesel fumes, mixed with cannon smoke, wafted through the air. Uncovering his ears, he listened to the distant whistling sound, saw the flash and, moments later, heard the explosion. Standing beside him, Commander Masao Tamami scrutinized the shoreline and ordered the I-25 to cruise slowly at a bearing of 290°, firing at two-minute intervals. Isamu pressed the communicator switch and relayed the orders to the control room.
Clouds of blue smoke drifted above the sand and the smell of diesel oil and creosote filled the air. Although they’d been through this before, every man on the beach was tense and anxious. Some prayed. Some clutched good luck charms. Nick shut his eyes briefly and tried to picture Ruth on a very different beach.
To avoid special attention from snipers, officers and medics wore no insignia. Several men had scrawled “Fight!” or “To hell with Tojo!” across the back of their field jackets. All eyes were on the young Lieutenant, waiting for the signal to attack.
The Lieutenant rose and pumped his M-1 in the air. He blew his whistle three times. “All right, men! Let’s give ‘em hell!”
Yesterday, on the overpass above the railroad station, Fumiko paused to greet Mr. Murakami, the station master who was standing at the railing. He acknowledged her greeting courteously, but, with a nod, quickly brought her attention to a somber ceremony occurring on the platform below. A row of soldiers, shrouded in a cloud of gray steam, stood at attention as an officer unloaded small white boxes, one by one, from a freight car. Cradling each box in his arms, he strode solemnly across the platform to a row of stoic middle-aged women. He bowed and called out a name. A woman stepped forward, bowed and accepted the box. The officer bowed again and returned to the railroad car for the next box.
“Where do you think the decisive battle will be?” His father asked Tadashi.
“The SHO operation? No one knows, Father. Some say the Ryukyu Islands or Formosa. I think it’ll be the Philippines. We’ve been making some special preparations I want to talk to you about.” He glanced briefly at his sister and mother before continuing. “Our conventional tactics can’t win against superior numbers and equipment. It’s time for a significant change.” He paused for a moment, looking directly at his father for assistance.
Mr. Suzuki cleared his throat and glanced at his wife. She rose immediately. “Excuse me. Fumiko and I must prepare dinner.”
Fumiko rose quickly with her mother, bowed and stepped out of the room, closing the panel behind them. As they headed toward the kitchen, she heard Tadashi speaking in a low tone.
“Father, I’m proud to tell you I’ve been selected for a new special attack force.”
Meticulously, Dave sutured the lacerated brachial artery and debrided the avulsed muscular tissue. Then, with traction on the shoulder by the circulating nurse, he attempted to align the shattered humerus.
“Something’s wrong,” Helen said, raising her voice. “His color’s poor and pulse 160.”
“Respiration?” Dave asked.
Helen listened to both sides of the chest. “Moving air OK on the right. Hardly at all the left.”
“Damn! Pneumothorax. Give me the biggest needle you’ve got,” Dave said to the circulating nurse. “And a two-way stopcock with a 50 ml syringe.”
“Fighting the Japs isn’t like fighting normal human beings,” Johnny declared. “That’s what my teacher said. He says we’ll have to kill them all to win this war. Is that right, Nick?”
Ruth began to shush Johnny, but Nick waved her off.
“Well, Johnny” he said. “I don’t know if you can say they’re not normal human beings, but they’re different from us all right. We’re ready to die for our country if we have to, but that’s not our first choice. We’ll retreat when it looks like we’re going to lose a battle. The Japs don’t do that. They just dig in and fight to the death.” He sighed. “So, yeah, Johnny, many times you do have to kill them all.”
Miyoko took a piece of crumpled paper from her purse, straightened it and handed it to Fumiko. “I found this by the waterfront yesterday. I think it was dropped by an airplane that flew over last week. Is this picture real, Suzuki-sensei?”
Fumiko realized immediately that the photograph with snowcapped Mount Fuji in the background was an Allied propaganda leaflet. A kimono-clad woman with a child strapped to her back stood in a cherry orchard littered with the corpses of Japanese soldiers. …
Fumiko folded the pamphlet and collected her thoughts. What should she say? That this was a crude attempt by the enemy to elicit subversion? That there was absolutely no truth in it? How could she reconcile her patriotic duty with being a wise mentor for this child? She inhaled deeply and slowly released her breath.
Editorial Reviews of Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War
The Daily Astorian
If you are looking for a book to chase away the winter blues but can’t decide on one genre, you are in luck. Mark Smith’s book, Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War deftly combines drama, romance and action into one enjoyable read. The novel is set against a backdrop that ranges from recognizable North Oregon Coast locales to across the Pacific Ocean in Imperial Japan. History buffs will delight in the attention to period detail. Most importantly, this book serves as a historical lesson on the useless tragedy of war and its transformative effects on family life. Enemy in the Mirror intertwines the stories of ordinary people on two Pacific shores, one in coastal Japan and the Northwest coast, whose lives are irreversibly altered by World War II. As the reader switches between nations, cultures and characters, you get a complete understanding of the terrible complexities of war and its reach into lives with much commonality. Instead of resorting to melodramatic clichés, the book gently reminds readers of the horrors of war while presenting human faces of the conflict that shaped a generation.
The depth of Smith’s research is obvious, and he deftly takes readers on a tour of a world at war. His best attributes include vividly descriptive scenes, excellent portrayal of raw human emotion and dialogue that has the ring of authenticity representative of the period. Smith locates us in the thick of battle without pulling punches, something that is needed in the 21st century when so many people seem desensitized to violence. He also lets us see how lives of those who wait at home for their loved ones to return can resort to a daily struggle to retain sanity.
Enemy in the Mirror brings us many lessons in how fragile life can be and how important it is to give and receive love, even when the world seems to be falling to pieces around us. It is to the author’s credit that we come to see these lessons less as suffering than as the epiphany of grace. Because Smith has steeped his characters in such philosophical territory, the reader is eager to learn more of their interior struggles, doubts, and moments of grief or bliss. It is a reminder that not everything in life can be wrapped up in a tidy little package, especially during wartime. Life is messy and uncertain, and Smith’s protagonists portray that directly from the pages.
Writing historical fiction poses daunting challenges, as events must align themselves with the facts. This means that characters sometimes are restricted in their movements. This is not the case with Enemy in the Mirror, as Smith pushes his characters up against their historical backdrop and challenges readers to respond. The book leaves the reader with a sense of sadness about the futile, senseless tragedy of war, and the reader is fully invested in this as the story winds down. There is, however, also a sense hope for the future because of the courageous and unyielding optimism of those who survived. In that way, Smith’s book is a love letter to past generations and a peace accord to future ones.
Mark Scott Smith has written a superbly well-crafted book in Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War, his first published work and for that he should be commended. His writing style is a joy, his use of the English language a treat. Enemy in the Mirror tells how the Second World War affected the lives of its American and Japanese characters. Every emotion is experienced: excitement, joy, pain and agony. The battle scenes are particularly descriptive and bring to mind the full horrors of war. There is plenty to be learned from this novel for those with an interest in WW2 in the Pacific and American Pacific home front.
While reading the book, I googled several events mentioned–Mark Scott Smith has done his research. Novels written with WW2 as the backdrop often find it difficult to truly portray the style and sense of nationalism. Enemy in the Mirror manages this on two fronts. The author’s obvious knowledge of the Japanese culture floods onto the pages. The book left me with a sense of understanding for the normal Japanese youth starting adult life during this tumultuous period of world history. So many ordinary lives were touched by events in the Pacific and perhaps this was the first time I had given much thought to the Japanese who suffered so much without any say in the decision-making process of their country. Enemy in the Mirror doesn’t glorify war, it leaves you with a sense of loss and sadness for its characters. It also shows that both cultures suffered immeasurable pain-and-suffering.
This is a novel that I would recommend highly. An emotional roller coaster of a story built around actual events of World War II.
Brian D. Ratty – Author of: Dutch Clarke: The War Years
Dr. Mark Scott Smith’s book, Enemy in the Mirror, is a story about the human tragedies of war, not an action thriller. The author artfully contrasts characters living on opposite shores of the Pacific Ocean during WWII. One family has deep roots on the Oregon North Coast, while another family lives in a port city on a northern island in Imperial Japan. The reader is rewarded with different points of view from both cultures. In the beginning the Japanese are victorious and confident, while the Americans taste the agony of defeat. But, after many far-flung bloody battles and much hardship at home, the fortunes of war change. Enemy in the Mirror is the heartfelt story of these changing times and the people who lived their lives with love, fear, hope and loss.
The author of this well researched historical fiction novel, has packed his story with many visual metaphors that help establish the life and times of his colorful characters. His storyline is engaging and well written, with descriptions and dialogs that are pleasing and believable. Enemy in the Mirror is a good read for those searching for a better understanding of these tragic times.
Bill Baynes – author of The Occupation of Joe
Vivid battle scenes on land and undersea, as well as sympathetic characters on both sides, highlight Enemy in the Mirror. Mark Scott Smith focuses on a Japanese submarine attack on the Oregon coast in 1942 and then broadens his scope to the entire Pacific War, revealing the terrible cost of the conflict to American and Japanese combatants and their families. Well-researched and rich in period detail, Smith delivers a thoughtful and enjoyable read