It’s the fall of 1942, and the U.S. hospital ship Benevolence is cruising the waters of the South Pacific when it is torpedoed by the Japanese. Only nine people survive, and they eventually wash up on an island: the captain Joshua, and his wife, Isabelle, a nurse; Isabelle’s sister Annie and a woman named Scarlet, both nurses; Ratu, a teenage Fijian stowaway; Jake, a black engineer; Nathan and Roger, two officers; and Akira, a wounded Japanese soldier. The group knows it’s only a matter of time before the Japanese war machine reaches their shores, so they valiantly prepare for battle. As they do so, each man and woman struggles with his or her own personal demons. Add to that Annie’s fascination with Akira, and the fact that one survivor is secretly radioing the Japanese from deep in the jungle. Following his well-received debut, Beneath a Marble Sky (2004), Shors’ second novel is an astounding work. Poetic and cinematic as it illuminates the dark corners of human behavior, it is destined to be this decade’s The English Patient (1992).