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The Emperor of Any Place
Cover of The Emperor of Any Place
The Emperor of Any Place
Borrow Borrow

The ghosts of war reverberate across the generations in a riveting, time-shifting story within a story from acclaimed thriller writer Tim Wynne-Jones.

When Evan's father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk—a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in WWII. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan's grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan? In a pulse-quickening mystery evoking the elusiveness of truth and the endurance of wars passed from father to son, this engrossing novel is a suspenseful, at times terrifying read from award-winning author Tim Wynne-Jones.

The ghosts of war reverberate across the generations in a riveting, time-shifting story within a story from acclaimed thriller writer Tim Wynne-Jones.

When Evan's father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk—a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in WWII. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan's grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan? In a pulse-quickening mystery evoking the elusiveness of truth and the endurance of wars passed from father to son, this engrossing novel is a suspenseful, at times terrifying read from award-winning author Tim Wynne-Jones.

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  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
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  • ATOS:
    5.2
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • I was born at a very young age in a very old country—England. I ran away from home when I was three with a tea cozy on my head. And if you don't know what a tea cozy is, that's because it's something only people in very old countries use to keep their tea warm when it's in a pot. Somehow, I ended up in northern British Columbia, Canada, just a raven's flight from Alaska. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and that's a big part of what I write about, I guess: not the moving so much as how great it is to have a place you can call home and friends and all that. I grew up. Well, it was bound to happen. But I didn't grow that far up, if you know what I mean. I went to university and all that and got married and have three fabulous kids, all of whom are grown up, more or less, themselves. But what I mean is that, while I grew up I didn't grow away from childhood. I still have a whole bunch of it inside that I'm sorting through: an attic's worth of mostly junk but with some gems of memories and a lot of unanswered questions. That's probably why I write for kids.


    Whatever I write it's always a mystery. I've written more than thirty books: picture books, middle-grade novels, novels for young adults and older adults. But whatever I write there is always something that someone is looking for and there is usually someone who doesn't want them to get it! I'm thrilled about my thriller Blink & Caution. Blink is a street kid living hard—living on his wits. He stumbles into a big con game and thinks he might get in on the action. Wrong! Luckily, he also runs into Caution, as in "Caution: Contents under Pressure." Their relationship starts off rocky, to say the least, but then she joins up with him and—well, you've got to see what happens. I am crazy about this book.

    Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:


    1. I lived in twelve different houses by the time I finished high school. I used to wonder if my father was running from the law, but I don't think he was. He was an engineer with a great sense of humor, although the moving sure wasn't funny!
    2. I got to read with J.K. Rowling at the Sky Dome in Toronto in October 2000. There were more than 20,000 people at the reading. It's the biggest public reading ever—you can look it up in the Guinness Book of Records!
    3. I have never been to Timbuktu. Even though we share the same name. Well, partially, anyway. But what I want to know is what ever happened to Timbukone?

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 20, 2015
    Wynne-Jones (Blink & Caution) deftly blends realism and fantasy in this eerie tale featuring Evan, a high school student mourning his late father, and Griff, the crusty grandfather Evan meets for the first time. Evan always knew that his
    ex-Marine grandfather and draft-dodger father never saw eye to eye, but he wasn’t aware of his grandfather’s unearthly encounters during WWII until he discovers the mysterious diary of a Japanese soldier. When Griff shows up at Evan’s door, Evan is immediately put off by his grandfather’s controlling tendencies, but his curiosity is piqued. Could this be the same man mentioned in the diary, who visited an island filled with flesh-eating monsters and the ghosts of unborn children? Readers will be swept up quickly in the tense relationship between Evan and Griff, as well as the unlikely friendship between enemy soldiers fighting for survival in a surreal landscape. Without spelling out the metaphoric significance of the story within the story, Wynne-Jones provides enough hints for readers to make connections and examine the lines between war and peace, as well as hate and love. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-An ambitious treatise on grief, war, memory, and the bonds between fathers and sons. Evan is 16 when his beloved father dies suddenly at home. Evan has no other family, so his estranged grandfather, Griff, whom he has never met, flies in to help him settle the affairs. The source of the family schism was the Vietnam War, when Evan's hippie father moved to Canada to dodge the draft, infuriating his father, a lifelong Marine. While going through his father's belongings, Evan happens upon a Japanese diary detailing a marooned soldier's account during World War II, a book that he knows he must keep from his grandfather at all costs. The narrative contained in this secret book unfolds throughout the course of the novel as readers meet Lance Corporal Isamu Oshiro of the Imperial Japanese Army through his own words and learn how his story ended up in the hands of Evan's father. This work is at its best when it is mired in death-seen in Oshiro's self-appointed job as island undertaker, as well as in Griff's stoic refusal to discuss his son's death-and Wynne-Jones is spot-on in his writing on grief, especially from Evan's point of view. The book-within-a-book plot is less successful, as Oshiro's account is a bit lengthy, and the suspense of Griff's involvement ends quickly and conveniently, without much satisfaction for readers. However, the high points of this tale make it worth a first purchase. VERDICT Offering a unique take on the World War II period, this intergenerational tale is an excellent addition to most YA collections.-Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 1, 2015
    After the shock of his father's sudden death and the arrival of a grandfather he was taught to hate but never met, Evan must unravel a family mystery. His father, Clifford, had been reading a peculiar, leather-bound memoir of a Japanese soldier who was marooned on an island during World War II. An accompanying letter suggests that it's somehow connected to Evan's grandfather Griff, a military man with "steel in [his] backbone." Evan knows that his father never got along with Griff, whose very presence irritates Evan as well, especially when he calls him "soldier." Not wanting to reveal anything to Griff, Evan starts to read Isamu Oshiro's memoir and finds himself mesmerized by the haunting, sad journal addressed to Isamu's fiancee. This book within a book, with its monsters, ghost children, and mysterious glimpses of the future, is as tightly written as Evan's modern-day story. Evan's resistance to his grandfather, colored by his father's poor relationship with him, slowly adjusts the deeper he gets into Isamu's memoir. Dual stories of strength and resilience illuminate the effects that war has on individuals and on father-son relationships, effects that stretch in unexpected ways across generations as Evan and Griff make their ways toward a truce. An accomplished wordsmith, Wynne-Jones achieves an extraordinary feat: he illuminates the hidden depths of personalities and families through a mesmerizing blend of realism and magic. (Fiction. 13-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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