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The Killing Sea [Kindle Edition]

Richard Lewis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $6.49
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

Ruslan slipped away from the café and the curious onlookers. He began to run, not knowing exactly why, but instinct making him head away from the sea....

And in the distance, along the seafront of Ujung Karang, screams rose from a hundred, a thousand, mouths.

Aceh, Indonesia. December 2004. Ruslan, an Indonesian boy, and Sarah, an American girl, are brought together in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami. Ruslan is searching for his missing father, while Sarah is trying to get medical treatment for her sick brother. Together they travel through the destruction, barely believing all that they see.

The Killing Sea is a high-stakes survival story that puts a human face on a terrible tragedy. Richard Lewis, who lives in Indonesia, was there during the tsunami and worked as a relief worker in Aceh in the days and weeks following it. This novel is based on his firsthand experiences.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–10—Ruslan falls for Sarah when her family's sailboat docks in his Indonesian town for mechanical assistance, but Sarah, a self-absorbed American, fails to notice him. Both teens are then caught in the disastrous 2004 tsunami. Sarah makes it to safety, but her mother is killed and her father is missing, leaving her to care for her younger brother. Ruslan also survives and immediately begins to search for his father, who had left their coastal home before the storm. The two meet again, this time forging a relationship. The action never slows, though some dangerous encounters seem unnecessary. Other predicaments are resolved too easily. For example, when Sarah is stranded on an island without a knife, she conveniently finds a boat and machete. Too many conflicts-death, romance, Sarah's anger toward her mother, Ruslan's relationship with relatives who are rebel fighters-muddle the plot. To his credit, the author treats cultural differences with a gentle and honest touch. He also creates a vivid picture of the many horrors and challenges faced in the immediate aftermath of a large-scale natural disaster. Despite drawbacks, this book will appeal to fans of survival adventures like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986).—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Drawing from his own experience as a rescue worker, Lewis creates a powerful fictional tale of survival and cooperation in the wake of the 2004 tsunami that killed nearly a quarter of a million people and devastated much of the Southeast Asian coastline. Set on the western coast of Sumatra where the waves first hit land, the story centers on Ruslan, a local teenager searching corpse-strewn ruins for his father, and Sarah, a young American tourist desperately seeking medical help for her little brother. Falling in with a small group of other survivors, the three young people wander through shattered villages, seeing bodies dumped into hastily dug mass graves and people fired upon as suspected rebels, but also witnessing much kindness (except at the end, when, rescued at last, they are set upon by avid journalists and other Ugly Americans). Although many of Lewis' descriptions are horrifyingly vivid, Ruslan's resilience and Sarah's emotional numbness will give readers some shielding. An afterword is appended. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 301 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (June 21, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011UGM4G
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for ALL readers January 30, 2007
So glad I'm not alone in giving this wonderful book 5 stars! It a small masterpiece.

Other reviewers have already done a great job of summarizing the plot, so I'll just say that this gripping young adult novel about the tsunami is so much more than a heart-thumping page-turner. It's about family, culture, religion, redemption, love and God. I'm eager for my children to read it, and recommend it to all adults, as well.

-Ellen Meister, author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless story of survival January 8, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased The Killing Sea for my son but couldn't wait for him to get through a trilogy he is currently reading and so picked up The Killing Sea and read it myself. Am I glad I did! It's a wonderful read and a real page turner.

Two protagonists move through this story: Ruslan, a local Indonesian boy who works at a small beachside cafe in the town of Meulaboh; and Sarah, a teenager who is sailing with her family through the Indonesian islands over the Christmas holiday. The two meet briefly when Sarah's family anchors their sailboat near the cafe, searching for a mechanic to fix their engine. Ruslan (whose mechanic father ultimately fixes the engine) is captivated by Sarah's blue eyes. A budding artist, Ruslan returns home later that night and draws her in his sketchbook (against the teachings of a local cleric who deems any image-making to be a form of idolatry). At the cafe, Sarah barely registers Ruslan's existence before stalking off to the sailboat when her mother insists she don a headscarf out of respect for the local culture.

Lewis sensitively and deftly explores the notion of the spoiled American as we see Sarah undergo her own sea change after the tsunami rips her world apart. Both Ruslan and Sarah are left parentless: Ruslan, motherless since birth, cannot find his father after the tsunami; Sarah's parents disappear beneath the rising waters as they flee their stranded sailboat. She learns the fate of one shortly after the waters recede, the other she cannot find before she must embark on a search for a hospital for her younger brother who inhaled seawater and is having difficulty breathing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
More than any footage I saw, more than any news articles I read, this book made me feel what it was like to go through the great Indonesian tsumami with its devastating human cost. But this book is much more. It's also a high stakes adventure story.

Richard Lewis has taken an unimaginably immense, cataclysmic event and brought it down to the human scale, so that adult and young adult readers can feel the pain and witness the resourceful human spirit in action. This novel has no dull moments. From the momentous tsunami itself to the great labor of survival after it, he makes you identify with Sarah and the great change she goes through, lets you see this world clearly through the artist eyes of Ruslan, and has you care about their long and difficult journey. Sarah, the spoiled American teenager, like Kipling's rich boy in Captains Courageous, is forever changed and deepened by this tragedy in a world so foreign to her and to most American readers. Read it, then give it to a young person you care about. Neither of you will be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Writers Make Great Books January 29, 2007
Richard Lewis's The Killing Sea is a fast-paced adventure based on the 2004 tsunami in Aceh. Skillfully crafted chapters alternate between telling the story of Indonesian boy, Ruslan, and Sarah, the Western tourist.

After surviving the tsunami (and witnessing a haunting amount of people who didn't), Ruslan begins searching for his father, who he believes has gone to Ie Mameh. After being held hostage by the military and then kidnapped by rebels, Ruslan escapes and eventually meets up with blue-eyed Sarah.

Sarah must also find her father, but first she needs to get her younger brother to a hospital. Peter swallowed a lot of water and is getting sicker by the day. Along with Aisya (whom Sarah pulled out of corpse-ridden waters), the three of them set off in search of medical attention.

A tug-of-war between hope and despair occurs, as they trek over mountains only to find more flattened villages. They are joined by fellow survivors and finally arrive in Calang. There they are told that the hospital has been destroyed and the medicine, washed away.

The Killing Sea is as visually stimulating as watching a movie. It's tastefully written and surely a winner with proceeds going to local Acehnese charities. The most compelling thing about the novel, however, is its sincerity. Even though the book is a work of imagination, Lewis creates a reality. From the water buffalo trying to clamber onto the fishing boat to the detachment Sarah feels upon finding her dead mother, I believed every word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of a Tsunami July 4, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a book about the diastrous tsunami in 2004 that struck Indonesia. Ruslan, and Indonesian boy and Sarah, an American girl, are brought together in the aftermath of the disaster. Ruslan is searching for his father and Sarah is trying to get medical treatment for her sick brother. Sarah had been on a vacation with her parents when the tsunami struck. Along with Surf Cat, a helpful and courageous feline, they navigate through the destruction, barely believing what they see. This is a really emotion-filled book. Normally, when you hear about disasters in far-away places, they don't really affect you that much other than a twinge of pity for "those poor people." This book put a human face on tragedy and made you really feel for the people killed and hurt by the tsunami. It was a short, but sweet book, which I really enjoyed reading, though the book was a bit depressing. It depicts these people dying who Ruslan knew, and heaps of corpses being unceremoniously buried.

*You can read all of my reviews at my book review blog, [...]
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I had to read this as a summer reading for school and it surprised me on how good the story was. I believe you will like city as well.
Published 9 months ago by Heather Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
An amazing adventure story with a twist, recommended for everyone over 8 years old!!!! I really loved It, maybe j should try it!
Published 10 months ago by Guy R Florin
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
This book was assigned to my niece who is in seventh grade at a private Christian school. She is only as studious as I make her be so I was shocked when she could not put this book... Read more
Published 13 months ago by DGB
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Excellent details and very heart wrenching . Cannot imagine going trough that devastation. Definitely an eye opener.Worth the read..makes you more grateful for what you have.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars the worst book
Worst book I've ever read, i wouldn't read this book again to save my life, the worst book ever written
Published 14 months ago by Megan
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
that's all I want to type. You want more well you don't get anymore but ok. IT WAS A GOOD BOOK.
Published 14 months ago by R. L. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this novel!
This novel is set in Indonesia. The author skillfully brings us right into a tsunami to experience the turmoil along with the book's characters. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Karen White
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
I did not want to put this book down! So real - like I was there experiencing the whole thing. It totally kept me wanting more.
Published 19 months ago by Shari Lenz
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book for kids and adults too!
My daughter and I just finished this book from the recommended 5th grade summer reading list at her school. Read more
Published 21 months ago by sarah e san clemente
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice compelling story
This book was great and I loved every minute of it. Every reader is guaranteed to enjoy this book. It is worth every penny
Published 21 months ago by Ryan Wyrobek
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More About the Author

I was born, raised, and live in Indonesia. No tv as a kid, read lots of books. Wrote my first short story at 6 about a yawn that traveled around the world. University educated in the States; bailed out of a marine geology PhD program due to technical difficulties with my soul, which did not want to be shackled to a career.

Most of my creative time was subsequently spent searching the archipelago for surf, only writing now and again, major accomplishment being a 2nd place finish in one of the AsiaWeek's short story contests. Now I'm writing full time, and, to the horror of my old surfing buddies, take more pleasure in turning an original phrase than in getting tubed.

In addition to several e-zine and print publications, I've done well in several prestigious contests, which I mention because my 3rd place in the Writer's Digest 2001 Short Story Contest (the story was published in an anthology) led directly to me getting an agent. So if you are wondering whether contests are worth it or not, I certainly would say yes. Agents do keep an eye out.

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