The Ambassador's Son

  • by Homer Hickam
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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 <b>very</b> 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, <i>The Keeper's Son</i>, 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!
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- Richard

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.
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- FRITZ STOOP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-06-2005
  • Publisher: Books on Tape