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“The Americans came closer, their voices louder now, as if they were unconcerned about attack. Tadashi kept his body still, held his breath, and hoped they would pass by without noticing him. The soldiers tramped through the kunai grass, the rough leaves swishing against their uniforms.

They are close, he thought. Too close and there is nowhere to hide.

Tadashi had to decide—life or death. Honor or disgrace.”

War Sonnets

1942: In the war-torn jungles of Luzon, two soldiers scout the landscape. Under ordinary circumstances they might be friends, but in the hostile environment of World War II, they are mortal enemies.

Leal Baldwin, a US Army sergeant, writes sonnets. His sights are set on serving his country honorably and returning home in one piece. But the enemy is not always Japanese…Dooley wants Leo’s job, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it…Leo finds himself fighting for his reputation and freedom.

Lieutenant Tadashi Abukara prefers haiku. He has vowed to serve his emperor honorably, but finds himself fighting a losing battle. Through combat, starvation, and the threat of cannibalism, Tadashi’s only thought is of survival and return to his beloved wife and son. As Leo and Tadashi discover the humanity of the other side and the questionable moral acts committed by their own, they begin to ask themselves why they are here at all. When they at last meet in the jungles of Luzon, only one will survive, but their poetry will live forever.


Praise for War Sonnets


“[Ms. Willey] does an amazing job capturing the emotions and interactions of the people involved as well as the historical facts about the war… “War Sonnets” receives five stars from The Historical Fiction Company and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence.”

– The Historical Fiction Company


“Compelling depiction of the Pacific theater of WWII through the perspective of an American soldier and a Japanese soldier.

Inspired by the poems written by Allen H. Benton, this is a moving tale of Tadashi and Leo, two young men who share similar backgrounds and a passion for writing, but are separated by war, fighting on opposing sides. The story builds gradually toward a horrifying climax and is hard to forget. It brings home the horrors of this war and indeed that of all wars.”

– Malve von Hassell, author of The Amber Crane


“Susannah Wiley has written a lovely book of grand scope and has done a standout job of bringing the Pacific Theater of World War II to life and showing us its sheer heartbreak. The poignantly drawn American and Japanese characters continue to stick with me. I’m particularly fond of the poetry pieces that open each chapter, which were written by the author’s own uncle during his stint in the very same war. War Sonnets will deepen your understanding of this very important chapter of our collective history. I highly recommend it.”

– Brenda Marie Smith, author of If Darkness Takes Us & If the Light Escapes


A powerful, dual-narrative novel, War Sonnets probes an underlying truth of war: those on either side of the line are more alike than not; their fears and hopes, the same. Extensive historical detail places readers on those lines, building a sense of sympathy for both sides.

– Janis Robinson Daly, author of The Unlocked Path, #1 New Release for U.S. Historical Fiction,Kindle version, 08.30.22.