Troy Nilsson,
Shadow Stones of Hiroshima
(self-published, 1997; 2003)

Shadow Stones of Hiroshima is born of a deep passion. Troy Nilsson uses the book to deliver an anti-war message and the focus is on the message. He has also included several pages of quotes about war and nuclear weapons, as well as statistics about the nuclear programs in both the United States and former U.S.S.R.

The story is uneven. It has passion and a very well-defined purpose, although at times the plot seem to serve the message as opposed to the message being the main theme of the book. Klaus Reingold/Kevin Raines is defined by his opposition to war and the continued use of atomic weapons. By happenstance, he is joined by three others who also take up his crusade. The relationships between Kevin, Catherine, Lenny and Bubba are sketched in with moments defining the whole. These parts of the story are very well developed compared to Klaus/Kevin's amnesia and the constant movement by this group of anti-war activists.

The story is set in the not so distant past, starting in Germany during World War I and then carrying on to 1962. One of the most powerful moments of the book comes about a third of the way through, with Klaus just offshore Japan when the Bomb is dropped.

The use of historical figures is both a strength and a weakness of the book. That they are there adds to the realism of the book; that Hitler is portrayed as a buffoon is more than a little strange. The historical events that shape the characters and impact them are handled more adeptly than the personas.

Troy Nilsson is on the fourth draft of Shadow Stones of Hiroshima and the passion behind and in the book will likely keep you reading it. However, as it stands the book could use another draft or two to bring out more of its potential.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 3 July 2004

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