All Kentaro and Keiko know about their grandfather is that he died as a kamikaze pilot toward the end of the war. Intrigued, the siblings set off on a mission to learn the truth about Kyuzo Miyabe’s life and death. As they begin interviewing his few surviving comrades, they hear conflicting reports. Some of the old soldiers describe him as a despicable coward. Others say this ace fighter pilot was an inspiring hero. But everyone seems to agree that Miyabe’s goal was to get through the war alive and return home to his wife and child. Why, then, would he volunteer for a kamikaze flight?
With the mythical Mitsubishi A6N Zero fighter at its center, the novel recreates, in great detail, breathtaking battles in the air and at sea. But it also offers a portrait of a flawed, enigmatic, and very complicated man whose love for his family was the driving force behind his actions – whichever way they were perceived.
Like the character of Miyabe, the fundamental message conveyed in THE ETERNAL ZERO has been given completely opposite interpretations. As the story explores the meaning of loyalty and sacrifice, is it a scathing condemnation of the Imperial Navy and Army? Or is it actually a glorification of Japanese nationalism – especially as it describes the young men who flew off to certain death as kamikaze?
THE ETERNAL ZERO is a provocative look at the War in the Pacific. But, more importantly, it’s a thoroughly entertaining, emotional powerhouse of a novel that readers won’t soon forget – no matter which side you take.