The Sea-God at Sunrise is about two young Japanese fishermen, Shima and his younger brother Takao, and their interaction with the crew of an American whaler which rescues them after they are shipwrecked by a typhoon.
At the time in which the book is set Japan is a closed country so the book follows attempts to repatriate the boys and their subsequent voyage on the whaler. Each side has little knowledge of the others lives and customs and of course language is initially a barrier. These basic facts enable Tysk to fully explore these differences and inform the reader as the perspective alternates between Shima and one of the ships officers.
If you are looking for detailed descriptions of ship handling this is a not a book for you as it is hardly mentioned and indeed there are a couple of minor errors and typos although these did not detract. However, that the author has researched whaling is evident and this aspect of shipboard life and the small boat hunts are fully and graphically depicted.
The strength of this book is its characters. There is a wide cast of fully rounded characters and their traits and interactions, which are at the heart of this novel, make for an excellent read which was hard to put down. The plot developed well and kept me in suspense as it was totally unpredictable.
If you want to know about the operation of A New Bedford whaler in the Pacific or just want a thoroughly good read I would recommend this one.
Description of: The Sea-God at Sunrise
Author: G. L. Tysk