by Julie HaleApril, 2004
The best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman returns with another fascinating, thoroughly researched historical narrative. This compelling account of the destruction of Krakatoa, a volcano-island that erupted in 1883, examines the effects of the disaster, which triggered a tsunami that killed close to 40,000 people. The eruption was heard around the world, and the dust that resulted from the explosion caused temperatures to plunge dramatically. In his in-depth look at Krakatoa's aftermath, Winchester also recounts how the disaster helped spur on a wave of murders in Java, killings that were tied surprisingly to fundamentalist Muslims. This is a captivating portrayal of the deadly whims of nature, written by an author in perfect command of his material. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.harpercollins.com/readers.