The Sea-God at Sunrise sequel
I’m wrapping up the rough draft for the sequel to my first novel, so I figured it was time to redo my website and get a little blurb about the sequel up! I haven’t figured out a title yet, but here’s the story in a nutshell:
Set eight years after the first novel, during the early days of the California Gold Rush, we return with Ellis, Takao, and Shima to Hawaii.
In 1849, Honolulu town, newly named the kingdom’s capital, is still caught halfway between worlds: a formerly sleepy backwater newly turned international port by whalers and merchant ships from the West, home of native Hawaiians and American businessmen who exist uneasily side-by-side in a tug-of-war for political power, a war that the Hawaiians fear that they’re losing. Huts are still thatched with grass, Waikiki is a swamp, and none of the roads are paved, but Honolulu is where men go to seek their fortunes - that is, until a year ago, when they found gold in the West.
Amid this heady mix of old and new, Ellis, now the captain of his own whaling ship, and Takao, his boatsteerer, sail into Honolulu for a brief stopover before heading out to the Japan whaling grounds. When things don’t go as planned, they’ll need to turn to someone for help. Who better than Shima, now living just outside Honolulu, working as a physician and well connected within the Hawaiian elite? But Shima has changed, too, and after eight years apart, Ellis and Takao may find that the biggest battles they’ll face are not at sea against monsters of the deep, but in the harbors and valleys of Oahu against friend and brother.
I hope that perks some people’s ears and makes some of you excited! I love Hawaii (who doesn’t) and think that the history of the islands is some of the most fascinating in Polynesia. Getting to delve back into time to the 1850s has been exciting and sometimes a headache, as most Hawaii historical resources out there tend to deal with the period between 1870 and World War II. I’ve had to dig a little, but it’s been worth it.
For a historical context, the sequel is set just after the Great Mahele, a series of acts passed by King Kamehameha III in the late 1840s/early 1850s that privatized land and granted people the right to own land, which had not existed previously. The act was passed because the king feared Hawaiian land falling into foreign hands, and thus was trying to give native Hawaiians the chance to claim their ancestral lands. Unfortunately, the Great Mahele became a vehicle for foreigners to buy or lease land from the Hawaiian people, leading to native Hawaiians being pushed out from lands they had been living on for generations. As the novel explores how Hawaii affects the main characters, it also reveals the effects of these characters, all foreigners and sailors, on the island kingdom in return.
I’m hoping to be finished with drafting and rewriting by the end of the summer. Stay tuned for more tidbits from the story! You can also read my guest blog post, “Writing the Sequel”, here.