Behind the Scenes 
 
The historical content of the novel is fairly accurate, as far as history can ever be accurate. 
 
The fusuma, which I’ve named Path and Order mirrors much of what is known about Four Elegant Accomplishments. This set was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from an elderly gentleman who bought it in Hawai'i during his honeymoon not long after the Second World War. Many of the fusuma from the Ryoanji temple have been located and traced to where they were originally housed in the complex. The set next to the Four Elegant Accomplishments have not yet been located, hence Path and Order. 
 
The history in the Japanese chapters is accurate as regards the dates, events, and names of the people involved. Japanese treatment of POWs is well documented and the numbers of comfort women solicited by the Japanese forces is now better understood. The US Navy did use Osaka castle for offices during the occupation and the Ryoanji fusuma were displayed at the castle in 1933. 
 
The historical references in the Hawai'i and Vanuatu chapters are also fairly accurate. John Frum is not easy as there’s no definitive link to who actually inspired the movement. Some say John Frum was an African American military personnel, though it is unclear. Other references suggest the movement started before the Second World War. In the John Frum section of the website there is a link to an interesting analogy to how John Frum started compared to other better known religions or cults. 
 
The sinking of the SS President Coolidge is well documented, especially as it became subject to naval legal scrutiny. I did change the apparent semaphore message of “STOP YOU ARE STANDING INTO MINES” to “STOP... HEADING INTO MINES”. As standing didn’t make sense, even if it might to navy personnel. 
 
The Vanuatu volcanoes and diving sights are accurately portrayed as are most of the places mentioned – villages, hotels, restaurants and bars with only a couple of fictitious ones thrown in, e.g. Banyan Bar in Hotel Santo. The South Pacific Fishery at Palikula Point did exist but was no longer run by the Japanese in 2001. 
 
There are a number of personal experiences influencing the novel. I lived in Port Vila for twelve months in 1975 as an auditor and one of my clients was the South Pacific Fishery. I have travelled back to Vanuatu on numerous occasions. During these trips I dived the Coolidge and trekked the Millennium Walk. I have also been to Mount Yasur on Tanna Island and Lamen Bay on Epi Island. Like many people, I have visited Maui, cycled down Mount Haleakala and we've also lived in Sumatra and Fort Worth, Texas. And I once hired a kombi from Bow Wow Motors in East London.

Books read 

Immortals and Sages: Paintings from Ryoanji Temple 
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art 60 page booklet 1993 
The Samurai’s Wife by Laura Joh Rowland
The Shark God by Charles Montgomery
The Happy Isles of Oceania by Paul Theroux
Port Vila Blues by Gary Disher
Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
Pacific by Judy Nunn
Fishing For Stars by Bryce Courtney. 

Movies viewed

The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa
The Last Sumurai by Edward Zwick (loosely based on Satsuma rebellion)
 
Acknowledgements
 
If this novel passes in terms of readability, much of the credit must go to Sue Griffiths, my very honorary editor. Sue had a huge impact in getting the novel to pulse rather than often read as a screenplay and did this over laborious readings and countless improvements. 
 
My wife Catherine contributed in many ways - constant feedback, advice and as my grammar maven. She assisted with the French and Bislama phrases. Osh knows my writing limitations and kept encouraging me. 
 
My graphic wizards Tony Robinson and Luke Jensen were wonderful. Tony created the cover and map images from scratch. He was able to develop exactly what I was looking for in the cover and put together a unique map of Vanuatu. Luke kept beavering away on colours, fonts and positioning, often to my variable whims and fancies. 
 
Computer counsellor and patient pal, Mehmet Yousouf, who helped me set up this website. 
 
My old friends, Ian Staas and Roger Brettle, who read the novel at various stages and provided constructive suggestions to improve.
 
Thanks to Yasmin and Jason at Vivid Publishing who assisted towards the end with the formatting and other technical bits. 
 
And lastly, thanks to the friends and relatives who read the early chapters and provided ample encouragement for me to keep going!