Empress of Asia is the long-awaited first novel from Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of the highly-praised collection Kingdom of Monkeys. In this ambitious and stunning novel, Schroeder paints a beautiful and compelling story of youthful innocence and determined love against a setting of the horrors of the World War II POW camps in Southeast Asia.
Canadian Seaman Harry Winslow lands in war-ravaged Singapore when his ship, The Empress of Asia, is bombed by Japanese aircraft. He meets and falls in love with Lily, a genteel native. They recklessly marry, and just as quickly are separated. Young Harry spends much of the novel—when he isn’t fending off starvation, tropical maladies, cruel prison guards and other disasters of war—searching for his beloved Lily. Many years later, a dying Lily feeds Harry’s curiosity about the time they spent apart, leading him on a chase to find out the identity of a child borne in secrecy. Schroeder is a master of voice, and Empress of Asia is peopled with unforgettable characters.
Raincoast Books, Canada, Fall 2006
Thomas Dunne Books, US, March 18th, 2008
one of 6 Finalists for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award (Winners announced October 2007)
selected as a St. Martin’s Press Winter ’08 Rep Pick
“What a book! Empress of Asia, Adam Lewis Schroeder’s first novel after his successful short-story collection, Kingdom of Monkeys, is a surefire winner. This is a compelling, heartbreaking and witty book that will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. . . . [J]ust plain superb.” - The Globe and Mail
“Dark, funny and surprisingly beautiful, Empress of Asia is a true accomplishment, both a picaresque adventure and a grand historical tale. In Harry Winslow--small-town boy, sailor and merchant marine--we see what an ordinary man might do to survive a terrible war. Most powerfully, we see in Harry what survives in an ordinary man after the guns fall silent, when life begins again in the long aftermath of war.” -Madeleine Thien, author of Simple Recipes
“His fine comic sense produces effects that range from subtle to broadly humorous.” -Books In Canada
"...Adam Schroeder is a talented writer with a promising future ahead of him." - Vancouver Sun
"...an accomplished and textured tale that is both memorable and rewarding." -The Georgia Straight
Adam Lewis Schroeder was born in BC, and completed a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He has traveled extensively through Europe, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in Grain, Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Anthology, Zygote, The Malahat Review and others.