In the lush, tropical world of Martinique where slavery is a distant memory and voodoo holds sway, Emilie Dujon discovers that her fiancé, a rich sugar planter, has been unfaithful. Desperate to leave him, she elicits the aid of a voodoo witch doctor and is lured into a shadowy world of black magic and extortion. When the volcano known as Mount Pelée begins to rumble and spew ash, she joins a scientific committee sent to investigate the crater. During the journey she meets Lt. Denis Rémy, an army officer with a mysterious past.
At the summit, the explorers discover that a second crater has formed and the volcano appears to be on the verge of eruption. But when they try to warn the governor, he orders them to bury the evidence for fear of upsetting the upcoming election. As the pressure builds, a deadly mudslide inundates Emilie’s plantation and she disappears. With ash and cinders raining down, chaos ensues. Left with no choice, Lt. Rémy deserts his post and sets off on a desperate quest to rescue Emilie. But with all roads blocked, can they escape the doomed city of St. Pierre before it’s too late?
“A Fascinating Look at a Terrible Time by writetrak”
First of all, let me just say I’m a guy who tends to steer towards period piece action/adventure novels. It’s what I read and what I write so when I was pursuing the book, initially, I had some doubts. Several chapters into the book, though, the doubts disappeared and in came this remarkable look at a time and place that I’d venture to say most of us hardly ever knew anything about. Well, at least I didn’t. Secondly, let me add that Sophie Schiller does her homework so that while you’re reading a story of a Plantation owner’s daughter’s founded doubts about her pending marriage, Schiller’s carefully crafts a harrowing historical adventure with grand style. Set in the backdrop of the West Indies on the island of Martinique, in 1902, ISLAND ON FIRE, covers one of the most devastating events of its day, the struggle to survive a volcanic eruption that claimed well over 30,000 lives and the total destruction of what was known as ‘The Paris of the Caribbean.’ Like I said, Schiller does her homework so what you’re getting is not just an island tale, but an accurate, historic look at the time and place that will never come again. Well worth a read and wonderfully written.