Island on Fire



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?

Read an excerpt
They continued climbing up the steep mountain road for another half mile, then suddenly the wind picked up. All at once they were assaulted by a downpour of ash, cinders, and muddy rain. The pellets beat down on their faces, hands, and bodies, lacerating them, burning them. Now they were surrounded by swirling clouds of ash. The horse reared, almost throwing them off. Rémy did his best to calm the animal, but they were at the mercy of the onslaught. The volcanic rocks were raining down like hailstones, pelting them with fury. The horse was near collapse, unable to breathe. Emilie and Rémy choked on the fumes that
swirled around like the inside of a furnace. She thought that at any minute they would be asphyxiated. In the distance they heard wailing voices. There were a dozen people clinging together by the side of the road, their voices barely audible above the noise of the bombardment. That was the only way they knew they weren’t alone. But it was impossible to see them through the ash clouds.


They covered their noses and mouths with handkerchiefs, but it did little to filter the noxious fumes. Everything was coated with gray ash, including their hair and skin. It soaked into their clothes and streaked down their faces. The downpour was so overpowering, Emilie felt as if they were drowning under a waterfall of ash and cinders. The ground was covered in a thick layer of ash, pumice, and cinders, giving it the appearance of a moonscape. Suddenly Emilie screamed. Several feet away lay the body of a woman buried beneath a layer of volcanic debris. Beside her was a basket with all her worldly belongings and a tiny infant, his body gray and still, frozen in time.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She loves stories
that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews called her "an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer”. Her latest novel is Island on Fire, a thriller about the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, the Pompeii of the Caribbean. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY

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