Like Dr. Vincent Lam, Vancouver emergency room physician Daniel Kalla has another life as a novelist. His latest book, The Far Side of the Sky, is a page turner. A sequel is in the works.
A departure from medical thrillers with titles like Pandemic, this novel portrays believable characters against a background of history that took place between 1938 and 1942. when his brother is murdered by the Nazis on Kristallnach, Viennese surgeon Franz Adler flees to Chine with his remaining family and some fellow Jews.
Franz and his family find Shanghai divided into concessions controlled by British, French and Japanese, as well as Chinese and Eurasians. He joins a Jewish community that established itself a century before, and begins work in two hospitals.
But the progress of war rapidly changes the fortunes of the city's inhabitants. As a stateless refugee, Dr. Franz Adler gets some unusual medical assignments. Among the patients he is asked to treat are a Nazi sympathizer and a general of the Imperial Japanese army.
Long since widowed, and with a crippled daughter to raise, Franz tends to ignore women until he meets Nurse Sun Yi Mah. Overcoming many obstacles, they find love and a deep emotional trust. Newly married, he is suddenly snatched from the arms of his beloved "Sunny" and thrown into a Japanese prison. Blackmail and secret messages raise the stakes higher.
The Far Side of the Sky (2011, HarperCollins) is an educational and entertaining read. I could hardly put it down and many duties were neglected till I finished it. Kalla has done a fine job.