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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Jacob's Ladder by Ian T King is a beautiful story that is well-written for fans of literary fiction and adventure. Set in the 1970s, the story follows Billy Smith, who after reading the big poster, “Join the Navy and See the World,” makes the choice. After six weeks of training, he graduates first in his class at Dryad and joins his first ship in the Far East. Billy’s first week of his deployment at sea is not a fun experience. He is tortured by Petty Officer O’Bryan, a “petty” officer indeed, with a nasty attitude and pungent breath. But that is not where the troubles end: Billy gets himself entangled in a game of intrigue that eventually puts him in the dangerous yet fascinating world of Bugis Street in Singapore. Can he survive that one night and get back home whole?
Jacob's Ladder is a wonderful story with great characters. The writing is hugely descriptive and Ian T King has a unique gift for imagery. The descriptions appeal to the reader’s senses. It is hard to forget moments like the first encounter between Billy and Petty Officer O’Bryan. Billy can’t stand the blasting hot breath of the officer, “a pungent brew of stale tobacco and halitosis” as he constricts his nasal passages in a bid to block it out. The prose is excellent and the characters are memorable. Billy sets out to discover the world, but he does so in a most brutal way. The setting is brilliantly written. From England to Singapore, the author captures a colonial experience that is fascinating. Jacob's Ladder is gripping and fast-paced.