If you're a youth in 1941 living in San Francisco and a graduate of Stanford University, fluent in speech communications, especially Japanese, your talents were needed by Army intelligence, immediately.
If and when the United States went to war against Japan, intelligence realized they had very few personnel that could speak the language or understand the culture, Including Japanese Americans. Their search of the universities throughout the US, turned up very sparse results.
The decision was made to start a school to teach the Japanese language and if possible the culture of the isolated country to future code breakers. The Presidio, a military post in San Francisco was chosen to go forward immediately with the task.
The next priority was to compose a cryptology dictionary of the language, similar to what Churchill had done at Bletchley Park. It was the central site for British code breakers intercepting and decoding the German transmission.
The youth of American stepped up to the challenge, including an extraordinary talented young lady, Sue Lee Ono. She was fluent in Japanese, German, Spanish, French, and understood several Chinese dialects. Sue Lee grew up in the city of San Francisco in Japantown under the tutelage of her dear Uncle Yoshi. He taught her not only the knowledge of the Japanese culture, but a deep understanding about the history and artifacts. Uncle Yoshi was a collector and a known authority of Asian art.
Sue Lee settles into the routine at the Presidio helping to set up a school for Japanese Americans eager to do their part for their country against the ever-present prejudice.
Nevertheless, Sue Lee’s worries are more than racism. She is caught in a murderous past continuing into the present after the death of her beloved Uncle Yoshi.
It is impossible not to get caught up in the lives of the characters in this book. The story is a page turner and keeps the reader moving. An unexpected ending will take you to the next book.