Tendrils of Life

General Fiction, Romance

By Owen Choi

Publisher : Princeton Falcon Press

ABOUT Owen Choi

Owen Choi
I was born in South Korea, and came to the United States in 1972. I worked in various fields of computer software, most notably in computer networking, and took an early retirement from a technical leadership position at IBM. I now devote my time to writing. Though I studied engineering  More...


Acute food shortages and lawlessness plague communist-occupied Seoul at the start of the Korean War in 1950. Jimin, a sixteen-year-old boy, aches to return to the safety of his old home on Ockdo (Jade Island), a remote island he'd left five years earlier. But only his father, who is absent from home, knows the way.

His adversary, a man who's been plotting to wipe out Jimin's family and steal their island, murders Jimin's mother and tries to eliminate him, forcing him to traverse the war-torn country on foot with his seven-year-old sister to find his father. But the war sweeps across the country multiple times and hinders them from meeting up with their father.

Back in Seoul, with Chinese troops (who invade the country to prop up the communists) bearing down on them, Jimin is forced to join the army, leaving his sister alone, hungry, and homeless in the cold, bomb-devastated city.

With action and suspense, Tendrils of Life is a rich and intriguing upmarket fiction, interwoven with gripping character-oriented narratives and full of visual detail. It's a story of love and hope, greed and revenge, and the quest for survival in the turmoil of war - a depiction of resilience of the human spirit.

The overall journey through the war-torn country of the main characters is depicted with so much visual detail that I felt hunger, pain, sorrow, loneliness and despair as I read each chapter... I was so moved by the story and enjoyed every word. I felt as though I was right there beside Jimin, Sora, Teacher Yang, Jimin's father and even Sinman. I loved how the story was brought together at the end... Tendrils of Life is a literary gem, a novel I recommend to readers, especially those who appreciate good writing and historical fiction. - Digital Journal

An emotional roller-coaster, Tendrils of Life not only tugged at my heartstrings as a reader, it strummed and plucked them through a whole range of emotions like a well-played harp. Moving themes of love, filial loyalty, and the kindness of strangers play counterpoint against the horrors of war and the rapacious greed of men ready to take advantage of a country in turmoil. I could not put it down - I worried for them as if the characters were neighbors and friends of mine who were going through so much personal upheaval, and I could not stop till I knew all that befell them. -BookIdeas

To many the Korean War remains a distant memory... Now we have a potent novel that explores what happened to the Korean people before and during this war... So much more could be said about this surprising, fascinating novel that has received little attention and deserves so much more. It is well-researched, perhaps one-sided in several places, but still reflective of the multiple points of view regarding that long ago, almost forgotten nightmare period in Korean history. Highly recommended historical fiction! -Crystal Book Reviews