The clandestine Japanese wartime operation called the Golden Lily is oftentimes referred to as the legend of Yamashita's Gold.
When I began writing my novel, Pursuit of the Golden Lily, I had never heard of this WWII atrocity. I was searching for some event that I could weave into a story about a girl returning her father's POW diary to Thailand. But when I stumbled upon Sterling & Peggy Seagrave's book - The Gold Warriors, I knew I had found the thread that would bind my story.
I am not one for conspiracy theories, although I do believe that there is a kernel of truth in everything. However, the more I researched the Golden Lily, the more it felt as if I was falling down a rabbit hole. How to verify fact from fiction? The nefarious audacity of this clandestine operation, meticulously executed by the Japanese, is chilling. The alleged complicity of the Japanese Imperial Family and subsequently that of members of the CIA, is particularly disturbing despite the inevitability of post war alliances. Some information I read is indisputable, other accounts, well, let's say each individual must make their own assumptions. But thanks to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, newly released court documents do lend credibility to the meticulously documented work of the Seagraves.
As a novelist, my first desire is to tell a good story. As a human being, my commitment is to seek transparency; to shed light on the unfamiliar, the under-reported; to give credence to that which is undermined for the sake of political gain, greed and power. But I am one writer; one voice echoing in cyberspace; a blip on the cosmic screen. Still, I am grateful at the very least, to be able to commemorate the victims of the Golden Lily, for there were thousands upon thousands of them. And while I am not seeking to vilify the Japanese, I do believe that being informed of such activities and collaborations reminds us to be vigilant. In this time, when vitriol is ubiquitously seeping into our political landscapes, I hope we shall not forget how quickly the past is forgotten.
Pursuit of the Golden Lily is released tomorrow, May 22nd. You can download the first two chapters at Smashwords
Here is an interesting website on Yamashita's Gold.
Learn more about The Gold Warriors