In 1942 and 1943, German U-boats sank over one hundred tankers in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, blocking the flow of crude oil to the refineries in the northeastern US. In response, the American government encouraged drilling in South Florida, resulting in the discovery of oil by a wildcat well in the Florida Everglades.
During this time, four German saboteurs landed by U-boat in Florida. These men were caught and subsequently executed.
These apparently unrelated, and largely forgotten, historical facts are the backdrop for a new novel from Stephen O. Sears. SUNNILAND brings to life the extraordinary adventure of Jerry MacDonald, a young geologist who travels from Manhattan to Florida with his wife, Maria, in the spring of 1943.
MacDonald has been dispatched to interpret the geological findings as a wildcat well is drilled in the wilderness of southwest Florida. Faced with constant questions about his civilian status while his contemporaries are joining the Armed Forces, guilt and uncertainty comingle with the pleasures of a trip to an exotic location. Jerry and Maria arrive at the small town of Everglades City to find an isolated village that exemplifies the culture of the Deep South in the middle of the twentieth century.
The challenges of setting up a drilling rig in the marshy terrain of the Everglades and spudding a a wildcat well preoccupy Jerry, while Maria finds work as a bartender in the Turner Hotel. As the well is drilled, the German U-boat rampage taking place in the nearby Gulf of Mexico violently collides with the lives of the MacDonalds, the drilling crew, and the inhabitants of the Everglades.
The Orinoco Uranium
An exciting follow up to acclaimed novel Sunniland, and inspired by a series of true events, The Orinoco Uranium is a story of conflict and survival in WWII South America.
In the spring of 1944, a geophysical survey party detects a cargo of smuggled uranium on a stranded ship. Beached on the Orinoco River bank after a fierce storm, the ship was enroute from Nazi Germany to Argentina with radioactive metal stolen from a Berlin laboratory. The renegade German physicist behind the theft intends to use the cargo as a passport to a new life in South America.
American geologist Jerry MacDonald and his wife, Maria, are living and working in the scenic lakeside community of Maracaibo, a city of intrigue and espionage in neutral Venezuela. Looking for new oil felds, Jerry leads the geophysical survey party to the Orinoco River delta, deep in the South American wilderness. When he informs the American government about the strange discovery of the uranium upon his return to Maracaibo, the ensuing efforts to seize it by both Germans and Americans cause a violent encounter in the South Atlantic Ocean.