In 1942, a small group of missionaries and their children rode aboard the freighter SS West Lashaway off the coast of South America, bound for the United States. The quiet afternoon was suddenly interrupted by a shout from the seaman on watch. “Torpedo wake, starboard amidships!” A German submarine, set on destroying any vessel in its path, fired two torpedoes toward the freighter. In less than two minutes, the Lashaway vanished beneath the ocean. Nineteen survivors, including four children, clung to a raft built for ten. Rescue didn’t come for twenty more days.


Eleven-year-old Robert Bell, along with his mother and sister, were among them. In Peril On the Sea describes how the survivors spent those twenty frightening days and nights, fighting starvation in the shark-infested waters. Bell goes on to explain how and why he contacted the submarine’s crew forty years later, befriending them and forgiving them for their actions. It’s an incredible true story of danger and survival, and ultimately of forgiveness and love triumphing over hatred.