Courage in Hardship Defines Novel about Native American WWII Navy Frogman

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Novelist John Comfort Releases Panther in the Sun

Panther in the Sun, a new novel by author John Comfort, tells how tragedy and racial injustice tears a Native American family apart. Many aspects of the story are based on the true-life experiences of Navy Frogman and Boxing Champion George Riser, who served in Asia and the Pacific during World War II.

“The novel,” says Chief Hatcher of the Waccamaw tribe, “renders an anxious excitement as the undeserved hardships of a single American family unfolds.” Many of the hardships arise from the characters’ identity as native American. It is, Chief Hatcher continues, “a story with a viewpoint and tradition not often told: that of the American Indian.”

The author based Panther in the Sun on some of the experiences of his grandfather in early-to-mid-20th century America. “I had always wanted to tell my grandfather’s story,” says Comfort. “He lived an extraordinary life. I didn’t want to write a biography and so I created a story drawing from his life when necessary.” Some of the experiences of the main characters in Panther in the Sun are based on George Riser’s life, according to Comfort. “My grandfather was passed around foster homes all the way through High School. He was essentially a servant and farmhand and was treated with cruelty more often than not. During World War II he was recruited to become an elite UDT Navy Frogman and was a commanding officer of ten men in the war against Japan. He was also the Navy Boxing Champion.”

About the Author: John Comfort has drawn much inspiration from his grandfather, George Riser, whose ancestrally-diverse background includes Oglala Lakota Sioux bloodlines. George was an orphan, he endured great hardship during the Great Depression, and he fought as an elite Frogman in the island campaign of World War II. The author lives in Bluffton, South Carolina with his wife and two sons.

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