Trent Mcshane: A character study

Trent McShane is a fictional character in the epic adventure Typhoon Coast . Trent McShane is based upon the author Mark R. Clifford’s life.  Trent is a survivor of the June 1991 cataclysmic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Modeled after his creator, Trent is the descendant of the famous Dodge City lawman Bat Masterson . McShane is a skilled San Francisco Policeman, SWAT Operator, and jungle fighter who “brings evildoers to justice.”

Typhoon Coast is a surrealistic novel that follows a man’s adventure-filled life from its beginnings as a boy, to becoming a Marine, and later serving as a San Francisco policeman.  A significant part of the story revolves around the Philippine Islands. There is a mix of magic and mystery that surfaces every so often and acts as a glue that helps to hold the story together.

This is a book well worth reading just to experience how a man lived his eventful life, sometimes facing danger. He is in pursuit of a sometimes-nebulous Golden Lily Treasure. Then again, Trent actually searches for the meaning of his life? This is an excellent psychological journey into why people serve in the military and law enforcement.

Fictional character biography

Readers who enjoy narratives that deliver an inside view of law enforcement and the military would be wise to consider Typhoon Coast. The book arrives at a time when service to others is headline news, but Clifford explores the depths of his central character’s emotional state in his work on the streets of San Francisco and in the jungles of the Philippines.

Author, Mark R. Clifford is a proud fourth generation San Franciscan, and the second-born in an Irish Catholic family of seven. He served in the Marine infantry for ten years and as a Police Officer for over a quarter century.

In the Marines, Clifford rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He received Special Operations training while attached to the 3rd Marine Division, in Okinawa and was operating in the Philippines in 1991 during the historic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. His law enforcement career was equally eclectic. He rose to the rank of sergeant and served in a myriad of assignments to include SWAT and undercover narcotics.

Clifford opens Typhoon Coast when his main character, Trent McShane, is a young boy bearing the loss of his mother and buoyed by his passion for the exploits of the legendary lawman, Bat Masterson. McShane’s determination to “be a good man, with the power to do great evil upon evil men,” is so deeply felt and fully expressed that it imbues the narrative with lyrical qualities reminiscent of epic myths.

However, Clifford’s aspiring hero endures tragic events as a lawman, and he struggles to find balance as a husband and father. But just as Trent McShane is feeling “as worthless as the wad of one-dollar bills in his pocket,” he is summoned to return to the Marine Corps for the mission he was born to accomplish.

And it is with the dazzling wonder of dreams that Clifford features Trent McShane bushwhacking through a maze of pythons, “marauding bands of Huks, and sword-wielding, mystical Muslim Moros” on the slopes of Mount Pinatubo.

Trent McShane’s aides

McShane is accompanied on his hero’s journey by several other characters. Clifford pens Trent’s adventure as if an Odysseus, or Pliny. The cadre of characters assists Trent thwart lurking evil.

Readers first meet ten-year-old Trent McShane as he watches in horror as his beautiful young mother is swept away from California’s Typhoon Coast into the unforgiving wild blue Pacific, never to be seen again. Lost and bewildered, Trent falls under the spell of class clown Eddie Thompson, who has a wanderlust for treasure hunts—in particular, the infamous World War II Golden Lily Treasure, buried on the other side of the ocean, deep in the wild green Philippine jungle. Together, Trent and Eddie follow childhood’s illusions of grandeur through San Francisco, then become men in the vast Philippine mountains. Mount Pinatubo explodes with apocalyptic fury, but does it take the Golden Lily Treasure with it? Eddie and Trent are not alone in the hunt. The trillions in treasure could afford the US government incredible power in international affairs and bankroll the nation’s black operations. It’s all fair game.


The basic conflicts in fiction have been commonly codified as “man against man”, “man against nature”, and “man against self.” Typhoon Coast manages all three themes. The 1991 cataclysmic eruption of Mount Pinatubo was a focal point in the author’s life. Clifford goes onto delve in the darkness that his subsequent career in law enforcement dealt. He refers to his fellow police officers as “Snakemen,” who are “Good men with the capacity to great evil upon evildoers.”

Trent’s greatest foe were the Juramentado, in Philippine history, refers to a male Moro swordsman who attacks and kills targeted invaders, expecting to be killed himself. In Typhoon Coast, these ancient warriors protect the Golden Lily Treasure. They are dedicated, highly skilled killers who prepare themselves through a ritual of binding, shaving, and prayer in order to accomplish brazen attacks armed only with a Kris sword.


The eruption of Mount Pinatubo

The world’s largest volcanic eruption to happen in the past 100 years was the June 15, 1991, eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Luzon, Philippines. This was the most devastating eruption to occur in a densely populated area. Typhoon Yunya struck the Philippines at the time of the colossal eruption. Approximately 1,000 people were killed by the eruption, mostly by roofs collapsing under a load of accumulated volcanic matter, a hazard amplified by the simultaneous arrival of Typhoon Yunya. The evacuation (Operation Fiery Vigil) in the days before the eruption saved tens of thousands of lives.

The Golden Lily Treasure

The Golden Lily Treasure is a name given to the trillions in war loot stolen by Imperial Japanese forces during World War II and supposedly hidden in 100 “Banzai” caves on the island of Luzon, Philippines.