Tell them, the Night Heron is hunting . . .
A lone man escapes a labour camp in the dead of night, fleeing across the winter desert of north-west China.
Two decades earlier, he was a spy for the British. Now he finds Beijing transformed and crawling with danger - the fugitive must quickly disappear on its surveillance-blanketed streets or face death.
Desperate and ruthless, he reaches out to his one-time MI6 paymasters via journalist Philip Mangan, offering secrets in return for his life.
Mangan is dragged into a deeper and deeper whirlpool of lies, as the secrets prove more valuable than either of them could ever have known... and not only to the British.
Brookes, a correspondent for BBC News in Washington, D.C., who was formerly based in China, takes readers deep inside the culture and daily routines of that country in his outstanding fiction debut. Li Huasheng (aka Peanut) has recently escaped from a remote Chinese labor camp after nearly 20 years of confinement for selling military secrets a livelihood that he has now resumed with the help of one of his former conspirators who evaded capture. Meanwhile, Philip Mangan, a freelance British journalist recruited by his own country's spies to serve as a messenger for Peanut, wants to sell a software key that would give the West access to China's national security secrets, including information about troubles with its new nuclear missiles. Good chase scenes and tense dialogue, coupled with a convincing picture of what actually happens in the corridors of power, make Brookes a thriller writer to watch. Author tour.
Intelligent and believable. A real feel for China.