“Lisa See begins to do for Beijing what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for turn-of-the-century London or Dashiell Hammett did for 1920s San Francisco: She discerns the hidden city lurking beneath the public facade.”
–The Washington Post Book World
In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping’s reign, the U.S. ambassador’s son is found dead–his body entombed in a frozen lake. Around the same time, aboard a ship adrift off the coast of Southern California, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark makes a startling discovery: the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China’s political elite.
The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected and, in an unprecedented move, they join forces to see justice done. In Beijing, David teams up with the unorthodox police detective Liu Hulan. In an investigation that brings them to every corner of China and sparks an intense attraction between the two, David and Hulan discover a web linking human trafficking to the drug trade to governmental treachery–a web reaching from the Forbidden City to the heart of Los Angeles and, like the wide flower net used by Chinese fishermen, threatening to ensnare all within its reach.
“A graceful rendering of two different and complex cultures, within a highly intricate plot . . . The starkly beautiful landscapes of Beijing and its surrounding countryside are depicted with a lyrical precision.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Murder and intrigue splash across the canvas of modern Chinese life. . . . A vivid portrait of a vast Communist nation in the painful throes of a sea change.”
“Fascinating . . . that rare thriller that enlightens as well as it entertains.”
–San Diego Union-Tribune
A Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
Moving smoothly from On Gold Mountain, the praised memoir of her Chinese-American family, See applies her knowledge of Chinese customs and traditions to a complex and exciting novel. See adds a solid understanding of subtle and complex Sino-American political and social differences, typifies these qualities in a range of well-crafted characters and tops it all with a suspenseful plot. She cleverly confounds readers' expectations by making her female protagonist, Chinese ministry of public security investigator Liu Hulan, far more tough and pragmatic than her American counterpart, assistant U.S. attorney David Stark. The two, who were lovers a decade ago when they were in the same L.A. law office, meet again when they are paired to investigate two suspicious deaths. The body of the son of the American ambassador to China is found in a lake outside the Forbidden City; then the bloated corpse of the son of one of the most wealthy and powerful men in China, entrepreneur Kwong Ming-yun, turns up in a freighter loaded with illegal Chinese immigrants in waters off L.A. When David and Hulan begin their investigation in Beijing, they gradually uncover a complex trail of greed and revenge that may involve the Chinese triads; the most powerful crime syndicate in Southern California, called the Rising Phoenix; government figures in both countries; high-level members of China's Hundred Families; the multimillion-dollar smuggling of animal organs; and other sinister elements. See integrates historical details, local color and such observations as the fact that shrugging is unknown to the Chinese (they jut out their chins instead). The body count escalates, rendered with realistic gore. Some clunky details intrude when Hulan and David somewhat implausibly take the law into their own hands. But the fascinating picture of China's political heritage and complex social culture makes this debut thriller a standout. $275,000 ad/promo; 200,000 first printing; rights: Sandra Dijkstra; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
These are my best of Lisa See,
My favorite collection.
The Flower Net
And enjoyable and inspiring novel. With many details provided by the author, it's easy to see the characters and to feel the tension of life in China. It's an excellent read, informative as well as exciting.