In Mandarin Gate, Edgar Award winner Eliot Pattison brings Shan back in a thriller that navigates the explosive political and religious landscape of Tibet.
In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he'd been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan has just begun to settle into his menial job as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches in a remote Tibetan township when he encounters a wrenching crime scene. Strewn across the grounds of an old Buddhist temple undergoing restoration are the bodies of two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun. Shan quickly realizes that the murders pose a riddle the Chinese police might in fact be trying to cover up. When he discovers that a nearby village has been converted into a new internment camp for Tibetan dissidents arrested in Beijing's latest pacification campaign, Shan recognizes the dangerous landscape he has entered. To find justice for the victims and to protect an American woman who witnessed the murders, Shan must navigate through the treacherous worlds of the internment camp, the local criminal gang, and the government's rabid pacification teams, while coping with his growing doubts about his own identity and role in Tibet.
Edgar-winner Pattison dramatically portrays the bitter oppression suffered by the Tibetan people under Communist China in his excellent seventh novel featuring Chinese investigator Shan Tao Yun (after 2009's The Lord of Death). Exiled to Tibet for having pursued the truth too zealously in an investigation that implicated high government officials, Shan now labors as an official ditch inspector. Even as his closest friend, Lokesh, believes that humanity's failure to be humane heralds the "end of time," Shan strives to protect the gentle Tibetan natives from victimization by their occupiers. His efforts to save Jamyang, an unregistered (i.e., "outlaw") monk he befriended, from a bounty hunter, land Shan smack in the middle of a murder inquiry after the mutilated bodies of two unidentified men and one Tibetan nun turn up near an old convent. Shan must exercise his atrophied deductive muscles from his years as an investigator in Beijing to spare the Tibetans reprisals. Pattison movingly delineates the difficulties of seeking justice under a police state in this brilliantly constructed and passionate whodunit.
Once again, an eye opening thriller
In each Pattison book in the Inspector Shan series I am swept into Tibet with all my senses not just for the story, but also for learning of her takeover by Chinese government. Pattison creates his Shan novels with a passion that comes from knowing the truth of Tibet. His characters are finely tuned, the plots within plots carefully woven together creating a historical mystery. Mandarin Gate is no exception...