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This novel by Charles McCarry has everything one desires from a great novel, there is an element of suspense, mystery and a promise of action in the end. We enjoy the progress in each step as we go deep in the story, the characters are also a bit complicated that enhance our interest in the story after each page.
The story starts in a simple way when a young man settles in Shanghai just for the sake of learning language and culture but later we are told that he is actually a spy who is soon going to be implanted in China on a secret and tough mission against the Chinese agency known as the Guoanbu. Everything goes well with the spy except one that he falls in love with Mei who he knows could prove to be a threat for him and the agency HQ for which he works.
The beauty of the story is that it moves from micro to macro level as the spy comes to know that the balance of the world power lies in his hands and thus his mission’s failure could bring about calamity in both regions of the world. The progress of his personal love affair is another thing that moves side by side with the mainstream that makes the job of the spy tougher as he fails to decide between Mei and his job. The story gives an inside view of the American and Chinese agencies that according to the writer are plotting against one another all the time these days. Stephen Bowlby has maintained a good balance while describing Shanghai and America through his narrative skills and thus has added spice to the novel.
More stories you may like to listen to are Our Kind of Traitor (REQ) – John le Carré and The Little Drummer Girl (1983) – John Le Carré with lost of amazing characters and events to let your enjoy the story realms.