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Thornraven

Thornraven

The Chinese Spymaster

The Chinese Spymaster - Hock G. Tjoa I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Chinese Spymaster has a creative premise, the maneuverings of the Chinese Intelligence service in response to a threat that an ethnic group in Central Asia will acquire a nuclear device in an attempt to establish an independent state. As with all good espionage thrillers, the story moves among a variety of international locations including China, the United Kingdom and Central Asia. Intertwined with the main story line are subplots related to political maneuverings in the Chinese Government, corrupt mullahs, and matchmaking friends.
For all its pluses, the novel is hampered by the frequent use of flashbacks that occasionally confuse the narrative flow and a clinical narrative style. The occasional action sequences are oddly cool and ‘bloodless’ despite the body count. The emotional response of the characters is muted or absent. For example, when Spymaster Wang learns his sparring partner wants to assassinate him there is no sense of an emotional response as the character mentally sets up a mental ‘to do list.’

All in all, the premise and interrelated plot lines are interesting, well-constructed and researched, but the detached narrative style fails to fully engage the reader