French Concession: A Novel by Xiao Bai, published July 7, 2015 by Harper.
Genre: historical fiction
Prelude: May 10, Year 20 of the Republic.2:24 A.M.
The walls of the cabin were trembling. A steam whistle piped two shot blasts. Hsueh opened his eyes. He still had the covers pulled over his head, and the ebb and flow of waves sounded like thunder in a distant world.Publisher description:
"A literary noir, a tale of espionage and international intrigue, set in Shanghai in 1931—a decadent world of love, violence, and betrayal filled with femme fatales, criminals, revolutionaries, and spies
A boat from Hong Kong arrives in Shanghai harbor, carrying an important official in the Nationalist Party and his striking wife, Leng. Amid the raucous sound of firecrackers, gunshots ring out; an assassin has shot the official and then himself. Leng disappears in the ensuing chaos.
Hseuh, a Franco-Chinese photographer discovers that his lover Therese is secretly an arms dealer, supplying Shanghai’s gangs with weapons. His investigation of Therese eventually leads him back to Leng, a loyal revolutionary with ties to a menacing new gang, led by a charismatic Communist whose acts of violence and terrorism threaten the entire country.
His aptitude for espionage draws Hseuh into a dark underworld of mobsters, smugglers, anarchists, and assassins. Torn between Therese and Leng, he vows to protect them both. As the web of intrigue tightens around him, Hsueh plays a dangerous game, hoping to stay alive."
I find this period of time in China's history fascinating and am looking forward to reading it.
I received a proof of this book for review.