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Jade Tiger by Craig Thomas
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Jade Tiger (1982)

by Craig Thomas

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Slow. Almost Le Carre in style but not as well crafted. I think it is at least the second novel to feature the protagonists because they seem to have some prior history that is not explained.

The book was published in '82, only seven years before Berlin Wall was demolished and a united Germany entered NATO and the EU without the world coming to an end. It just goes to show how quickly the unimaginable can come to pass.

In Germany the latest Prime Minister accompanied by his deputy Wolf Zimmerman, are on an election tour with the manefesto of ratifying the Berlin Treaty to dismantle the wall. Meanwhile in Britsh ruled Hong Kong, a chinese party official is fished from the waters and claims that when Zimmerman recently visited china, he was interogated and found to be a KGB spy. This raises horrible questions - is the entire berlin Treaty a KGB plot to disarm the West. In the remaining 10 days the truth must be found. Kennith AUbry and Patrick Hyde attempt to track down Zimmerman's past while an american infiltrator attempts to determine the truth of Wei's claims.

The 'voice' jumps around a lot between the major characters, and disruptively sneaks into the russian and german heads as well, but the biggest downside is that the 'plot' is resolved about halfway through the book, leaving the remaining half as a series of Patrick's escapades to find information the reader already knows. Combined with Audry's remeniscences into the 1940s and some very sterotypical russians and a Zimmermans' bizarre past, it all just doesn't hang together well enough.

That said it is quite a readable cold war espionage thriller, aubrey is pretty much the archtypical spymaster, and Hyde the intelligent active hero - it's just that the combination doesn't really work well together. Whilst the russians are somewhat poor, the chinese have been better detailed, and C Thomas' obvious experiences in asia do come through.

Nowhere near as good as the technological thriller of Firefox that made him famous, it also doesn't reach the heights of LeCarre's cold war paranoia, and has now dated badly. ( )
2 vote reading_fox | Jun 4, 2009 |
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Hard is the Journey
Hard is the Journey,
So many turnings,
And now where am I?
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The senior foreign operations officer from the Ministry of Public Tranquility reached his slim, long fingered hand into the pool of light cast by the anglepoise lamp at the edge of the desk.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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For espionage veteran Kenneth Aubrey the world is suddenly full of clues that don't match up. A Chinese defector hauled from Hong Kong harbour, trading asylum for the communist mandarins' betrayal. Aubrey has only two weeks to crack the defector, two weeks before the Berlin Wall is bulldozed into history, and two weeks to break the three-cornered death game between China, Russia and the West.… (more)

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