John V Higgins, Jr.
This title has a few things going for it - reasonably good plot, and EXCELLENT villains. However, the protagonists, all two or three of them, are both boring and implausible. I soldiered on as long as I could, bolstered by long views of the bad guys' side, but I finally had to remind myself that I would only waste a few dollars by forgetting the story and turning to some other book.
I generally like Scott Brick as a reader, but this wasn't the kind of script that was good for him, even if the script was any darn good.
I learned quite a bit about the history of China, but listening to this book was excruciating. The plot alternates getting the main characters in and out of impossible situations by invoking impossible solutions. Very little is believable or credible. Everybody alternates between being a bad guy and a good guy at some point; some make that transition several times.
I would NOT recommend this book.
Steve Berry has cooked a thin soup of alleged suspense and Chinese history, coupled with communist ideology and some REALLY BAD PEOPLE. I lost interest after about one third of the book but listened through it to the end anyway. Steve Berry is unable to create suspense in any section of this book. He tries to make the communists behave as really bad people, destroying valuable historical artifacts. Anyone who has actually been to China (and we are quite a few) knows the opposite is true. Mr Berry acknowledges in his afterword he has not even been to the locations in China he has used in the book. That makes less surprising he was unable to capture any part of the Chinese socitey or the background correctly in this book. My husband listened to this book as well, and when we compared notes afterwards, we were of the same (low) opinion. You can spend you time more wisely that listening to this.
Although the basic plot, premise, and backdrop were interesting, it's execution were too slow and convoluted for me. The story bogs down in the overly detailed conversations and expositions of Chinese history and politics. Although this is a trademark of Berry's style, I found it more difficult to follow and maintain interest and comprehension compared to his other books. The same, too, goes for the multiple storylines, which I often found too disjointed and confusing. Scott Bridk's narration is always slow and cautious, but in this case it only enhanced my boredom with the story and the dispassion of the characters.
This book used too many characters close to the center making it confusing throughout much of the book. The history and culture of China mostly carried any interest in the story.
plot is old Only different places and names So simplistic
If in paper, good for recycling bin
This is another in the series of triumphs by Stephen Berry. The underlying storyline is fascinating along with the international tradecraft where on any given day who knows an aly from a enemy. Berry is a skilled story teller. Brick has a voice that is like your grandfather telling you a tale. I look forward to the next book in the series.