It's the 1960s and the world of advertising is coming alive - and it's an exciting world to be part of. Simon Wong, a Chinese-Australian and a promising young advertising executive, is sent to Singapore to establish an office. He finds himself thrust into an environment that is at once strangely familiar and profoundly different, one where the rules that govern behaviour - both in business and in personal life - differ wildly from what he is used to. And where all is not what it appears to be.
Under the veneer of the commercial world lie some shocking truths - of people smuggling, drug trafficking, and murder. And Mercy B. Lord, the woman Simon falls for, is caught up in it. From wartime Asian comfort houses to CIA spy rings, Bryce Courtenay takes us on a thrilling journey with a great love story at its heart.
©2010 Bryce Courtenay; ©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I have read other Courtenay books, but in my view, this is one of his best. Perhaps that stems from the story being set in the 1960's Singapore when so much was happening in every corner of the world. Courtenay combines world history in a manner that is educational, engaging and well plotted. It was a wonderful listen.
This story is exceptionally well told by Humphrey Bower. Lots of good voices to represent the many characters and just the right pace. I enjoyed the entire plot as well as the family history that was revealing itself in the then present-day characters' lives.
If any fault is to be found, it is in the final minutes when finally the truths are revealed. I didn't want the story to end and it seemed too abrupt. However, when the pieces of the puzzle came together, they did so very fast, so perhaps it was in keeping with the plot.
If you like historical fiction and want to learn more about the coming of age of Singapore, China and other parts of the east, you will enjoy this one.
Buy it and read. There are no more left. It's by far NOT the best, but it's got Courtenay's mind for detail and knowledge of parts of Asia and his skill in building the plot. I'll miss him and Humphrey Bower, although the latter still lives.. I've now read everything by Courtenay (there was one I didn't as I didn't like the narrator, or I might have but given up).
I have worked in information Technology for 25 years and have run my own small business for 23 years. I love books!
Another wonderful book by Bryce Courtenay and what can I say about Humphrey Bower - the man is a master at bringing the characters to life. My husband and I lived in Singapore for 2 years and it was great that the story was set there. Thanks for another very enjoyable listen!!
This book was just too long. There are some interesting bits in it about the culture of Singapore at the time, and about Australia in the gold rush, but not enough to sustain the length of this book.
I also had some trouble with the romantic aspects of the plot, which did not do it for me.
The narrator was good, but could not bring this book above average for me.
My first Bryce Coutenay book and if it is anything to go by I want to read more. Great story and held me all the way through. Well read by Humphrey Bower.
I truly enjoy Courtney's story telling. Some of his books really hit the mark. Some falter. None fail. This one faltered. Humphrey Bower's narration is worth the price of admission.
I'd recommend anything he's ever penned because he never fails to capture my attention for every detail of the main characters life and life story.
Many of his other works are similar, but consistently great.
Bower is without a doubt the best reader that I've enjoyed. The second place goes to Jim Dale (Harry Potter) and that's a tough second place.
At the party when she appeared without Coo knowing that she'd be there.
Courtenay presents a unique examination of a Eurasian character. I love the happy endings that Courtenay provides in his story - the guy gets the girl. The narrator is very skilled and provides a delightful telling of the story. Enjoyable and absorbing. This story did take a little longer to get into than previous stories (an hour or two) but was well worth it.
I'm a landscape architect by profession and an avid listener of audio books ! I particularly love the historical based fiction series, like Courteney, McCammon, and Gabaldon,. I listen in the car, while designing in my studio and most evenings.
Exciting storyline, well read
You can pick up any of Courtney's book series, like Persimmon Tree or Potato factory and you will be enthralled. He is my favorite story teller taking me to Australia, China or Japan, with vivid characters.
Humphry reads all of Courtney's books, he has the perfect ability to produce the accents for each character...you won't believe how great he is!
Bought and read the second book in this series right away!
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
Great read for a book that somehow seemed to slip into historical space while being a story of fiction. Humphrey brought the book to life and the tale was fun but when life is stitched into fantasy it slows the tale down a little. Still, if you like Courtenay’s work I don’t think this will disappoint.
"Fascinating and well read"
As usual at the end of one of Courtenay's books I've finished learning something about a culture and history I had little knowledge of previously but I've been so engrossed in the story during the telling that I didn't realise it was happening at the time. The narrator's accent sometimes seemed a little off but that's understandable given the storyline. On the other hand it was very acceptable and the characterisation in the reading was superb!
Having the usual problem now remembering which ones I've read and which ones I've only read the synopsis of as I really want to make sure I read/hear them all!
Yes, as both have an abundance of book credits
I wish we got to it faster but at least it was a bit of action
Possibly, as it would be abridged
I have listened to 6 of Bryce's books so far but this one just was too long. The early part based in Australia was ok but the Singapore section is in slow motion and therefore I found it a frustrating listen. There was also repetition of comments where it felt as if Bryce had forgotten that he already used certain phrases.
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