Jungle-skilled, silent, and lethal, he had killed for the Viet Cong and then for the Americans. He had watched helpless as his two eldest daughters were raped and killed by Thai pirates. Now, all that was behind him. Quiet, hard-working, and unassuming, he was building up his South London take-away business - until the day his wife and youngest daughter were murdered by an IRA bomb. Then he began to ask the authorities who were the men responsible, what was being done - and was turned away, fobbed off, treated as a nuisance. That was when the Chinaman, denied justice, decided on revenge...and went back to war.
©1992 Stephen Leather; (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd.
"The Chinaman is a gem of a thriller, perfectly constructed and full of the unexpected." (Library Journal)
Turning loose a trained Vietnamese assassin among a bunch of IRA bombers is an idea loaded with possibilities. It's a great little book, but the author falls into the trap of Orientalism in his characterization of the Viet Cong hero: he makes him into a single-minded cutthroat with the tracking skills of Natty Bumppo. He could have been a Joyce fan, or a horse racing bettor, or a baseball or lacrosse fan. But no. He does know how to make nitroglycerin out of antifreeze and fertilizer and set it off with a flash bulb. Not too deep. The Irish terrorists get full three dimensional portraits, on the other hand, including cottages, favorite drinks, Land Rovers and girl friends. Still, the plot moves right along and it's a fun read, with plenty of surprises -- all of them for the deliciously astonished white folks, and many of them fatal.
For a novel called the Chinaman, the book doesn't really focus on the Nguyen character enough. Instead it dragged a little too much with the IRA members relationships and inner conflicts. The Nguyen character could have had more depth and development.
The performance was good. His nailed his British Isles accents but his vietnamese accent at times sounded like a generic Asian accent and other times sounded Japanese. He also should learn how to pronounce the name Nguyen (sounds more like ngwen) and other vietnamese words such as "Hue" (pronounced hoo-ay not Hyoo).
Great characters, excellent plot line, great character development, moves quickly with no boring stretches. I felt like I was able to understand the motivations of each of the pricipals. The author is a very good writer and the narration is first rate. I am very glad I listened to this book, would encorage you to check this one out.
I really enjoyed this book by Mr. Leather. He wove the stories of the different characters together so that one remained sympathetic and horrified at the same time. Mr. Boulter is an outstanding narrator and his voice adaptations made each character vividly stand out. I will look for both author and narrator for future listening entertainment.
"New to Stephen Leather"
Well I first read the Solitary Man and now went back to this one and found it more gripping. I gave The Solitary Man 5 out of 5 before reading this one and actually found it better. wish audible would allow me to go back to rate this one as 5 and the previous as 4 but actually both deserve 5s! Heartbreaking in parts but stirring in others this book reinforces my thoughts to go through all the stephen leather books on audible.
"At last Stephen Leather on audio!"
I have read nearly every Stephen Leather book as they have been published and have constantly scoured the net for them on audio.
The Chinaman is in my opinion one of his best and the audio version certainly doesn't disappoint with Russell Boulters narration being a very pleasent surprise. He does it at just the right pace and carries off all the various accents extremely well.
Although a relatively easy listen this story contains enough twists and detail in the characters to keep the interest going.
I look forward to more of his books on audio soon.
"Very pleasant surprise"
I admit to not having heard of this author before, however the Chinaman came up on a recommended list. As I'd accrued a number of credits I thought "I'll give it a whirl" - and wow - am I glad I did. The story had me gripped from beginning to end and the narration was amongst the best I've heard. Am not going to search for some more by Stephen Leather - though you've set a high standard to follow!
A fast-paced, well plotted crime thriller. I have enjoyed many of Stephen Leather's books in print, and this was one of the first Audible downloads I bought. It was well worth it, holding my attention throughout and leaving me wanting more.
"One of his best yet!"
Stephen Leather has excelled himself with this story. Unusual characters, poignant thread running through the narrative. Detail of military procedures, and depth of knowledge that demonstrates patient research of unusual subject matter.
The character of the Chinaman is beautifully woven into the story, and he grows in stature and prominence that demands respect and admiration.
Engrossing twists and turns that evolve with pace to the logical, if unexpected, conclusion.
"Excellent exciting story. Better than spider"
I am a keen listener to Spider sheperd books. This topped it for sure. fantastic
"Leather cracks it again"
The Chinaman is a complex, quiet character with a history. The plot is brilliantly weaved together to tell a thrilling and dire story. I know now why it will be a hollywood movie with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan - it is a great story.
It's not up there with the best I've listened to but it's good none the less
Good easy to listen to
While not edge of the seat stuff it's a good story that will quite easily kill a few hours on a long drive
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