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Publisher's Summary

With the redolent atmosphere of Ian Rankin and the spine-chilling characters of Thomas Harris, Mo Hayder's The Devil of Nanking, takes the reader on an electrifying literary ride from the palatial apartments of yakuza kingpins to deep inside the secret history of one of the twentieth century's most brutal events: the Nanking Massacre.

A young Englishwoman obsessed with an indecipherable past, Grey comes to Tokyo seeking a lost piece of film footage of the notorious 1937 Nanking Massacre, footage some say never existed. Only one man can help Grey. A survivor of the massacre, he is now a visiting professor at a university in Tokyo. But he will have nothing to do with her. So Grey accepts a job in an upmarket nightspot, where a certain gangster may be the key to gaining the professor's trust. An old man in a wheelchair surrounded by a terrifying entourage, the gangster is rumored to rely on a mysterious elixir for his continued health.

Taut, gritty, sexy, and harrowing, The Devil of Nanking is an incomparable literary thriller set in one of the world's most fascinating cities-Tokyo-from an internationally best-selling author.

©2005 Mo Hayder; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

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  • Overall

The Best of Britain's Mystery Writers

Though this book does not continue the story begun in Birdman and Treatment (that title will be out in early 2006), Hayder's book about a socially disabled and obsessed woman in Japan has her trademark clarity and beautiful ability to bring character and setting to life. Since Hayder was once a hostess in a Japanese club, she certainly knows what she's writing about, and this book is a mystery within a mystery that will keep you wondering what is really going on.
Like Birdman and Treatment, Hayder is able to mesh multiple storylines into one coherent narrative that will keep you from turning off your audible.
Try her out, Hayder is definatly one of Britain's best mystery writers.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Highland Park, IL, USA
  • 05-22-06

Girl, Interrupted Meets Tojo

I enjoyed this rather strange tale of a young English girl who, when she was even younger, read an account of the Japanese invasion of China, and of the Rape of Nanking in particular. A particularly horrible event stays with her and the people around her think she's daft (and they're not far off the mark). She goes to Japan to search for a film of this horrible event and resolve the inner conflict that was created when she read the account of the incident in Nanking. I don't want to give away the ending, but it is shocking -- even to someone whose jaded modern sensibilities are immune to all manner of illegitimi carborundum. The story is interesting, but I found it hard to get over questions about the protagonist's (i.e., the young lady's) motivation in this story. Her behavior verges toward self-destruction on more than one occasion, and I didn't think she had enough reason to do so. The event was terrible, but it's hard to believe that she built her life around it. I had the impression that the author was trying to create a parallel between the girl and some notion of the Japanese national character. If so, I'm not sure it worked.

The narration (by two narrators) is very good. The male narrator does an excellent version of a Chinese man who speaks English with an accent, but it's extraordinarily authentic.

Overall, though, a good story and it does move along at a good pace, but the details are definitely not for the faint of heart.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kathleen
  • Lafayette, CA, United States
  • 01-31-07

Completely Original Thrilling Story

This book is astonishing. Almost a perfect plot. The skill of Mo Hayder as an author shines in this book, you live and breathe the air and hear the sounds and experience fright. I was fascinated well after the book ended. The narrators were remarkable. You will not be disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wow, just wow!!

If you could sum up The Devil of Nanking in three words, what would they be?

Evocative, unique, dark.

What did you like best about this story?

Wow. It feels like I was right there all along. The characters felt so deep and complex, the places felt so real, emotions really struck a nerve. The atmosphere was creepy, always superbly orchestrated, and every time I thought it couldn't possibly get more suspenseful, it did.

Have you listened to any of Josephine Bailey and Simon Vance ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

S. Vance's name sounds familiar, but J. Bailey was new to me. Nevertheless they were freaking amazing!! I mean, I am stunned!!! And believe me, I really dislike women's voices, be it in real life, music, or audiobooks, but Ms. Bailey was damn perfect, and I might just look for other audiobooks she reads. Characters came out to life much more then if I were to just read the book. Top notch work for both of them with the accentuation, foreign accents, speed of read and pauses. Goes to show not anyone can just read a book.

If you could rename The Devil of Nanking, what would you call it?

I actually find this title to be perfect. I much prefer it to the original "Tokyo" under which it was published in Europe.

Any additional comments?

I rarely find books this addicting, this riveting, creepy and beautiful and sad and with well- developed characters. I stayed up till 7am just to finish this book. Give it a shot, you won't regret it. As for me, I'm definitely off to check out other work by Mo Hayder. How did she slip by me until now?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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If you could sum up The Devil of Nanking in three words, what would they be?

I was not sure this book was enough like her other books, but after hearing it and the performance is wonderful this book was recommended to at least 10 of my reading friends.
no disappointment here.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Linda
  • ITHACA, NY, United States
  • 07-28-11

The Devil Of Nanking

Great novel. Explores the cultures of Japan and China, before, during and after World War 2. Brilliantly plotted, the last reveal made me gasp. Intelligent and emotionally strong, If you like thrillers, you won't be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
  • 09-08-05

The Need for More...

I love a good fiction, especially one that makes me want to learn a foreign language just so I can obtain more knowledge about the events mentioned in this book. I have always been fascinated with this era of time, mostly devoting my macabe curiosity to the Nazi cruelty that occured. My father always told me the Nazis were children of devastation compared to the truly barbaric IJA (Imperial Japanese Army). I had no idea! After listening to this book, I did my research of the massacre that occured in Nanking. It was the most horrifying thing I have seen and read. My girlfriend, who is Chinese, knows a little about the occurance, but was not impressed with the cruelty. She went on stating that this type of brutality has been happening for centuries. I disagreed. This was the 20th century, not the 1300's! The age of industrialism and civilization, not the age of cavemen. The acts commited by the IJA were unspeakable and unforgettable. There still has been no acknowledgement or apology for this from Japan.
I am currently listening to a "how to" book learning basic Mandarin Chinese. I would like to visit Nanking and the surrounding areas. Considering all the talk about China becoming a superpower impresses me greatly. We can learn something from them. Thousands of years of religion, peace and war, education, etc.
The Devil of Nanking had an excellent plot with intense characters. I finished the 13 hour audio in 1 day! I recommend it to anyone whom loves a good mystery filled with suspense, tragedy and love.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Neither engaging nor informative

This book tries to be both a mystery and a commentary on a barbarous wartime atrocity and, to me, it succeeds on neither score. (If you're interested in the latter, I highly recommend Iris Chang's "Rape of Nanking" instead.) The primary female character is an interesting person, but in a clinical, curious way, never evoking any real empathy for her or her quest. The back story involving the primary male character simply dragged.

As for the narrators, I appreciated their dramatic readings but was appalled at their total mispronunciations of Chinese, which detracted from their credibility and authenticity. Surely the producers could have provided an hour of coaching! One basic example -- "chi" (or perhaps it was spelled "qi," which isn't clear in an audiobook, of course) should be pronounced "chee" but the female reader pronounced it "key." When I think of how a native-speaking reader can transform an audiobook with the nuance, rhythm and intonation of even sparsely scattered foreign words -- just think of "Life of Pi" or "Kite Runner" -- I was sad to think of how rich this audiobook experience COULD have been.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good story...

Good story and characters but, not gripping enough. There are parts that go on that just don't seem necessary or very important to the story.

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Geez, So Disappointing...

I am a huge fan of Mo Hayder and, although I really like the perspective this story is told from, I was left feeling kinda ripped.
Of the two main characters, the Chinese professor was interesting and had a lot of depth. I could empathize with his story.
The young woman in the story had potential that was never realized, and she, along with the rest of the characters, made me just want to yell, "Get to the point already!" They simply bored me.
This one isn't going on my recommend list.