The Heir

Henry Luk, Author
Henry Luk, Author Forge $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-87192-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 230 pages - 978-0-8125-7633-7
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-4589-3
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In this brisk sequel to China Bride, former Olympian athlete Beth Connor enters Hong Kong's high-stakes world of big business. When her husband, Michael Chang, becomes the heir to the Chang family dynasty after his elder brother dies of AIDS, pregnant Beth encounters a new challenge: the working-class Boston girl must adapt to Chinese culture and the pressures and demands of her new status as billionaire celebrity. It turns out that she's a natural, brushing off with aplomb Chinese Communists, triad hit men and minor disturbances such as the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule. She has a little more trouble with Peter Lau, a dangerously attractive and powerful Chinese ""princeling,"" who has intruded into her life for obscure motives. The murder of Bo Yutang, the man who abducted Beth in the previous book, and who is asking $5 million for compromising photographs of her, taken when she was flogged by his thugs, casts suspicion on Michael, who was heard uttering death threats against Bo Yutang. While spinning out the plot, Luk also develops Beth's character as it's affected by her situation as a foreigner, showing how Beth forces her new family (traditional patriarch, manipulative mother-in-law and jealous younger siblings) to meet her on her own terms, while she herself becomes more ""Chinesed."" Meanwhile, he induces guilty pleasure as the reader ogles the lives of the rich and famous, including descriptions of opulent clubs, priceless jade statues, Mercedes sedans, Gurkha bodyguards and frequent martinisDnot to mention Beth's legs, regularly displayed in miniskirts. Despite such opulence, the proseDespecially the dialogueDis lackluster. However, there's much entertainment to be found in Beth's exotic, glittering world. (Dec.)
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