Fire Horse

Denis M. Way, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (600p) ISBN 978-0-312-02916-6
The destiny of a man born during the Year of the Fire Horse is either ``to be blessed with exceptional wealth and acclaim, or to be cursed with ruination by his own hand,'' according to Chinese legend. This Hong Kong-based author's epic first novel tells the story of two such men, whose lives trace the decline of Shanghai and the development of Hong Kong as the most prosperous--and dangerous--commercial center in the Far East. One ``Fire Lord'' is John Huart, a British naval officer who comes to Shanghai in 1937 and rejoins the branch of his family that owns a once-thriving trading company. Huart is in charge when a patrol unit cripples another Fire Lord, Tu Chien, and kills his beloved concubine and eldest son. As a result, Tu Chin will stalk Huart over the next three decades, their struggle culminating in a battle for control of Cumberland China Ltd., the Huart family firm. A third claimant to Cumberland China exists, however, as well as a third Fire Lord, who plays a surprising and vital role in the novel's climax. Despite repetition of themes, and overuse of summary and foreshadowing, Way spins a compelling tale sure to find its audience. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Discover what to read next