Hong Kong

Stephen Coonts, Author St Martin's Press $25.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-312-25339-4
Last year, Coonts had Cuba teetering on the political edge in his megaseller of the same name. Now it's Hong Kong, in another steadfast speculative thriller. The great city/state is falling out of Communist hands, just a few short years after the Chinese takeover. The revolution is being fomented by the cyberintelligentsia, who have managed to rig computer systems throughout Hong Kong and China so that all vital functions--the power grid, airports, oil refineries, telephone systems, etc.--will collapse at the same time. At the helm of the insurrection is Virgil Cole, the American consul general who used his enormous wealth as a former Silicon Valley exec to finagle the overseas appointment; he views the revolution as a kind of extreme sport. He doesn't, however, anticipate the arrival of Jack Grafton, navy admiral and Washington's go-to guy, who starts prowling around a few days before the revolution begins. Just as Grafton is beginning to figure things out, a criminal gang leader working with the rebels kidnaps his wife. Anyone who's seen Grafton in action before knows that he isn't one to take such personal slights lightly. The final third of the book shows Hong Kong under spectacular siege as the rebels rely on sabotage, cunning and half a dozen fighting robots, called Sergeant Yorks, to subdue the Chinese soldiers. Coonts does a remarkable job of capturing the mood of clashing cultures in Hong Kong, creating some noteworthy secondary characters. These include Lin Pe, the aging owner of a fortune cookie factory who finds solace in writing simple fortunes while the world around her crumbles, and Sun Siu Ki, the Beijing-installed governor of Hong Kong, whose peasant mind simply cannot grasp rebellion. For all its stylish accents, however, the story goes from point A to point B with few detours or surprises. Most readers will likewise rush headlong through this seventh Grafton adventure. Major ad/promo. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-250-10214-0
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