The People's Republic

Paul Fusey Amor, Author Walker & Company $18.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1072-7
Pseudonymously written by an author who has published two books under his real name, this slow-moving thriller reads more like travelogue than espionage novel. A CIA agent, traveling by train in China in 1959 as a Canadian businessman, feels a slight romantic tingle for Xiyou, the selfless, graceful train conductor. As floods devastate the countryside and wash away bridges, the passengers are forced to abandon the train and all undergo an ordeal of famine and near-starvation. Xiyou is left among the dead and dying whenok? otherwise it sounds like his imprisonment is a result of leaving her, or is that what happened? (is she dead?) yes, when he is arrested , she is left. we never know if she is dead the narrator-hero is arrested for a nameless crime and unnec.? sentenceddid he commit a crime? to 20 years' hard labor in a prison where the commander, an amazingly benevolent half-Tibetan named Lobsang, allows him to make love to Tibetan dancing girls. Despite fine observations of landscape and behavior in the Chinese police state, the main characters verge on stereotypes and the narrator's secret mission as a courier of documents fails to generate suspense. Nevertheless, this timely novel is a corrective to the benign image of China which the American media embraced for so long. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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