cover image The Sultan of Sarawak: An Ava Lee Novel; the Triad Years

The Sultan of Sarawak: An Ava Lee Novel; the Triad Years

Ian Hamilton. Spiderline, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4870-1015-7

When a fire destroys a lumber warehouse belonging to Ava Lee’s company in Kuching, in Sarawak, Malaysia, in Hamilton’s exciting 14th novel featuring the forensic accountant turned businesswoman (after 2020’s The Diamond Queen of Singapore), Ava’s initial concern is for the warehouse’s manager, Jamilah Daeng, who was badly injured. Her worries increase once she learns the fire was caused by a bombing. She smells something rotten when the police attribute the attack to a radical environmental group opposed to logging on rainforest land belonging to indigenous Malaysians. No one had heard of the group before, and Ava’s company didn’t buy timber from the rainforest in question. The problem worsens after Jamilah is accused of the attack. Ava’s pursuit of the truth places her at odds with the Chong family, who run Sarawak and whose patriarch is a powerful politician, and she must take bold measures to get justice for Jamilah. Hamilton makes the intricate plot and his larger-than-life characters plausible. Fans of Lisbeth Salander will admire Ava. (Jan.)