4 out of 4 stars
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What would China, Philippines and Australia have in common? Well, a syndicate involving smuggling of opium from Yangtze river delta in China, and its shipment to Philippines, Australia and ultimately, the U.S.A. The People's Republic of China is not stable yet - there is a power struggle between the government and the communists. Because of this, on the ground cartels, smugglers, crime families are having the time of their lives. All mannerisms of illegal activities are taking place. When a British MI6 agent is shot in an operation in Yangtze, the fantastic duo Jack O' Brien and Jamie Munro are called upon to help neutralize the opium smuggling opertion. Greg Kater takes one through a series of action adventures, in an intriguing plot penned down in the book Conflict on the Yangtze . The setting is during post World War II.
The book opens with a couple of maps that gives the reader a clear picture of the setting of the novel. Narrated from the third person's point of view, the author uses humour, vivid descriptions and a sprinkle of romance. Dialogues are in plenty and they serve to propel the plot. A diverse ensemble of characters lends credence to the story, making it believable, especially some characters' mispronunciation. The characters created, hail from Britain, Philippines, Japan, Australia and China.
What I loved about the book was that it was not an everyday post-war book. The writer uses a simple language and injects many light moments in the plot. Leisurely, the plot rolls out, making the book an easy read. Although there were action scenes, they were woven effortlessly in the relaxed plot. The pace of the story was just right. It is for these reasons I give a perfect score of 4 out of 4 stars.
Corruption was a theme that stood out strongly in the novel. The main people that made the opium smuggling operation smooth, were high ranking officials in the law enforcement agencies. This filth still echoes in contemporary governments around the world. My biggest takeaway from the book was the value of teamwork. Jamie and Jacko were always a team, looking out for each other and having each other's backs - totally admirable. My favourite parts of the story, were when Sara, an Aborigine saved the day, mostly because of her bushcraft. In one of the conversations, she was referred to as a "guardian angel".
Reading the book made me appreciate just how far the republic of China has come. From being in ruins because of World War II, to the opium menace, and now to being the largest economy in the world, just goes to show how every nation can be successful with the right systems in place. China is a superpower of these modern times.
The book was well thought out and well written. It had zero mistakes and zero vulgarities. The book was professionally edited and its literal quality is top notch. I recommend the book to lovers of historical fiction and to those who enjoy action adventures. There is no aspect of the book I disliked.
Conflict on the Yangtze
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