3 out of 4 stars
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Yangtze river is world’s third-largest and the largest river in Asia. It’s full of activity with cruise ships, ferries and transport surges crisscrossing the river. This strategic, commercial waterway is central to China and produces a considerable percentage of China’s GDP. It’s also been used for irrigation since time immemorial.
Conflict on the Yangtze is set in 1946, after world war. Opium conspiracy is brewing in China. Opium poppy is planted along Yangtze river banks near Tongling. From this plant, milky, viscous opiates are extracted, treated and packaged. Subsequently, they are shipped through the Yangtze river to a small village called Llorente in Samar Islands, Philippines. Once there, the opium is hidden in tight bundles of Copra (dried coconut). Consequently, the copra’s putrid smell camouflages the opium smell to avoid detection at the Customs. Finally, this shipment is smuggled overseas.
Daniel Stafford, an M16 operative, is shot in Tongling during a crackdown of the opium conspiracy with Lee Drake. Therefore, Johnny Cook, a senior M16 operative, seeks the help of Jamie and Jacko, his Australian friends from Darwin. They travel to China on a dangerous mission to neutralize the opium operation. Considerably, top Chinese families and some foreigners are involved in organized crime which is crippling the country. The situation of China’s economy is pathetic due to corruption and uncontainable inflation.
This is Greg Kater’s fourth novel. More skills of the amazing, Australian Warramunga are displayed. In this story, Jacko becomes the dog-tamer while Sarah becomes the heroina of Llorente. It’s drama-packed and bedecked with great sense of humor. The language is professional. The author provides vivid, geographical descriptions leaving the reader with a sensation of being present in post-war china. I love the colorful, cover page. It depicts the seventy-seven-foot-long ‘Jin Shayu’ which was used by the team to navigate Yangtze during the operation.
I most like Greg Kater’s advanced development of characters. My favorite character is Seiki, the goodhearted, Japanese policeman, who passionately hated the Kempeitai gang. Seiki’s interesting, contagious accent in dialogues would momentarily affect my subsequent reading. After going through his dialogues, I would find myself reading further with his accent before I realized I was done with his dialogues. I was intrigued by Jamie’s zeal to produce animal sounds like Sarah and Jacko. I almost rolled on the floor when he tried to hoot but ended up sounding like an eagle being strangled. I least liked the understated beginning of the story. However, the story picked up in the middle of the first chapter.
This book is suitable for all who love action-packed, historical fiction. I also recommend it to readers who love books with excellent plots, this one is a winner. It neither contains profanities, nor does it have erotic content. I came across few errors.
I will not rate Conflict on the Yangtze 4 stars because of the few errors. I will not rate it 2 stars due to its character development and vivid description. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
Conflict on the Yangtze
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