When a Chinese journalist writes a blog post exposing political corruption, the government sends police to stop him, in Green’s debut thriller.
The Chinese government’s Great Firewall employs thousands of Internet police to search the web for political dissent—and eradicate all traces of it. Journalist Chen Bo uncovers a corrupt scheme in which a greedy village chief took money from companies in exchange for land, and then never paid homeowners the money they were owed. Chen writes a blog post, but wonders how long it will remain online before the police discover it. Meanwhile, another journalist goes missing, and in the United States, politicians start to realize that Beijing is “using its market access leverage over American companies” to help build the Great Firewall and force those companies to “move their research and development facilities to China, to transfer more technology to their Chinese business partners, to help build the world’s superpower.” The novel is full of well-developed, compelling characters, including tenacious, noble Chen; American Internet exec Evan Svenson, in China to work for an Internet company, who winds up working on the side of police; and Evan’s seductive girlfriend, Mei Lin, who isn’t quite what she seems. Green keeps the action fast-paced but consistently thoughtful; for example, several characters consider the consequences of Internet censorship. The author clearly has done his research on China and the communications industry, and he writes about these subjects in clear, elegant prose. Green tells an engaging story set in a dangerous world for people who simply want to tell the truth and make their stories heard.
A compulsively readable thriller about political dissent and the Internet.