In a first translation ever, Lee (pseudonym of Hong Kong writer Li Pik-Wah)—a widely read, prolific author of novels and film scripts—offers a high-colored meld of Wonder Woman postures and the poignancy of forlorn romantic suffering. Here is the exotic fictional tale of a famous spy in the pre-Communist Japanese- Chinese conflicts. When Princess Yoshiko Kawashima (her later celebrity name) is seven, her father, Prince Su—head of a Manchu family who would rule over a Manchurian state should it be restored—sends the child to a Japanese foster father. She is groomed to work for the Japanese, who will, supposedly, restore Manchuria. But, at adolescence, terrible adventures befall Yoshiko: She's raped by her foster father, sent here and there, married, and later betrayed by the men she loves. She finds her way, however, by becoming a spy for the Japanese spymaster Uno. He even makes her a commander: ``Commander Chin Pi-hui of the Pacification Army of Manchukuo.'' Dressed in a military uniform with braid and sword, Yoshiko experiences ``the most glorious day of her life.'' Meanwhile, toughened and soured by disappointment in love, Commander Chin chooses and discards lovers, is apt, on impulse, to pepper rooms with bullets. But what thanks will Yoshiko get from the Japanese? She helps them found their Manchukuo (Manchuria) by spreading propaganda, bribing, ``putting the squeeze on politicians, spying, and bringing the populace to heel.'' In the end, she is almost assassinated, betrayed, marched to the wall and shot—or is she? In spite of the bolts of melodrama, Yoshiko's plight as a victim of power-crazy men is intensified to full misty effect at the close. And Commander Chin is a sensation. An exotic item well worth a fascinated glance.
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