At the end of the 22nd century, with the world ruled by capitalist Chinese, the repressed West seethes with revolution. . .Doubtful whether any book could live up to the blast of publicity about to be unleashed by the publishers. In any event, this 600+-page yarn is the opener of a projected seven-book series. With the world population in excess of 30 billion, vast, multitiered cities cover every continent. Each continent has a Chinese overlord, or T'ang The seven T'angs, through the Edict of Technological Control, permit little scientific progress. In Europe, a group of powerful Western industrialists and businessmen, led by Pietr Lehmann, has conceived a plan to force change by generating secret technological innovations. The ruthless Lehmann's plans include assassination; neither will he hesitate to sacrifice his closest friends if necessary. Thus begins ""The War of Two Directions,"" pitting the Chinese need for stability through strict control against the Western yearning for progress via change. Complex, well-orchestrated plotting, a brisk, crisp narrative, with characters that are at least identifiable if not very memorable--though just when you become accustomed to one set, another set springs out at you. Much less persuasive is the poorly developed backdrop, which prompts too many nagging questions (How did the Chinese come to absolute power? How are 30 billion fed? What of global ecology, global warming, pollution, atomic weapons?). None of it, alas, is particularly involving or absorbing. Your move.