Duncan takes a break from above-average thrillers (In the Enemy Camp, Brimstone) to string an East-West saga of diplomatic...

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CHINA DAWN

Duncan takes a break from above-average thrillers (In the Enemy Camp, Brimstone) to string an East-West saga of diplomatic careers, manly friendships, and (of course) romance across the cultural divide from Shanghai of the 30's to Paris of the 80's. Yuki Nakamura is the beautiful daughter of Japanese peasants who sell her to a rich man when starvation threatens. But Yuki clonks a minor gangster on the head rather than submit to his revolting advances, and flees to Shanghai to avoid being murdered. There, she becomes the assistant to the idealistic Sam Cummings, just out of Harvard and making a name for himself at the consulate. Pretty Yuki and married Cummings have an intense and innocent affair; when Yuki discovers she's pregnant, she runs away to prevent Cummings from destroying his career. She becomes the lover of Colonel Ito, a rising-star Japanese diplomat who, in his commitment to peace, is Cummings' spiritual sibling. By 1938, any semblance of political stability is eroding--both the Chinese and the Japanese troops are brutal and disorganized; both Cummings and Ito are given relatively humiliating transfers. During WW II, Cummings is taken prisoner by the Japanese, Ito, now a top general, eases his old friend's captivity. After the war, Cummings testifies in favor of Ito at the Tokyo war-crimes trials; and, meanwhile, the ever-resourceful Yuki and Dawn (her daughter by Cummings) have started a flourishing dressmaking business. In a fast-forward to 1981, Dawn's debut at the Paris couture collections is marred by sabotage: Is Ito's embittered son to blame? And will Cummings and Yuki meet again? In all: jazzy but honorable characters; seamless action; memorable Shanghai. Predictable, but tight and smart.

Pub Date: March 4, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988