Alex, 17, is in China, where his father, a cameraman for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has been assigned to cover Gorbachev's visit to Beijing. A military buff, Alex is dispassionate about war, finding battle strategies more involving than concern for lives lost. But in the spring of 1989, he is suddenly caught up in issues on which people stake their lives--the student demonstrations for democracy (and subsequent massacres) in Tian An Men Square. Separated from his father and injured, Alex experiences a harrowing journey to the airport in a city under martial law, where to question authority is to be executed. Bell writes vividly both of fictional and factual lives, weaving truth and storytelling into a convincing whole. A good adventure--and an even better dissection of some of the possible events behind the headlines.