FORBIDDEN CITY by Anthony Esler


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Boxer Rebellion time in Old Peking, with Elizabeth from Philadelphia in the thick. Leading one potent gang of Chinese patriots is a huge bandit, Feng, who with a soothsaying idiot boy rouses the countryside to drive out, burn out, and otherwise remove foreigners and their artifacts. Elizabeth's father, a missionary, is one victim, so it's work in the Protestant Mission, until Elizabeth is invited to aid Dr. Chen, who ministers brilliantly to the poor Chinese and foreign brass. Chen briefly becomes Elizabeth's lover and acts heroically in saving the foreigners from Feng, his boyhood friend. (The ways of occidental authors with the oriental mind are indeed inscrutable.) There are scenes of atrocities, horror, and general drear before the diplomatic, military, and missionary outposts are relieved, and Elizabeth returns to Philly and medical school. There is, however, a certain understanding with an American sergeant. As for Chen--well, things can't go on too far, after all, in a cheerfully busy popular entertainment of this sort.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1977
Publisher: Morrow