An American intelligence officer investigates the sordid death of the President's new drug czar, learning, in the process, how enduring are the mysteries of the Orient and how rickety the democratic structures of the West--in a thriller from the Canadian author of Hard Target, Maxwell's Train, etc. Defense Department spy Philip Dane quickly concludes that he has landed in very sticky stuff when he reluctantly accepts an assignment to identify the men who caught America's top drug cop in flagrante and stoned to the gills, and who then tortured and murdered him. The assassins marked their victim with the Chinese characters for Black Dragon. Dane learns that Black Dragon is the name of a spectacularly successful international crime syndicate headed by elderly, blue-eyed James Chang of London and Hawaii. But Mr. Chang and his gang seem to be victims themselves. Persons unknown are planning to lay waste Mr. Chang's assemblage of criminal bigwigs, a meeting he has organized to bring sense to the chaotic drug market. Dane's investigation takes him to the West Coast and an encounter with a very attractive Chinese American who may or may not be a totally honest agent of the FBI. As he rolls back stones, Dane learns all about the Changs and often finds that the bugs scuttling from the light are inscrutable Occidentals. Smooth, literate, and thoroughly cynical. Well done.