TAIWAN by Christopher Wood


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Five losers in Taiwan band together to see if they can't become five big winners by way of an art heist. The five: Lee Fong Hu, a Triad outcast slated for a traitor's death; Donald Rymann, who has just nearly been sacked from his reporting job on The Times of China because he tried to expose government graft; Henry Burton, a meek bootlicker who sponsors events at the National Palace Museum; Henry Crosby who, at 52, has just been fired by his plastics factory; and Flower, among the most beautiful whores on Taiwan, whom both Rymann and Burton plan to run off with when their ship comes in. Their ship: some priceless artifacts in the museum, which the group plans to steal and sell to supermillionaire Igacius Bigg, who collects just such rarities. The robbery requires planning, footwork, knowledge of the exact location of each piece meant to be stolen; Burton sets up a food event in the museum, hides Rymann and Lee Fong Hu in tin boxes overnight; and when the museum closes, the two emerge and--thanks to wax impressions of the museum director's keys obtained by Flower--manage to pack everything perfectly away for their escape in the morning. . . when Lee Fong Hu turns on Rymann and blackjacks him with a jade piece. Chaos ensues, of course: missed connections, murder, a typhoon. But eventually Rymann re-joins the others (Lee Fong Hu is now dead); and after killing four Taiwanese deserter/rapists, they meet up at last with the loot and Mr. Bigg. . . though some last-minute complications arise. Like Wood's James Bond screenplays: garishly exciting, rarely credible, instantly forgettable.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Viking