When he suspects murder and a coverup by the Chinese government, Inspector Shan Tao Yun must tread carefully for his own safety.
Why has officious governor Col. Tan summoned the veteran detective (Skeleton God, 2017, etc.) to Tibet’s Lhadrung County? Why has he forced Shan to watch in amazement as Tibetan prisoner Metok Rentzig is executed? And why has he obliged Shan to accept the newly invented position of “Special Inspector for the County Governor’s Office” and then abruptly abandoned him, leaving him the assignment of fixing this “land of…broken people”? Left on his own, Shan soon realizes that the executed man was not a criminal at all but a witness to the mysterious death of American graduate student Natalie Pike and Chinese archaeologist professor Gangfen in a car crash. This intelligence, along with a series of suspicious industrial “accidents” at the local hydro project known as The Five Claws, prompts Shan to investigate further despite qualms about his own safety. He learns that Rentzig had followed up on the car crash, sending photographs to officials in hope of provoking an investigation. Natalie’s father claims she was apolitical, but Shan realizes that the archaeologist was involved in preventing the Chinese government from destroying a Tibetan holy site that was unfortunately in the same place as Five Claws. The closer Shan gets to exposing the truth, the more dangerous Tibet becomes for him.
Pattison’s tenth and final Inspector Shan novel is a pitch-perfect series ending, leaving readers with a satisfying last look at the scrupulously ethical investigator as well as further insight into a recent era of Asian history little known in the West.