First appearance in English for both this 1991 SF yarn and its French-Canadian author. Planet New China has two suns, one of which, the Dragon’s Eye, pours out harmful ultraviolet radiation, so when it’s in the sky everyone must thoroughly protect their eyes and skin. Early in the 24th century, the joint mission of agent Rojean Tanner of the European Bureau of External Affairs and Japanese agent Jay Hamakawa is to locate the New Chinese deputy premier Chen Shaoxing—a Bureau mole—and debrief him on the growing threat the New Chinese independence movement poses to debt repayments and European control of trade. Strangely, however, Chen has vanished, and when Tanner (disguised as a Chinese) and Jay attempt to leave the European enclave, Jay is arrested as a spy. Helped by young, beautiful Qingling, Tanner extracts Jay from jail, and after a long, arduous journey, the two finally catch up with Chen. Chen, though, says he’s had a change of heart and prefers discussing poetry, though he won—t betray the independence movement. Still, the pair forces him to return with them—until their journey is interrupted by devastating storms. Jay is crushed by a toppling bus. When Chen dies of a heart attack, Tanner cryogenically preserves his head, though a war of independence breaks out before Tanner, Qingling, and the head can reach the European enclave. Finally, injured and exhausted, they arrive only hours before the last ship departs. With chaos everywhere, the Bureau’s weasely new chief refuses to take Qingling, and orders Tanner drugged and thrown aboard the ship. Good characters, a convincing backdrop, and truly marvelous atmosphere: an enjoyable, dark-edged romp provoking thoughtful responses.