THE KING OF SHANGHAI by Ian Hamilton

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The Triad Years

The book is a continuation of a series of novels by Hamilton featuring Ava Lee, a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant residing in Toronto. She had been working with her mentor and business partner Chow Tung who was affectionately been called “Uncle”.

Chow Tung passed away (as recounted in a previous book) and Ava subsequently entered into partnership with a friend and her sister-in-law Amanda, looking for business opportunities. The present novel finds her in China where she encounters a young man that coincidentally Uncle had also been mentoring.

Xu presents Ava and her partners with an exciting business proposition that they are bound to consider. Xu is the head of the Shanghai Triad, and coincidentally is running to become head of all the Triad societies. He indicates that if successful he intends to ask Ava to become his adviser and confidant.

Hamilton’s descriptions of places involved in Ava’s adventures are based on his visits to many of the Far Eastern locales described. The book, which does allude to happenings in prior novels featuring Ava, can be read on its own with no problem. Ava is completely fleshed out and is a very interesting person well equipped to handle the problems she faces. The novel is far from an all nighter but well worth the read for it’s placement in exotic locations that most of the readers might never visit. The treatment of Triads and their life styles is very reminiscent of novels about the personal lives of the Mafia, but blase rather than exciting in description.

9/16 Paul Lane

THE KING OF SHANGHAI by Ian Hamilton. Spiderline (September 13, 2016).  ISBN 978-1487001599. 336p.

 

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