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For Richard Field, a young Englishman new to the international police force, Shanghai represents a brave new world away from the past he is trying to escape. But his naivete is quickly dashed when he is called to the scene of a brutal crime, in which a young Russian woman, Lena Orlov, has been found sadistically murdered in her bed. Field’s idealistic instincts push him to investigate the case, but his attempts are met with apathy—then menace—from his colleagues. He beings to recognize that some cases in Shanghai are intended to remain unsolved, and, in a matter of days, he glimpses the murky depths that lurk beneath a luminous city.Field’s drive to find the murderer leads him to Lena’s neighbor, Natasha Medvedev. A stunning beauty who fled her charmed life in tsarist Russia, Natasha escaped the Revolution but landed, like many of her counterparts, in a treacherous life in Shanghai. Natasha travels in an elite circle—one that orbits, Field knows, around the city’s most feared drug lord, Lu Huang.…[more]
Cairo, June 1942: A city blistering under the lash of a relentless summer, and panicked by the implacable advance of Hitler’s most talented general, Erwin Rommel. It is the worst possible time and place for the body of a senior British officer to be found in a rubbish bin, bathed in blood.
His murder has been made to look like a political assassination by local extremists opposed to British rule, but former New York cop, Joe Quinn, isn’t buying that. He senses more fundamental human emotions at play. For Quinn, it’s like old times, a reminder of his past. Thrown out of the New York police as a liability after the death of his son, he probably shouldn’t be a cop any longer, but maybe he’s just what this case needs. The investigation leads him through the underbelly of a violent and seedy city to the heart of the Cairo high command, and the possibility that a highly placed spy is feeding sensitive secrets to Rommel,…[more]
St. Petersburg, 1917—the glittering capital of the Tsarist empire and a city on the brink of revolution– where the jackals of the secret police maneuver for their own survival and their aristocratic masters indulge in one final moment of hedonism.
For Sandro Ruzsky, chief investigator of the St. Petersburg police department, this decaying world provides the opportunity for a new beginning. Recently returned from a three-year banishment to Siberia (for pursuing a case his superiors would have like buried), Ruzsky is welcomed back to the city of his birth by a gruesome discovery: the bodies of a young couple found on the ice of the frozen river Neva just outside the Tsar’s Winter Palace.
The dead woman was a nanny at the palace, the man, an American from Chicago. The brutality of their deaths seems an allegory for the times, and the investigation leads Ruzsky, at every turn, dangerously close to the royal family. He is also drawn back…[more]