John Polly enters Shanghai in 1948 on a muggy, velvet evening, just in time for the Communist takeover of China. It marks only his fourth month in America's newly formed Central Intelligence Agency. Over the next two decades, Polly will become The White Mandarin, a double agent buried so deep within the inner circle of the People's Republic as to shape the futures of both that nation and his own.
Dan Sherman's intricate, superbly crafted spy thriller follows Polly as he walks a dangerous tightrope of intrigue and suspense. As China rebuilds itself, Polly attempts to start a family in the intersection between the American intelligence system and the Asian drug trade. Can Polly keep his wife and daughter safe? Can he keep track of the shifting stories and changing allegiances in the CIA? Will his emotion get in the way of his mission?
Only pages into this stunning novel, listeners will easily understand why Sherman has earned comparison to the great John le Carré and Graham Greene. It is both a story of very personal love and loss and an insightful history of China between the rise of Chairman Mao and the 1972 visit by President Nixon. Anyone looking to understand the China of yesterday and today - its power, its flaws, its beauty - need look no further than The White Mandarin.
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A view into the secret world of espionage
- Jan R Olsen
1940-70's Sino-American relations