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The Firemaker: 1 (The China Thrillers)

The Firemaker: 1 (The China Thrillers) [Kindle Edition]

Peter May
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £3.79 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


'Intense and fascinating' -- Good Book Guide

‘Stunningly original, highly topical and extremely well written novel.' -- Scotland on Sunday

Product Description

A burned corpse is a disturbing mystery for Beijing Detective Li Yan, until he enlists forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell. Having abandoned a broken life in Chicago for her work, she's as determined as Li to ask difficult questions about the man's death. But some questions have answers that they'd rather not hear; facts that others are desperate to conceal.

The Firemaker is the first in the acclaimed China Thriller series from Peter May, author of The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man and The Chessmen.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 964 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (14 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089XJX9E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,653 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth" New York Times

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

- the award-winning Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland;
- the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell;
- the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France;
and Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK) the latest of several standalone books.

He has also had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland's most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy - The Blackhouse - was published in France as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux where it was hailed as "a masterpiece" by the French national newspaper L'Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world's largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly orginal, gripping and entertaining! 21 Mar 2000
By A Customer
It's a long time since I read a thriller where I really CARED about the characters and what was happening to them, but everything in The Firemaker is so vivid and convincing that I was completely gripped by it from the first page. The characters in this book are truly three-dimensional and their dialogue is bursting with humour, wit, anger, and passion. I immediately found myself believing in these people and getting caught up in their lives and their relationships. Consequently, as the plot moved forward and I began to realise that they had become involved in something very big and potentially lethal, the build-up of tension towards the conclusion was almost unbearable. This was heightened by the awareness - if you read the acknowledgments - that the science in this story isn't fiction, but fact, and that the scenario described is absolutely possible. So it's a plot which is frightening - not just because of the consequences for the characters in the book, but because of what could potentially happen in reality to all of us. Somebody out there HAS to make a movie of The Firemaker! But until that happens it's certainly no hardship to make do with the book. Peter May's outstanding descriptions of Beijing life leave you with the sensation that you've actually been there, on the streets, mixing with the locals. He has the ability to colour in the background, immersing you in the sights, sounds and smells of Beijing without holding up the plot with unnecessary details.
The Firemaker works on every level. The exotic Beijing setting; the intricate procedural work of the Beijing detective, Li Yan and the American pathologist, Margaret Campbell and their complex relationship; and a plot which twists and turns towards a terrifying denouement. Above all - it's a thoroughly entertaining read, with lots of humour as well as drama, and even a love story thrown in for good measure!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, enthralling, thought-provoking! 11 Aug 1999
By A Customer
My wife had said, "You've got to read this book, it's brilliant!" but since I had gotten out of the habit of reading I didn't hold out much hope of getting round to it. I picked it up at 4.30 one afternoon and 9 hours later at 1.30 the following morning I finished it. I quite literally could not put it down! The story - not only a "Whodunit?" but also a "Why'dtheydoit?" pulls you in and will not let you go. The setting described so colourfully and in such detail that you could feel the heat and dust, smell the outdoor restaurants, and practically find your own way round Beijing. The characters drawn so skilfully and sympathetically that you NEED to discover what happens to them. The theme so scary, it may put you off eating certain food items forever. Wonderfully written, great twists in the story, exotic locations - someone has to make this into a movie! There must have been an extraordinary amount of detailed research in a wide range of subjects to create such a plausible plot.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First book in a promising series from Peter May 24 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I decided to read this series of China thrillers after completing the excellent Lewis trilogy.

As always Peter May gives an fascinating insight into a little known culture. His descriptive narrative is excellent and we get a vivid portrait of life in modern China.

The plot is interesting and complex. The main characters Li and Margaret are well drawn and likeable, although I found the romantic web of misunderstanding a little tedious.

Aside from the above it in an excellent and unusual read for any lover of crime thrillers and I will be reading the rest of the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 1 Mar 2013
By Eskay
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A well crafted story with an unusual setting in the darker corners of the newly emerging China. Believable characters and something of an emotional roller coaster this book kept me turning pages. There are similarities with the Lewis trilogy and the evocation of place and weather are effective.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Firemaker 1 22 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read his Lewis trilogy and loved it. I was not disappointed when I bought The Firemaker. It was riveting and informative with superb descriptions of life in China. I have since purchased the second book in the series and enjoyed that as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read 13 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read the Lewis Trilogy and loved it I went straight into the China series. I thought the story was so well put together, keeping you in suspence the whole way through. I also learnt so much about China, its history and culture. Great read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire Maker, Peter May 9 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having recently 'found' this author I read this book whilst waiting for the third in his Lewis trilogy. I was not disappointed. It points out the machinations between political and big business projects that are hidden behind closed doors. An exciting novel with many facets. Wi8ll I ever eat rice again?
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as gripping as I'd hoped 18 May 2012
By Marie
This book was recommended to me by my Mum when I was looking for something light to read on a long plane journey. It's a murder mystery set in Beijing & follows the story of a Chinese policeman & a visiting American pathologist as they try to solve the crime. Writing as a big fan of a good murder mystery, this one didn't really hook me into the plot as much as others in the genre. The story focuses mostly on the developing relationship between the two main characters & on the social & political history of China than on the mystery itself. I found myself having read about three quarters of the way through and feeling like no progress at all had been made in finding out whodunnit. This meant that in the last section of the book the protagonist relies a bit on sudden hunches, flashes of inspiration & a handy but out-of-the-blue confession to tie the loose ends together.

My Mum enjoyed this one for its commentary on life in China so if that's something you're interested in give it a go. If, however, you are expecting a gripping and meticulously plotted crime novel, there are better than this out there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good inventive thriller
A page turner with interesting protagonists and a real feel of a foreign urban landscape. Made me wNt to visit Beijing and simultaneously campaign against GM foods.
Published 8 days ago by Cath Catt
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hit from Peter May
Love, the Enzo series of novels , then you will be sure to love this series also. I have yet to be disappointed by any book written by the author. Read more
Published 17 days ago by David Conway
3.0 out of 5 stars An earlier, less convincing Peter May
Having come to this - like seemingly many other readers - after the author's Lewis Trilogy (The Lewis Trilogy: The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man and The Chessmen), I was somewhat... Read more
Published 20 days ago by AK
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story
Published 29 days ago by Glencraig
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A little slow at times, lingering rather than pushing on.
Published 1 month ago by Martin Lake
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by mary hornsby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic read, has you gripped from the start & keeps you guessing who it might be. Worth the read!
Published 1 month ago by Deryn M. Husker
5.0 out of 5 stars China dissected
I love the writing of Peter May and the intriguing tales that he weaves. I was hooked on the Hebridean trilogy and now he has hooked me with his fabulous stories of China today. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Commander
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned such a lot from this book
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful... I have a confession to make and if there was such a thing as a PMA Group I would stand up and say, "I am Annik and I am a Peter May... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Annik Lamotte
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes a must read.
I read all the books in this series - a excellent read. They had me gripped at the beginning. Good true facts of the areas and people too. Read more
Published 1 month ago by denise taylor
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