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The Spy Lover

The Spy Lover [Kindle Edition]

Kiana Davenport
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.

Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting “yellow dogs” and slave auction-blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.

Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie—with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.

A novel of extraordinary scope that will stand as a defining work on the Chinese immigrant experience, The Spy Lover is a paean to the transcendence of love and the resilience of the human spirit.

About the Author

Kiana Davenport is the author of the best-selling novels House of Many Gods, Song of the Exile, and Shark Dialogues, and two story collections, House of Skin and Cannibal Nights. A Native Hawaiian, her novels and stories have won numerous awards and have been translated into twenty languages.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 911 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612183417
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (28 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZNA0UQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,905 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

KIANA DAVENPORT is descended from a full-blooded Native Hawaiian mother, and a Caucasian father from Talladega, Alabama. Her father, Braxton Bragg Davenport, was a sailor in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when he fell in love with her mother, Emma Kealoha Awaawa Kanoho Houghtailing. On her mother's side, Kiana traces her ancestry back to the first Polynesian settlers to the Hawaiian Islands who arrived almost two thousand years ago from Tahiti and the Tuamotu's. On her father's side, she traces her ancestry to John Davenport, the puritan clergyman who co-founded the American colony of New Haven, Connecticut in 1638.

Kiana is the author of the internationally best-selling novels, SHARK DIALOGUES, SONG OF THE EXILE, HOUSE OF MANY GODS, THE SPY LOVER, and most recently, THE SOUL AJAR, now available in paperback and on Kindle. She is also the author of the collections, HOUSE OF SKIN PRIZE-WINNING STORIES, CANNIBAL NIGHTS, PACIFIC STORIES Volume II, and OPIUM DREAMS, PACIFIC STORIES, VOLUME III. All three collections have been Kindle bestsellers. She has also been a guest blogger on Huffington Post.

A graduate of the University of Hawaii, Kiana has been a Bunting Fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University, and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Her short stories have won numerous O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, and the Best American Short Story Award, 2000. Her novels and short stories have been translated into twenty-one languages. She lives in Hawaii and New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine and moving historical novel. 2 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I initially overlooked this book as its title suggested some soppy romance; even after reading the book description, I wasn't sure it wouldn't be some crinoline rustler - but no, this is an excellent, moving and thoroughly well-researched novel.

The triple-stranded story tells of Johnny Tom, a Chinese man who eventually finds himself fighting in the Union Army against the Confederate South, hoping to gain citizenship and be re-united with his wife and daughter. Meanwhile his daughter, Era Tom, has become a nurse, using the neutrality of her position to spy for the Union. She did not, however, expect to fall in love with one of her Confederate patients...

Davenport presents a wonderfully sweeping account of her character's lives and experiences; Johnny's escape from the hardships of China only to encounter the brutal racial prejudices and cruelties of slavery in America; the glittering and horrific spectacles of the Civil War and the torturous psychological dilemmas Era faces in spying for one side but living and sharing the hardships of the other.
The author`s prose is at times lyrical and beautifully descriptive; her grasp of the historical setting impressive; she clearly and accurately relates the facts of the military engagements her characters are party and witness to; even relatively minor details in the grand order of these massive historical events - like the fate of the hundreds of thousands of wartime photographic plates; the South's clandestine poppy fields used for opium production, the care required for the overwhelming numbers of disabled after the war - all are factually-based elements woven into her narrative.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very unnatural imagery. 24 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After only a couple of chapters , I had already had enough. The author's attempts to describe dire scenes were so incredible that I could not help but find them humorous. It was as if Stephen Spielberg had written a sceenplay for Troma Studios: a festival of schmaltz and gore.

There is a Chinese family that comes from a village in a swamp area, in the valley of the might Yellow River, but there is no water. No-one in the village can make fire. I am not sure whether it is meant to be a parasitic worm or a woman's own intestines that are pulled out of a woman and shared among the villagers to eat. Whatever it is, it should not have eyes and a head the size of a man's thumb.

We are asked to believe that soldiers are deliberately risking their own lives by fermenting the bodies of dead prisoners, not to mention ignoring the putrid stench.

Valuable gasoline is squandered in an extravagant vile execution of a spy.

One of the oddest early descriptions is " ... buzzards in the distance swooning over corpses of horses and mules." Perhaps swooning means something quite different in America.

The prose style is semi-poetic, which makes it much more of an effort to digest. The writer further complicates by jolting between past and present, and North and South.

Identifying with the characters I found to be quite impossible.

The stories do at least make steady progress: I can say nothing more positive than that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In war it is the innocents who suffer the most 19 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kiana weaves a tale of war, of loss, of separation, of injury and like a beam of sunlight on a stormy day a tale of love that reaches across the divides of race and loyalty.
Long on the American civil war this story at times reads like a distillation of excessive research. The detail grounds this tale and breathes life into the central characters, at the cost of loosing the reader in the blood and gore of combat.
I understand a little better now how the American civil war divided and gave hope to many, only to be disillusioned.
The ending was I thought appropriate, a healing and a future after the horror of civil war.
A good book, worth reading, a worthy reminder of the horrors of civil war and the eternal nature of lover across the divide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good summer read 22 July 2013
By Amazon Customer TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have not read any of Ms Davenport's work before, but from what I have read this book, for me, it appears to have been well researched with lashings of action - added in there also is romance. The American Civil war is an area that I am not well versed in, but I was surprised by that South/Confederacy grew poppy fields. I knew that Chinese immigrants were used and abused while building railway lines in the 19th century in North America, and knew nothing about their involvement in the American Civil war. This book was very good and the characters were both well rounded and interesting, by the end of the book I was left me wanting to know more about Chinese immigrant experience in 19th and early 20th Century America as well more about the cultural and political dynamics of the Civil War.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the most beautiful prose I've read 28 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book. Ms Davenport has such a wonderful style of writing that is almost poetic in a Kiplingesque kind of way, and somehow that goes with the tragic scenes she describes. If you've ever read Kipling's Four Feathers then maybe you'll know what I mean. I learned some history too, especially the massacre of the Chinese after the civil war. Such brutal times, and so much tragedy for many years to come.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Christopher Richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and unusual story taking place during the ...
A very interesting and unusual story taking place during the American civil war.
Published 1 month ago by KENNETH CLARKE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A brilliant read, very thought provoking
Published 1 month ago by MR M J STIRLAND
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book that have ever read, for me a brilliant read.
Personally this is one of the best books that I have ever read, set in the American Civil War ,it is a bit gory in parts but gives an insight of the true conditions of what it must... Read more
Published 1 month ago by alan p.
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book so much I read it twice in case I missed something...
I loved the story, the "tell it as it was " attitude. I found it harrowing in parts, but the story intrigued me. I began to wonder if it was in part a true story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Molly
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I really didn't know much about the book or the subject but I found it absolutely fascinating. Plus the book reads like a thriller.
Published 2 months ago by Chris Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars War and a kind of pease
I would normally not read this type of book, but once I started I could not put it down, lovely story of love and tragedy, the horror of war and the joy of love, really smashing... Read more
Published 2 months ago by thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
never finished it found it a bit bloody and borinh
Published 2 months ago by angeline stokes
3.0 out of 5 stars This book tells it as it was in full gory detail with a story of two...
I have read stories about the Civil war in America and been to Gettysburg with a friend who wrote a children's book on the subject . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. C. Allen-bullock
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Almost every page was filled with horror. I can read most books but I left this before the end.
Published 2 months ago by Munda Robinson
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