on 12 November 2003
This is third in the series written by Lisa See about David Stark, International Attorney and Liu Hulan, Inspector for the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing. The Flower Net, her first was so good and so unusual I have kept my eye out for the follow ups. Why unusual? Well not many thrillers are set in contemporary China and include a mix of eastern and western culture.
By book three, Stark and Hulan have married. The most captivating part of the plot is the discovery of what they have personally suffered over the last few years; and the question remains over them - can this pair get over it? The thriller part of the plot involves the building of the Three Gorges Dam, the theft and export of priceless artifacts from archaeological sites and the unwanted presence of a cult, the All-Patriotic Society.
See's books are so different because she brings you both the western and eastern eye of understanding of culture and the process of an investigation. Things are done differently in China, not least by Hulan herself.
Unlike with many thrillers and crime novels these days, I was definitely kept guessing until the full facts were disclosed. Her writing did not have quite the pace of The Flower Net, which lost the final star on such a good read. Expect more than one death, some gory moments and real gut wrenching emotion when you read it. And if you haven't read Lisa See before, I suggest you start with The Flower Net, follow it with The Interior and then read Dragon Bones. Stark and Hulan have an incredible life to journey through with See.
on 1 January 2009
I first read Lisa See when I bought a copy of Snowflower and the Secret Fan; I considered it to be possibly the best book I had ever read. I was somewhat taken aback by Dragon Bones as it is ompletely different in every respect - time, location, style, pace, content. But, I was just as enthralled by the story-telling. Quite simply, this is one of those books you just don't want to end. It is a modern crime thriller set in the Three Gorges Dam project in China with some scenes in Hong Kong. It can be pretty brutal at times but is never less than fascinating. The central characters are well drawn and believable and the plot keeps you on your toes, never being predictable. In particular, Liu Hulan, the female inspector of The Ministry of Public Security in Beijing is a strong literary creation. This novel would make a good film and I have already cast Faye Wong in the role of the Inspector. Lisa See is a masterful (mistressful?) story teller. The book is very well written in good English - I mention this because Ms See is American/Chinese. I suspect that we may have a talented editor at Random House to thank for the good use of language.
To sum up; this is a compelling, complex, pacy thriller which never disappoints. Buy this book!