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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a cracker!
I consume books by the hundredweight, and consequently often can't be bothered to submit reviews, so the fact that I am doing so for this rightly suggests that it was either very bad or - obviously from the stars! - very good.

There are perhaps more media correspondents who think they can work their knowledge and skills into good fiction than actually can, but...
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok, not bad but not great
It was ok, the Chinese setting was interesting and the idea of a former operative washing up in the modern China is intriguing. Then it just kind of descends into mediocrity.The characters were pretty stock and unlikeable, the data stolen from the Chinese only really serves to provide a reason for them to give chase and things happen within the plot which are never...
Published 3 months ago by Mr. C. Moyle


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a cracker!, 8 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
I consume books by the hundredweight, and consequently often can't be bothered to submit reviews, so the fact that I am doing so for this rightly suggests that it was either very bad or - obviously from the stars! - very good.

There are perhaps more media correspondents who think they can work their knowledge and skills into good fiction than actually can, but Adam Brookes is a shining exception. I know little of China, but his picture of the country convinced from the first page, and I was inexorably drawn into the Le Carre-esque world of hidden motivation, secrecies and betrayals. In fact my only reservation about the book concerns one of the pivotal instances of the last of these. I won't say which one for fear of spoiling things, but the example I have in mind suddenly appeared from nowhere much, and without any established causation.

That was a pity, but I still give the full five stars because I was gripped throughout. I look forward to Brookes' next one with enthusiasm.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chinese Whispers, 9 May 2014
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
In some respects, Adam Brookes' Night Heron is a standard and even run-of-the-mill espionage thriller. The operation here runs along familiar lines, with stock characters and shady agencies. There are however a few points where Night Heron stands out from the crowd. One is that it's set in China, a place of major significance in the world today, and one whose actions and growing power is still largely unknown. Another point in its favour is that this is the debut novel from a former BBC correspondent in China, so it's written with an on-the-ground familiarity with the subject.

What is most interesting about this spy thriller however is the nature of the informant. Peanut/Li Huasheng, code-name Night Heron, has helped the British Intelligence before, but it was 20 years ago. In he meantime he's been locked away in a "labour reform faculty" in the Qinghau desert. On escape he attempts to reopen his links with British Intelligence through a journalist in Beijing, Philip Mangan, with the offer of access to top secret missile information in return for getting him out of China. What Peanut doesn't know however is that a lot has changed in China and the world in the last 20 years, namely computer systems, mobile phones and other communications technology and with it the whole new world of cyber-espionage.

It's not just that technology now provides access to vast amounts of important information for people with the right connections, but it has also improved security and counter-espionage, with mobile tracking devices, camera surveillance and advanced warning systems against hacking and unauthorised access. Peanut is in way above his head - which is a scary place to be here - but the kind of information he has access to is tantalising to the Intelligence agencies who are willing to use a British journalist. Despite the potential dangers, Mangan is persuaded to cooperate.

The espionage operation elements of Night Heron aren't particularly new, but the implications of the use of information technology, the ability to gain access to whole digital databases instead of mere paper files, and the nature of system security with the involvement of corporate interests is highly topical and relevant. Brookes actually deals with both aspects well, thrillingly and convincingly detailing the hierarchy, power-play and conflicting interests of the secret service while considering and clearly laying out - as if it wasn't already clear from the revelations of Edward Snowden - the vast implications of who has access to this information and how they intend to use it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Good, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
Every so often a debut espionage/thriller novel is published which stands out for its originality, authenticity, excitement.....or whatever. Thinking about the debut novels that stand out for me - The Day of the Jackal, Fatherland, Remembrance Day, Lie in the Dark, Los Alamos - they are usually written by journalists. Night Heron is a stunningly good debut. Written by a BBC correspondent, it offers a great insight into the espionage war against China. Exciting, authentic...and, above all else, interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 18 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Night Heron (Hardcover)
The spy genre is a pleasantly overcrowded market, giving plenty of choice to us readers brought up on a diet of Le Carre and Deighton etc. Often the new writers can be a bit disappointing, billed as the new masters of the genre but sadly falling some way short.
This however is a truly worthy addition to the shelves of spy fiction enthusiasts and readers of thrillers alike. The plot, set in modern day China is credible, superbly paced and thoroughly exciting. All the characters are pitch perfect and I was up until 2am reading this to a finish as it gripped me completely.
I loved it and I can't wait for his writers next book. More please.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, new and complex view of China, 20 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Night Heron (Hardcover)
I thought this book was great from the first page, where the main character 'Peanut' is introduced escaping from a labour camp.

Characterization throughout the book is excellent, with a brilliantly drawn protaganist sucked into the world of intelligence.

I was particularly interested by the view of modern China - with elements of the old communist state apparatus sitting uncomfortably alongside a thriving capitalist sector, and the impact the private sector is having on intelligence. And I liked the way some characters were committed to the mission, while others were cynically using it to achieve their own ends. It feels very realistic about the motives of the characters. Indeed, the workings of the intelligence community seemed completely believable. In this attention to detal it's very like le Carre.

The pacing too is excellent - like le Carre in the way the drama is slowly built up. Thrilling but not a thriller - I found it completely gripping, even when it's relating the least 'dramatic' procedures of the intelligence community.

I'd say that anyone who loves le Carre, especially the whole Smiley series, would be completely absorbed by this.

Excelllent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every minute it, 3 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Night Heron (Hardcover)
Just finished reading this debut thriller.
I enjoyed every minute it.
Modern day China with a glimpse of what our security services will be in the future.
Both as frightening as each other but beautifully painted in this book.
Adam Brookes should just keep writing. He clearly knows what he is doing.
This is a book you won't forget!
I certainly won't........
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok, not bad but not great, 13 Jan. 2015
By 
Mr. C. Moyle - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
It was ok, the Chinese setting was interesting and the idea of a former operative washing up in the modern China is intriguing. Then it just kind of descends into mediocrity.The characters were pretty stock and unlikeable, the data stolen from the Chinese only really serves to provide a reason for them to give chase and things happen within the plot which are never explained (likely saved for the sequel). The main problem I had with this book was the terrible pacing, the first two thirds not much happens as the author spends far too much time establishing what China is like to live in. The final third was a bit more action packed, but it never really explodes and just fizzles out at the end of the book. This book wasn't bad, it's just not great either.
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4.0 out of 5 stars riveting, 16 April 2015
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This review is from: Night Heron (Paperback)
Riveting, set primarily in China. I thought that the main Chinese character was very interesting, although perhaps his extreme toughness was a little hard to believe. As I suppose you might expect in such a novel, there were some confusing parts to it, not least that the majority of characters appeared to have some ulterior motives. Having said that though, maybe the true skill of these novels is to ensure that at the end, nothing is still confusing? The links to USA and Taiwan were definitely not clear. I found the sections on cyber security less interesting than the general feeling of trying to live in China acting against the will of the state. Enjoyed reading this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great debut by the author, 14 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Night Heron (Kindle Edition)
A great debut by the author. The book comes across as authentic with a great sense of place, hardly surprising given that the author is a former foreign correspondent working in China. It moves along nicely, not an action packed thriller, but more in tune with what happens in real life. All in all a good start to Brookes's writing career and I will look out for the follow up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 25 Aug. 2014
By 
nigel (Kidderminster, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Night Heron (Hardcover)
This is a review of the audiobook. This is superbly written, holds the attention throughout the whole book and is completely believable. It is very difficult to believe that this is his first book! I can't wait for the 2nd. The audiobook is brilliantly read and I couldn't recommend it strongly enough. If you like Charles Cummings - you will love this!
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Night Heron
Night Heron by Adam Brookes (Hardcover - 22 May 2014)
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