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272 Reviews
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly orginal, gripping and entertaining!
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...
Published on 21 Mar. 2000

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as gripping as I'd hoped
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...
Published on 18 May 2012 by Marie


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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly orginal, gripping and entertaining!, 21 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Firemaker (Paperback)
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First book in a promising series from Peter May, 24 Dec. 2012
By 
C. Keller "Samantha" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
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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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, enthralling, thought-provoking!, 11 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Firemaker (Paperback)
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Firemaker 1, 22 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 1 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
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 A Cracking Read, 13 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (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
By 
Catherine E. Kay (West Lothian, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read that pulled me along, 12 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Firemaker (Paperback)
Im dyslexic, so please dont criticise my spelling and grammar and go with the view .. After all, Im reading to try and improve.

I hadnt read any of Peter May's books before, so Im not going to compare it to any. However, you pick up as the heroine arrives in China, and by the end you can tell in what was only a few days, so much has happened how so much life has changed the people you met in the book. Its a little like a NCIS/CSI/Criminal Minds type story, and having never been to China, but seen various documentary type things of it, especially cooking programs, it did come through the book as I imagined it might be.

Some of the chinese words in the book were difficult, and I did find occasionally I was reading a sentance such as "he ..." and thinking, I thought it was a she! some of the names are similar, most of the chinese words are explained, maybe we forget them as we read on, but, most are used, then explained, although I probably should have jotted some of them down to remind me.

Its not a long book and the story isnt rushed but isnt slow, it was a good read and I intend to work my way through the rest of the series after my next read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 6 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
Having read the Lewis trilogy first and thoroughly enjoying Peter Mays writing, I have gone back to The Firemaker, the first of the China Thrillers. I was a bit bemused when I started reading as the Scottish stories were fantastic and being Scottish I could identify with so much of the places and the people. I have very little knowledge of China yet after reading the Firemaker feel like I know an awful lot more! His writing is simply fantastic and very cleverly thought out and executed. I can't wait to start the next book but had to share my joy at such a wonderful book by my now favourite author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 April 2013
By 
CeeCeeBee - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Firemaker: Yan & Campbell 1 (The China Thrillers) (Kindle Edition)
This novel is a gripping and exciting read. Great story, interesting characters and a well-thought out plot - relevant to our world and the dangers it faces. Also enjoyed the love story - a clash of cultures and personalities, pride and prejudice! Well written, really brought the places, smells and sights alive. Highly recommended. Looking forward to the next in the series.
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