Most helpful positive review
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Gripping entertainment from beginning to end!
on 7 December 2000
I couldn't imagine how there could possibly be a sequel to 'The Firemaker' - but then that's why it's Peter May writing the books and not me. But the stunning opening, from the perspective of a man about to be beheaded knocked away any doubts I might have had, instantly. May took care of all the loose ends from the first book cleverly, and we were swiftly off on a completely new case with detective Li Yan and pathologist Margaret Campbell. The sparks continue to fly in their complicated relationship - making them surely one of the best detection teams around. And the setting of China - this time we went from Beijing to Xian - provides a fantastic backdrop. May's descriptions just take you right there... particularly to some of the meals! Check out the section in the Muslim quarter of Xian, where some ox livers crawling with flies on the back of a trailer are brought vividly to life. May manages to bring China's past to life, too. From the ancient times through the archaeologist's story of the Terracotta Warriors to the more recent past and some of the incredible events during the cultural revolution. The best thing is, he manages to drop all this in naturally, as part of the story and you find yourself understanding China better as a result. But above all, the story's the thing. May's plots are ingenious, and his characters are fabulous - simply gripping entertainment from beginning to end.