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Night Heron Hardcover – 22 May 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (22 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751552488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751552485
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

The best British spy novel debut in years (Jake Kerridge The Telegraph)

An intriguing, skilful and taut novel...elegantly plotted and with a piercing eye for detail (Daily Mail)

Debut of the month is Adam Brookes's accomplished Night Heron (The Sunday Times)

The BBC's former China correspondent joins the ranks of John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth with a laser-sharp Beijing spy thriller . . . Brookes arrives a full formed talent, with a complete mastery of the genre (Daily Express)

Night Heron reeks with verisimilitude in its settings and atmosphere, and is accompanied by a cleverly plotted action-filled story of Anglo-Chinese espionage (The Times)

Superior espionage (The Sun)

A page turner that takes the reader from China's far west to the streets of the fascinating Chinese capital, pulsing with power and danger (New York Times)

An outstanding first novel (Washington Post)

The pace is frenetic and Brookes does a wonderful job with both the high-tech world of cyber intelligence and survival on Beijing's gritty, smog-smothered streets. Highly recommended. (The Bookseller)

Brookes, a correspondent for BBC News in Washington, D.C., who was formerly based in China, takes readers deep inside the culture and daily routines of that country in his outstanding fiction debut . . . Good chase scenes and tense dialogue, coupled with a convincing picture of what actually happens in the corridors of power, make Brookes a thriller writer to watch. (Publishers Weekly)

Brookes, a one-time China correspondent for the BBC, knows this turf exceedingly well and translates that knowledge into a novel that is as strikingly different as it is thrilling . . . One of the best and most compulsively readable spy-fiction debuts in years. (Kirkus)

Night Heron is a fascinating portrait of the dangerous complexities of spying in a restricted country, the competing agendas driving international intelligence, and China's startlingly varied social realities. A must-read for fans of espionage and smart global fiction in general. (Booklist)

Engrossing and compelling (LA Review of Books)

Fans of the international espionage genre will inhale this fast tale in a few suspenseful breaths. Brookes uses multiple narrators-the spy, the engineer, the journalist, the agent, the boss-whose conflicting alliances tell the real story. (Library Journal)

This exciting thriller opens a rare window on the real China of today (Irish Independent)

Spine-tingling (APN Network)

The best spy novel so far this year . . . signals the start of what should be a very promising career in fictional spying. Combining the intrigue and complexity of the classic spy novel with contemporary themes and skilfully realised Chinese locations this is certainly an espionage novel for the 21st Century. (Sydney Morning Herald)

It's got all of the freshness of firsthand sense of place - Brookes helps us to feel and smell and taste . . . And it's got a convincing narrative drive that comes from a veteran newsman's long career in creating stories that make sense and matter. (NPR)

Fast-paced, intelligent, stimulating and action-packed (Lincoln Star Journal)

Book Description

A prisoner on the run, with secrets the world would kill for... Read the award-nominated, utterly authentic and terrifyingly tense first book in Adam Brookes' groundbreaking thriller trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good. The operation, its development and its outcomes were well handled. I liked the perspective on China and its military/industrial complex and the implications for the West. As for Peanut - a very interesting character, well drawn and quite the original.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't waste your money on this totally boring novel ! The author's style and complete lack of depth of his characters leaves me angry because I have wasted my money due to the comments on the front cover by Peter James and by the Daily Express saying that Mr. Brookes "joins the ranks of John le Carre". What a stupid and a juvenile recommendation to make. Mr. le Carre has honed his art on decades of writing novels, many of which have been international best sellers and made into movies. To compare Mr. Brookes with Mr. le Carre is a disgustingly bad insult to Mr. le Carre and deserves an apology from The Daily Express...!!

I gave up after page 60, I was just unable to get into the story and found the successful escape at the beginning to be completely unbelievable. Even the part where the escapee washes windows and toilets of a shop in order to use their bathroom is completely silly and unbelievable. If Mr. Brookes was as talented an author as he obviously is on his knowledge of China and the Chinese language that he is so enthusiastically writing on
almost every page he would be more successful....in my view

Peter James says on the cover "a thriller packed with tension"... there is more tension in a slack piece of string. (On principle Mr. James I shall await
for your next novel to be published in paperback...no more purchasing of your hardbacks for me...I'll wait !)

Finally, I am unable to comprehend why this debut novel has received so many 5 stars, together with comments such as "great tension, a tingler, a great debut, excellent spy story..etc etc...I am left with feelings that those comments are all from friends and relatives of Mr. Brookes!
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Format: Paperback
Highly recommended - bought two, presents again after reading myself.
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By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 May 2014
Format: 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.
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