With "Jian," his fourth novel set in Asia, Eric Van Lustbader firmly establishes himself as an author of authentic and engrossing Oriental intrigue second to none.
"Jian" is a Mandarin word with several meanings, among them "supreme creator" and "grand champion of wei qi ," an intricate board game of strategy also known as go , which is played with smooth stones. Thus the novel is structured as a gigantic international game of wei qi , with the players being Chinese Communists, the Soviet KGB, and a special U.S. intelligence agency known as "The Quarry." The author moves with equal ease in all three disciplines including the lethal, interdepartmental power struggles within them. The prize of this deadly game is the financial control of the Crown colony of Hong Kong, gateway to China.
When you visit Hong Kong today, you become aware of deep anxieties about its uncertain future. This grim mood is mirrored ambly in "Jian," a sprawling story of intrigue, gore and steamy sexual encounters, as we follow a maverick Quarry agent, Jake Maroc, caught up in the whirlwind schemings of a game set in motion decades earlier by a great "jian." That does not become clear until the last stone has been placed on the literary wei qi board.