In 1971, John Coombs, an embittered recluse with a cancer-stricken daughter, lives on an island off the coast of Hong Kong, where he is writing a doomsday book on the future of civilisation. But he is also a top cryptoanalyst, and when the British Government asks him to decipher a code which relates to an apparent Soviet plot to assassinate Mao Tse Tung, he reluctantly agrees. Sent to Moscow under cover of a mathematics congress, he obtains vital information from a dissident. However, as he becomes more involved, he himself becomes a target of the plotters, while back in Hong Kong his daughter's fragile health is beginning to fail.
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The Lin Piao incident, as it is known, occurred when Mao's chosen heir at the height of the Cultural Revolution, disappeared and was said to have died in a plane crash while fleeing to Russia. Very few reliable details have ever emerged and I began writing the novel to suggest a plausible context for Lin Piao's mysterious death. As usually happens, many sub-plots, themes and characters came to my mind and in the end the novel is as much about the embitttered John Coombs, a cryptoanalyst recruited to help the British Government, as it is about Lin Piao and his alleged plot against Mao.About the Author:
Author of a number of highly praised novels set in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Christopher New was born in England and educated at Oxford and Princeton Universities. Formerly Head of the Philosophy Department at Hong Kong University, he is also the author of The Philosophy of Literature and numerous philosophical articles. After many years in Hong Kong, he now divides his time between Europe and Asia
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Bookseller Inventory # GOR001630768
Book Description New English Library, 1980. Soft Cover. Book Condition: Good. Faint creasing to spine,Page edges tanned, foxing to front edges, and inside covers, eps. 214pp, publishers ads to rear of text. Remaindered cut to bottom edges.Very clean, bright,tight reading copy. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 001276
Book Description New English Library, London, 1980. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. 1st of This Edition. A firm, straight, clean book, remainder marks on top and lower edges. Scan available. Bookseller Inventory # 019722
Book Description New English Library Ltd, 1980. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # P020450046192