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December 6by Martin Cruz Smith
Synopses & Reviews
From Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and Havana Bay, comes another audacious novel of exotic locales, intimate intrigues and the mysteries of the human heart: December 6.
Set in the crazed, nationalistic Tokyo of late 1941, December 6 explores the coming world war through the other end of history's prism — a prism held here by an unforgettable rouge and lover, Harry Niles.
In many ways, Niles is as American as apple pie: raised by ultra-protective missionary parents, taught to honor and respect his elders and be an upright Christian citizen. But Niles is also Japanese: reared in the aesthetics of Shinto and educated in the dance halls and back room poker gatherings of Tokyo's shady underworld. As a gaijin, a foreigner — especially one with a gift for the artful scam — he draws suspicion and disfavor from Japanese police. This potent mixture of stiff tradition and intrigue — not to mention his brazen love affair with a Japanese mistress who would rather kill Harry than lose him — fills Harry's final days in Tokyo with suspense and fear. Who is he really working for? Is he a spy? For America? For the Emperor?
Now, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Harry himself must decide where his true allegiances lie. Suspenseful, exciting, and replete with detailed research Martin Cruz Smith brings to all his novels, December 6 is a triumph of imagination, history, and storytelling melded into a magnificent whole.
"[A] superb thriller and a remarkable evocation of a place. Smith cleverly plays with his readers' shared knowledge of historical events, breaking down common assumptions and providing texture instead of stereotypes. Best of all, he tells a moving, believable love story in which individual lives are invested with great dignity, even in the face of national ideals." Bill Ott, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Smith demonstrates a superb sense of milieu....At the end of the day, though, it is the relentlessly intense narrative of espionage and deceit that is memorable....With December 6, Smith takes an event well-known to all of us and creates a compelling back story to fit the details." Bruce Tierney, BookPage
"Readers will love not only Harry but also his opponents, pillow partners, and allies. The pace is like a bullet train, the characters are limned far beyond the usual stereotype, and the locale is as evocative as the cherry blossom itself." Library Journal
"As thriller and character study, December 6 falls short of Smith's best efforts. Harry is an intriguing rogue, but he never comes alive as intensely as, say, Arkady Renko....That said, the author's abilities to nail a locale remain fully intact. Tokyo then must have been (as it is today) fizzy and buzzing and strange and wonderful, and Smith does a beautiful job of capturing that life force." Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
"Smith stands as a rarity among contemporary American novelists, an author of popular fiction who has serious ambitions....December 6 is quintessential Smith....It is passionate yet ironic, a 'samurai drama' on the one hand and a cool Bogie movie on the other....December 6 is brought off with intelligence, brio and high style." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"[A] brainy and adventurous tale....Cruz's extraordinary story-telling talent, along with a mastery of color, period and the sights, sounds, manners and passions of prewar Japan, allows Harry's run to hold us in a state of disbelief that is not just suspended but often bound and gagged. He uses urgency like a mind-bending drug; he stampedes us." Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review
From the New York Times bestselling author of Gorky Park and Havana Bay comes another gripping novel of loyalty, betrayal, and intrigue on the eve of the greatest military conflict in the history of mankind....
Amid the imperialist fervor of late 1941 Tokyo, Harry Niles is a man with a mission — self-preservation. But Niles was raised by missionary parents and educated in the shadows of Tokyo's underworld — making his loyalties as dubious as his business dealings.
Now, on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Niles must decide where his true allegiances lie, as he tries to juggle his Japanese mistress and an adulterous affair with the wife of a British diplomat; avoid a modern-day samurai who is honor-bound to kill him; and survive the machinations of the Japanese high command, whose plans for conquest may just dictate his survival.
Set in a maelstrom of personal temptations and mortal enemies, with a remarkable anti-hero caught in a land he can never call his own, DECEMBER 6 is a triumph of imagination, history, and riveting storytelling.
About the Author
Martin Cruz Smith burst onto the literary landscape with his critically acclaimed Gorky Park, which went on to become an international bestseller. His other novels include Polar Star, Red Square, and the Hammett Award-winners Havana Bay and Rose. He lives in California with his family.
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