Cover image for Ceremony of innocence
Ceremony of innocence
Hawksley, Humphrey.
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Publication Information:
London : Headline, 1998.
Physical Description:
310 pages ; 24 cm

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For Hong Kong policeman Laurie McKillop, his role has become largely symbolic since the handover, with the Chinese secret police the new authority in the former colony. But when he is contacted by an old CIA acquaintance with a very strange story to tell of a secret Chinese-American weapons project that has suddenly become red-hot, he is about to find himself back in the front line. And when his American friend is ruthlessly hunted down by the secret police, he begins to realize that the Chinese are not the only ones who need him dead.

Author Notes

Humphrey Hawksley has been a BBC correspondent specialising in Asia for more than ten years, and has recently been reporting from troublespots such as Kosovo and Iraq. In the Eighties he was in India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka - from where he was expelled while covering the Tamil war. From 1990 he was based in Hong Kong as a regional correspondent and in 1994 moved to Beijing to open the BBC's first television bureau in China. He is the co-author of Dragonstrike: the Millennium War, an analysis of a future Asian conflict described by Chris Patten as 'a cracking read...realistic and gipping', and is the author of one previous acclaimed thriller, Ceremony of Innocence.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Packed with authentic detail, though at times overly theatrical in its rhetoric, this cautionary debut thriller is by the BBC's China correspondent, an expert on Asian affairs (Dragonstrike: The Millennium War). The hero is Scottish-born Mike McKillop, once a respected Hong Kong cop and now a bureaucratic figurehead police superintendent, who is wallowing in alcoholic self-pity. He has been living alone since his Chinese-born wife took their two children and disappeared into the Chinese mainland; at work, his boss is evil Li Tuo, who, 13 years ago, murdered McKillop's best friend. In Beijing for an international conference on corruption, McKillop receives a call from Clem Watkins, a CIA pal he hasn't seen since the night his friend was slain. Watkins warns him that there is something amiss at Heshui, a secret missile base near the Korean border. McKillop meets with Watkins; immediately afterward, the agent is nearly leveled by a burst of gunfire. Soon after, Scott Carter, a young CIA operative, is murdered in Hong Kong while making routine contact with a Korean agent. Promised a reunion with his wife, McKillop's defenses drop and he lets himself be convinced that Ling Chen, Carter's Yale-educated Chinese lover, is the killer. But when he discovers beyond a doubt that Ling has been set up, he finds himself rescuing her and fleeing for his life. At times the plot is slowed by needless rambling and introduction of gratuitous characters, but the gradual unveiling of a diabolical secret complex at Heshui keeps suspense levels high. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved