Cover image for By dawn's early light
By dawn's early light
Shelby, Philip.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Physical Description:
407 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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Philip Shelby's latest novel of political intrigue is a Roman candle of interlocking conspiracies, Faustian bargains, and shadowy alliances among unlikely parties. A high-wire act of collusion and double-cross, By Dawn's Early Light confirms Shelby's mastery of his genre.

Author Notes

Philip Shelby is a novelist of political thrillers. He attended McGill University where he specialized in international security and foreign relations under Zbignew Brzezinski. After completing his studies at McGill, Shelby did graduate work at the Sorbonne and the University of London.

Shelby's novels include Last Rights, Gatekeeper, and Days of Drum. In each, a young woman working for a government or police agency finds herself involved in danger, intrigue, and double dealing.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

All plot, little characterization in the latest fast-paced political thriller by Shelby, author of Days of Dreams (1995), Last Rights (1997), and Gatekeeper (1998) and coauthor, with Robert Ludlum, of the best-selling Cassandra Compact (2001). Lovers of unadulterated adventure in which the action careens from scene to scene and scheme to scheme probably won't be put off by the paper-thin characterization, centering on the heroine, Sloane Ryder, a New York financial analyst, beautiful, brilliant, and tough as nails, who is hired by the feds to catch spies. Nor will they be put off by the writing style--sometimes sententious, sometimes romance-novel schmaltzy. What will draw readers is the intricacy of the web that entangles Sloane in the sensitive political maneuverings between the U.S. and China at a crucial juncture in the relations between those two powers. Shelby is also strong on contemporary industrial and computer espionage techniques and technologies, giving the plot added frissons of suspense. Never a dull moment, just dull characters. --Connie Fletcher

Publisher's Weekly Review

With each new book, Shelby (who co-wrote The Cassandra Compact with Robert Ludlum) nicks away at one of fiction's last male bastions the foreign intrigue thriller using women as lead characters in the cloaked world of espionage. In this nail-biter about a Chinese plot to kill the U.S. president and retake Taiwan, Wall Street portfolio manager Sloane Ryder finds herself out of a job after she stumbles onto the conspiracy while investigating the dealings of a shady co-worker. Ryder is not unemployed for long: she's hired by a secret government division that has sniffed out the plan to assassinate President Claudia Ballantine. Ryder and her new colleagues soon discover that the conspiracy involves several high-ranking Chinese and U.S. government officials who intend to kill the president in a gruesome, highly creative way. The intent is to create chaos in Washington, D.C., so China has time to storm across the Sea of Taiwan and claim the island for the People's Republic. Somewhat less convincing is the character of Ryder, who remains a hard sell as someone who can trade her Wall Street power suit for a spy's trench coat. Picking up the slack, however, are two of Shelby's former heroines professional operatives Hollis Fremont and Holland Tylo as well as the Handyman, the elusive contract killer from Gatekeeper. With some creative flair, Shelby employs all the standard fiction tools of the espionage trade the rogue militants, the conspiracies within conspiracies, the untouchable behind-the-scenes villains, the flat-footed heroes and all to satisfying effect. Agent, Henry Morrison. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved