Cover image for China run : a novel
China run : a novel
Ball, David W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

Physical Description:
384 pages : map ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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When the Chinese government, citing "clerical error," demands that six American families waiting for the adoption papers they need to take their promised babies back to America surrender their precious charges, Allison Turk refuses. With her young stepson, three other adults and three infants, she defies the powerful forces arrayed against them--including her own husband--to flee halfway across China and make a run for the American consulate in Shanghai.

Author Notes

David Ball lives in Golden, Colorado with his wife and two children.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hapless heroine steals baby, flees across country, and unwittingly leaves death and destruction in her wake--this is the basic premise of Ball's new novel. Allison Turk and her surly stepson, Tyler, arrive in China to adopt an infant girl. Four days after Allison has been given the baby, Wen Li, Chinese officials tell her that there has been a clerical error and she must give the child back. Refusing to part with the child, Allison absconds with Wen Li and heads for the American embassy, which is located halfway across the country. Unable to speak Chinese and knowing nothing about the country, she is "luckily" able to find a willing stranger at every turn to extricate her from tricky situations. It is difficult to feel sympathetic to Allison's cause as her unfortunate allies usually end up imprisoned, tortured, or killed. The Chinese bureaucrats are presented as such trite stereotypes that one expects an appearance by Fu Manchu at any moment. Ball's fans, used to excitement in his novels, may be let down by this yawn fest, but the author's track record ensures some demand. --Michael Gannon

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ball (Empires of Sand) explores the dark side of Americans adopting Chinese babies in his compulsively readable thriller. When Allison Turk, who has traveled to Jiangsu province with her stepson, Tyler, to adopt the infant Wen Li, is told that she has been given the wrong baby, she decides to make a run for it rather than give up her beautiful daughter. Single mother Ruth Pollard along with Claire Cameron and Claire's husband, Nash, also choose to flee with their babies. Hoping to reach an American consulate, they become increasingly tangled in the Chinese heartland, as they trek across the country pursued by the forces of a bureaucratic government. The case attracts international attention, and Ruth's cousin, an American senator, begins to questions China's most favored nation status. A score of unforgettable characters provide portraits of both bravery and treachery: the selfless guide, Yu Ling, and her peasant family; the military men, led by implacable Colonel Quan and his subordinate Ma Lin, who finally ignores direct commands; and greedy peasants, petty thieves and murderers. Much of the novel's strength derives from the author's remarkable evocation of Chinese language and Chinese landscape, whether it's in mud and monsoon or a beautiful monastery with beatific monks. Before the last breathless page, readers will encounter panic, killings, a ship collision and a devastating revelation of the truth behind the government's action. Though the subject matter is delicate, this sweeping odyssey of action and sentiment set in exotic and gritty locales cries out for filming. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ball follows up his hit debut, Empires of Sand (1999), with an intricate tale of kidnapping and black-market adoptions in China. Unable to conceive, Allison Turke and her husband, Marshall, have finally made the decision to adopt. After several disappointments, they have received a photograph of their baby daughter and are preparing to make the trip to China. A few days before they are to leave, Marshall becomes ill and is unable to travel. Allison decides to take along her nine-year-old stepson, Tyler, hoping that they can use the time to improve their relationship. Once in China, they are kept virtual prisoners in their hotel, as Allison and other parents wait with their babies for final adoption papers. Informed by the orphanage that a mistake has been made and that their babies must be exchanged, Allison and two other women decide to run. Joined by their Chinese interpreter, they travel across the country with the police on their trail. This gripping, tightly woven suspense novel is for all public libraries. Nanci Milone Hill, Lucius Beebe Memorial Lib., Wakefield, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.