Published 1 January 2015 by Sphere/Little, Brown Book Group
A Chinese spy. A British journalist. A nation hunting them. Discover the thriller debut inspired by a real event.
Tell them, the Night Heron is hunting . . .
A lone man escapes a labour camp in the dead of night, fleeing across the winter desert of north-west China.
Two decades earlier, he was a spy for the British. Now he finds Beijing transformed and crawling with danger – the fugitive must quickly disappear on its surveillance-blanketed streets or face death.
Desperate and ruthless, he reaches out to his one-time MI6 paymasters via journalist Philip Mangan, offering secrets in return for his life.
Mangan is dragged into a deeper and deeper whirlpool of lies, as the secrets prove more valuable than either of them could ever have known… and not only to the British.
I love spy thrillers. It comes from being introduced to James Bond at a young age, by my Dad. Night Heron is the first book in a trilogy by Adam Brookes, featuring journalist Philip Mangan.
Set in China, Brookes paints a colourful and vibrant country, underpinned by suspicion and mass surveillance. The author spent time as a journalist there, so the writing just shines with realism. Brookes knows his stuff.
We meet Peanut, a Chinese man who has been incarcerated in a labour camp for twenty years. He uses the code name ‘Night Heron’, when contacting British Intelligence. He sees Philip Mangan and uses him to contact his old conspirators. Peanut wants out of China, to live with a new identity, in exchange for secret papers. The story follows Peanut and Mangan, as they navigate modern day China and the complicated games played by both the British and the Chinese.
The story gives much to reflect on. We are all pretty familiar now, with the kind of surveillance that takes place everywhere. We walk around with mobile phones, that monitor our every move and CCTV cameras on the corner of our streets. The likes of Edward Snowden have reminded us that technology is being used against us. In China, we see the closed internet system, in crowds, people are being followed all over the place and strict rules governing journalistic behaviour. Knowledge is power, as they say. Scary, when you think about it.
I loved it. The adventures of Peanut and Mangan are enthralling. I was rooting for them, all the way. I’m looking forward to seeing what Spy Games has in store for Philip Mangan.
Absolutely recommended, if you love a good intelligent spy thriller.
Please check out my recent Q&A with the author Adam Brookes here https://northerncrime.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/a-few-questions-answered-by-best-selling-spy-author-adam-brookes-blog-tour/