A splendid debut spy thriller about a British journalist in Peking who unwittingly becomes involved in a huge conspiracy plot when he is approached by a local dissident and labour camp fugitive with bones to pick with the Chinese authorities. We've all read countless thrillers about spying in Russia and Eastern European countries, pre and post Cold War but Brookes' insights into China, where he worked as a correspondent for the BBC, make this a fascinating exploration of a brand new murky world with a chilling touch of realism and a fascinating read with twists and turns on every shadowy corner. The thin line between journalism and actual involvement in the shadow life is clearly drawn and feels so true to life. And who can resist a novel where one of the protagonists is called Peanut?
A lone man, Peanut, 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 Peanut must disappear on Beijing's surveillance-blanketed streets. Desperate and ruthless, he reaches out to his one-time MI6 paymasters via crusading journalist Philip Mangan, offering military secrets in return for extraction. But the secrets prove more valuable than Peanut or Mangan could ever have known...and not only to the British.
|Publication date:||1st January 2015|
|Publisher:||Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group|
|Primary Genre||Espionage and Spy Thriller|
Adam Brookes was formerly the BBC’s China correspondent with assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and other countries under his belt. Of course, such experience (and even solid journalistic talent) does not guarantee thriller success, but Brookes arrives as a fully formed talent, with a complete mastery of the genre. The plot involves a Chinese spy and a British journalist, with a whole nation hunting them, and we are gripped by the sinewy narrative from the very first page. A desperate prisoner whose name is Peanut (who had worked for British Intelligence in the past) escapes from a brutal labour camp at night, braving the frigid desert of northwest China.
'The pace is frenetic and Brookes does a wonderful job with both the high-tech world of cyber intelligence and survival on Beijing's gritty, smog-smothered streets. Highly recommended.' - The Bookseller
'Night Heron is a fascinating portrait of the dangerous complexities of spying in a restricted country, the competing agendas driving international intelligence, and China's startlingly varied social realities. A must-read for fans of espionage and smart global fiction in general.' Booklist
'Brookes, a correspondent for BBC News in Washington, D.C., who was formerly based in China, takes readers deep inside the culture and daily routines of that country in his outstanding fiction debut ... Good chase scenes and tense dialogue, coupled with a convincing picture of what actually happens in the corridors of power, make Brookes a thriller writer to watch.' - Publishers Weekly
As the BBC's China Correspondent, Adam Brookes received repeated visits from an anonymous man offering to sell him military secrets to pass to British Secret Services - a likely 'dangle' designed to entrap him. This event inspired the writing of Night Heron, a game-changing thriller ripped from today's headlines. Now correspondent for BBC News in Washington, D.C., Adam Brookes is deeply engrained in the world of government secrets, and has reported on assignment from many of the world's most dangerous countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. Author photo © Selena MalottMore About Adam Brookes