Hiatt’s The Secret Sun & Elegant’s Last Year in Hong Kong

Brief reviews of The Secret Sun by Fred Hiatt (1992) and Last Year in Hong Kong by Robert Elegant (1997).

The Secret Sun Synopsis

When a young American journalist working in Toyko comes across long-hidden information indicating that Japan was working on its own atomic bomb during WWII, he becomes the target of disinformation, blackmail, and eventually, murder.

A masterful, fast-paced, stylish thriller in the manner of John le Carre.

The Secret Sun Fred Hiatt

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My Review

The Secret Sun is a little slow to build, but it is certainly worth being patient through the first few chapters. The pace soon quickens and what follows is a very compelling journey.

This story scratches beneath the shiny surface of the typical west meets east novel, showing the darker side of both the US and Japanese cultures and in equal measure, with an intriguing mix of mystery, action and romance along the way. Hiatt’s skillful character development provides the reader with a deep understanding of both the protagonists and their enemy’s motives.

Hiatt admirably resists the all too common need of authors these days to tie up all the loose ends. An excellent read.

Good secondhand copies of The Secret Sun are available from BetterWorld Books.

Last Year in Hong Kong Synopsis

Lucretia Barnes explores Hong Kong with an intriguing man who helps her rediscover both the richness of the city and her own capacity for romance.

Last Year in Hong Kong by Robert Elegant

My Review

Last Year in Hong Kong, a modern Asian love story, is an ‘epic’ drama.

On the plus side, the female protagonist is a well crafted and very likeable character. Although a doomed love affair, Elegant has provided enough twists and turns to keep the reader intrigued and wanting to know more.

On the down side, I found this story a little laborious and drawn out at times for my tastes, and although I was intrigued, I found the ending a little disappointing.

However if you like enveloping, descriptive narrative that creates scenes fit for a movie theatre, this book may be for you.

Good secondhand copies of Last Year in Hong Kong are available from Abebooks.