The Beijing Conspiracy by Shamini Flint #BookReview #BlogTour


Ex-Delta Force soldier Jack Ford is trying to put the past behind him. But when he receives a letter from someone he hasn't spoken to in thirty years, claiming he has a daughter, he can't resist investigating for himself.

Soon he's on a plane to China, a country he hasn't returned to since witnessing the atrocities of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But on his search he stumbles upon a document which both the Chinese and American governments are desperately chasing. Now Jack is trapped in an impossible dilemma: save his daughter or prevent a new world war where thousands will lose their lives.

It is such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Beijing Conspiracy today. Many thanks to Shamini Flint, Black Thorn Books and Emma Welton from damppebbles blog tours for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

In recent years I've become a big fan of espionage fiction, particularly Cold War spy thrillers. The Beijing Conspiracy is sent in the present day but with two Superpowers plotting against one another amidst the deals and double-crossing, this new Cold War between the USA and China proves to be just as tense and exciting a background as the older conflict.
Those of us who remember the shocking scenes of the Tiananmen Square massacre back in 1989 will never forget that stark image of a lone man facing down a line of tanks. It's this moment which we learn proved pivotal to Jack Ford's life but why the young spy left Beijing shortly afterwards isn't revealed until later in the novel. Now a much-decorated ex-Delta Force soldier, Jack is finally tempted back to China when he receives a letter from an ex-girlfriend, claiming he is the father of her daughter, Fei Yen and that they need his help.
Meanwhile, a Chinese spy codenamed EMPEROR has contacted his American handler to inform him that he has a document he wants to send them. In a world where most spycraft is conducted by powerful technology, having to use a boots on the ground courier is anachronistic but those who learned the old-school methods can't help but feel a burst of adrenaline at having to smuggle out human intelligence the old-fashioned way. Nevertheless, it's a risky business, made even more perilous by rogue agents and though Jack's stopover in Singapore should have been fairly routine, he ends up being drawn into a deadly game of brinksmanship which finds him having to confront the ghosts of his past.
Although Jack is the central character, he is largely ignorant of the scheming which has brought him to Beijing and which has led to him being the focus of a manhunt. The Beijing Conspiracy features a fictional US President who bears an uncanny resemblance to the previous incumbent, from his obsessions with golf  and hyperbolic tweets to his obtuse understanding of and interest in diplomatic affairs, and his constant 'Make America again' sloganeering. However, we learn that his first Vice President had a heart attack and in the interest of unity, the POTUS appointed a woman, Elizabeth Harris who is widely seen as a bleeding heart liberal by the more conservative members of the Republican Party.
The conflict of beliefs and opinions is mirrored in China where the General Secretary-elect of the Communist Party, Zhu Juntao seems to be a reformist, much to the chagrin of hardliner, General Zhang. With many in the US Government fearing a liberalised China would result in the USA losing its status as the world's largest democracy, The Beijing Conspiracy is a sharply perceptive exploration of global politics. The brutal corruption of the various factions of the Chinese government results in Jack having to employ the skills he learned as a spy and on the battlefield as this complex novel twists and turns becoming ever more tense as both countries refuse to blink first. The supposed ethics of the American administration are held under the microscope here too, with one character observing,
'the United States didn't order the targeted killings of named individuals - except of course when they did. Morality was opaque in this office, especially under the aegis of the present occupant.'
This is the first book I've read by Shamini Flint but it definitely won't be the last; The Beijing Conspiracy has all exactly the intense drama I'm looking for in a spy thriller. Intelligent and compelling with an engaging lead character in Jack Ford and a provocative, high-octane plot, I thought it was a cracking read and thoroughly recommend it.

The Beijing Conspiracy is published by Black Thorn Books, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookstores whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Shamini Flint was born and brought up in Malaysia. Having studied law at Cambridge University, she travelled extensively throughout Asia for her work as a corporate lawyer, before becoming a writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist. Shamini now lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. She is the author of the highly acclaimed Inspector Singh mystery series.



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