“The Firemaker” is part of Peter May’s series set in China. I have read and loved his books set in Scotland, but somehow had not read any of the China series. May tells a great story, and I loved this one, as well. I enjoyed reading a mystery in the midst of the complex and diverse life in Beijing.
The main character, Margaret Campbell leaves America to get away from some personal problems, but she is not prepared for the cultural differences she finds in Beijing. She is stereotypically uninformed, and her relationship with Li Yan is fraught with social missteps. This relationship gives May the opportunity to scatter interesting Chinese culture throughout the book and to develop an appealing sense of place. Along the way, the characters learn to accept each other’s decorum and work together.
The pace is slow, but steady. May’s writing style creates a story that is both compelling and educational. He gives readers a unique insight into the culture and the people of China through the eyes of his characters. Of course, it ends with a cliffhanger that pulls readers right into the five books that follow in the series.
I received a copy of “The Firemaker” from Peter May, Quercus, and NetGalley. I loved this book almost as much as May’s Enzo Files (set in France) and Lewis Trilogy, and stand-alone books (set in Scotland). Now, on to reading the rest of the China series.