Book Jacket

 

rank 886
word count 29575
date submitted 24.12.2011
date updated 31.12.2013
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller...
classification: universal
incomplete

OPERATION KASHGAR (Volume One of The Chinese Spymaster)

Hock G. Tjoa

Chinese Intelligence uncover a North Korean trying to sell a nuclear device. Then they find FIVE other dealers trying to do the same.

 

This book has just been published as THE CHINESE SPYMASTER, the first volume in a projected series of three. It is available on Amazon (in paperback and as a Kindle version) and in all electronic formats on Smashwords. (October 4, 2013).

The buyer is the same in every case--the Pashtuns.
Is this "simply" nuclear proliferation?
A "Pashtun Spring"?
The realignment of geopolitical power in Central Asia?
A resurgence of Islamist terrorism?
How will the restless minorities in China, the Tibetans and the Uyghurs, react?
In order to anticipate and confront these threats, Spymaster Wang must negotiate through inter-agency and bureaucratic rivalries as well as personal ambitions, at home and abroad. He reaches for ancient insight into strategies and unorthodox alliances. But the struggle he must undertake cannot cease and the outcome always remains in doubt.
This is not the usual tale of "feel good vengeance" or the exploration of the Western id or libido in espionage. It appeals to readers with a curiosity about non-western traditions, cultures and expectations about the value of action--and non-action.

UPDATED June 29, 2012

PUBLISHED as The Chinese Spymaster, 2013

 
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tags

afghanistan, bureaucratic infighting, central asia, china, cia, contemporary fiction, hand to hand combat, north korean, nuclear device, pakistan, pas...

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54 comments

 

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Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 50 days ago

How interesting. I am impressed with your writing skills. It amazed me how you could take fights and write as if it were a ballet being danced to classical music. The skills you have are very well used.
God bless you!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"

nautaV wrote 71 days ago

The name of your book couldn't but caught my eye. I studied at the University at the time when the Soviet Union moved its troops to Afghanistan. My country was a part of the USSR, respectively, a lot of my generation went through that devilish mincer. Thousands of Ukrainian boys came back home in zinc coffins. Senile politicians decided they knew better about our vital interests, about our needs and wishes.
Your book was a chance to me to know the brave Pashtuns, their problems and hopes a bit closer. The reader sympathizes with their attempts to unite the nation, but the attempts to get hold of nuclear weapons seems frantic. That's why Spymaster's delicate mission, the high-level diplomacy (Yu, Crtoss) look very responsible.
The book is a real thriller. It hooks you from the very beginning, puts you in the midst of events, holds your interest to the last uploaded chapter.
Technically the plot is well elaborated, the text is well polished. I'd admit a good pace, great descriptions, wonderful dialogues. Well done, dear Hock!
My six stars and the very best regards!
Trying to be helpful, I'd draw your attention to:
Ch.8(as far, as I remember)
1.'They knew that sentries...by the member of their ban-- of average build...' ( '...by the member of their band...'?)
2.'Why did the Shopkeeper send his nephew to live in their house?' ( I'm sure, it's the band leader's remark. Then 'Najmudin thought for a moment...' should be the next paragraph.)

Valentine But
Escape

Brendie wrote 123 days ago

Hock - I'm backing this book because I believe it has great potential and if it reached the desk it will get all the help it needs from the professionals ...
brendan

Brendie wrote 124 days ago

I've just read the first three chapters and I have to say he overall story has great potential. I can see his becoming a blockbuster - but not yet. Although you appear to have done some wonderful research which adds enormously to the overall imagery, I feel you haven't really settled into a natural style of writing yet. I can't quite put my finger on what's bugging me - maybe it's the glut of information that seems to put brake on what should be a faster pace, making me rein my imagination as it skips ahead in anticipation. Please don't be offended by this, tis just my personal view, but maybe some advice from an editor might articulate what I'm trying to say. I wish I could be more specific but I'm not a professional advisor - I can only indicate what I like to read - but I really believe that you have a great story here and I wish you all the best with it. I'll continue to read the rest, and hopefully be able to comment further.
Brendan

Brendie wrote 124 days ago

I've just read the first three chapters and I have to say he overall story has great potential. I can see his becoming a blockbuster - but not yet. Although you appear to have done some wonderful research which adds enormously to the overall imagery, I feel you haven't really settled into a natural style of writing yet. I can't quite put my finger on what's bugging me - maybe it's the glut of information that seems to put brake on what should be a faster pace, making me rein my imagination as it skips ahead in anticipation. Please don't be offended by this, tis just my personal view, but maybe some advice from an editor might articulate what I'm trying to say. I wish I could be more specific but I'm not a professional advisor - I can only indicate what I like to read - but I really believe that you have a great story here and I wish you all the best with it. I'll continue to read the rest, and hopefully be able to comment further.
Brendan

Alastair Miles wrote 192 days ago

Even when someone is kind enough to back my book out of the blue I rarely manage to comment on theirs – not out of impoliteness, purely due to reading group/read swap commitments; plus that I like to devote a decent amount of time to whatever books I'm reading.

However, when I saw the pitch and backcover for Operation Kashgar/The Chinese Spymaster I had to take a look, they are amongst the most compelling draws for a book I've seen on this site. The reason for this is the subject matter for your novel, with the way the world is changing the themes in your book couldn't be more apt for a thriller. It's a chance to learn about different cultures and also read a non-western centric story.

Only when I've read into a book and formed my opinions do I look at the comments and see if my thinking matches what's been written. It's not always the case, in fact it often isn't, but in this case it matched almost entirely. As Maeve said, I really wanted to love this book, but I noticed the same issues though. The strength of your book is the exotic nature of your story, it's outside of your readership's experience. This strength is also your biggest challenge – you have a lot of exposition to get through.

As it stands the exposition gets in the way of the story. I think you need to find subtler ways of explaining what's going on, use the story itself/dialogue between characters to introduce the key concepts or slip in scenes that explain key issues in a dynamic way – and trust the reader to do some thinking for themselves. Although it'll make for a lengthier story you'll actually entertain the reader more, at the moment it's not quite thrilling enough for a thriller. Also, as I've debated before when reading another book I'm not sure literary fiction and thrillers are compatible – thrillers require a fast paced style of writing that is not regarded as literary (I think it should be, but that's another matter).

I can't fault the characters, to me it feels like you've thought them through and their reactions are believable. The plot, and the research behind it, also comes over as very sound.

The writing is predominantly good, occasionally I feel certain phrases don't belong in a thriller, but I can see you have skill with words – perhaps don't try so hard? (Incidentally, the only typo I spotted was in the prologue "attach" should be "attack").

Anyway, I hope this isn't too discouraging. You were kind enough to back me and I'd rather be honest with you than just praise your book to the skies – not that there isn't plenty you should be proud of. If you can get this story right I would have thought thrillers in this vein have massive potential over the coming decades.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that, in coming years, I'll see your book as an international bestseller. It's certainly not impossible.

Best wishes,
Alastair
Going Afterlife

Fiona Haven wrote 241 days ago

Return read

I've only read the prologue and the first chapter so far, but I'm finding this a very interesting read. I think it has great potential, but needs some development stylistically. It's not really my genre and I'm only a novice writer, so feel free to ignore my comments if they seem wrong to you.

First, the good points:
It is intriguing to read about the politics of Afghanistani militants from a Chinese perspective. I've never read anything with that premise before, so it's very original.

Also, through Spymaster Wang's thoughts and dialogue, you provide new and original insights into the spying game.

Your voice is very different - I don't know if it is the Chinese influence, but you seem to have a veneer of seriousness and pedantism, but with an underlying sense of fun, which appears during fight scenes. I think I like that.

But I have some concerns with the writing style.
I think there is a lot of explanation - the plot revolves around reveals of information, through dialogue and explanatory passages - but these slow the pace of the story too much.

Firstly, I suggest that you put more trust in the reader. Avoid the bracketed explanations - people can find out for themselves that tai-ji-uan is tai chi or that Mudan-san means Miss Peony, if they are interested. They understand that a kick on a pressure point would inflict pain. I suppose I am suggesting limiting explanation to the things that are most important, for the reader to follow the plot.

Secondly, I struggled to follow all the dialogue. It was written in a rather formal style, which made it hard for the reader to pick out the relevant information. I felt that the main point would come across more clearly with a more direct style.

For instance, after the introducing Miss Tang to us, there followed 7 paragraphs of difficult dialogue, just to make the point that they had 5 suspect arms dealers. You might consider giving us that key information first up, and only after that having the discussion of how that information was obtained and the implications of their nationalities, if it is relevant to the plot. This gives the reader a signal of the path you are taking them down, so that they can see that all this dialogue is relevant to the plot and will be willing to pay more attention.

I suppose what I am suggesting is "foreshadowing". Let the reader see up front where you are heading, what the point of each scene is. They will then be happy to read all the explanatory passages because the relevance of them to the plot is clear.

Also, it would be good to have more descriptive clues to the settings, to give the reader a picture in their head. For instance, in Miss Tang's fight scene at the geisha house, I had trouble understanding the locations of the attackers in relation to Miss Tang because the scene had not been set up in my head. [By the way, I also thought she was a bit rash shooting someone through the door (like Oscar Pistorius)].

I hope my comments are helpful and I wish you luck with this, it certainly has something original about it.

Best wishes,
Fiona Haven
Falling Upwards

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 273 days ago

return read:
first off, thank you for the wonderful comment on my book - and fear not, Callum is not too good to be true - he constantly screws up :)

second - this isn't ordinarily my type of read - if i can't relate in any way shape or form, or the content goes above and beyond, i generally lose interest... having said that, i did not lose interest with this!
the strength for me was in the dialogue. It helps bring the story along, without filling it with actions or "he said/she said" - Example, as Wang discusses the plan to reduce the spread of weapons, there is talk of failure, or possibly not attempting at all - this is a heavy discussion but it's not danced around. it is what it is - i like that :)

well polished read - high stars for you
good luck on your quest to the desk
Jac x
My Life Without Me

Maevesleibhin wrote 284 days ago

Hock,
I don't like jellyfish. I don't mean just the ones that sting and ruin your Caribbean vacation. Those are kind of cool looking, at least. I mean the ones you eat at traditional Chinese restaurants and wedding feasts.
I feel bad about it, because I really want to like it. It is a delicacy, after all, something that natives rave about. And I like to think that I have eclectic tastes. But it just does not grip me.
I have a similar problem with Operation Kashgar.
I have read the first four chapters.
I really want to like this. The premise is very exciting and the exotic ambiance is great. But it is epically failing to hook me.
I think, a little bit like jellyfish, that it could use a bit of spice to make it more interesting to my palate, by which I mean more action and less background in the narrative. I also think it could use something to bring together the long sinewy strands, by which I mean that the different plot mechanisms and points the view that you have going need more cohesion to work for me.
But, much like jellyfish, maybe I just don't have the right temperament for it. Maybe it's the kind of book that someone else would love, so please take my comments with a grain of salt (or soy sauce), and I hope they help.
Hook and Plot- I think fight scenes are very difficult. A proper description of the maneuvers takes so much longer than the action it's describing that the narrative winds up playing catch-up with the action. I found the fight in chapter one very difficult for this reason, and because it is intermingled with a lot of summarizing about the characters, telling me about their histories and sentiments rather than developing them through dialogue and narrative. This combination had an almost somnolent effect on me, which is probably not your intention, given that this is supposed to be a thriller.
You have this potentially wonderful moment in chapter 2 with the geisha girl/cop. I think that that would've been a fantastic hook if it got developed further, and of course if it came earlier in the book. The problem with that scene as it is is that it, again, has way too much summarization and the action takes a backseat. Another problem is that the wonderful character doesn't seem to come back at least in the first four chapters.
In chapters three and four you again change points of view. I understand what you're trying to do, I understand that you're trying to present the different factors in a drama before it unfolds. However, because there is relatively little action during the scenes and a lot of the narrative is taken up in summarization, the effect is to make it very unfocused for me.
There are two ways that you could deal with this if you wanted to please a picky reader like me. One is to keep the various point of views but make them shorter and more action packed. This has the advantage of affording you the opportunity to showcase different characters and locations while hooking with adrenalin rushes. The disadvantage is that it is unfocused and can make a reader a bit dizzy. The other alternative is to limit your POV to one individual for the first few chapters and let us get really hooked before changing POVs. This has the advantage of grounding the reader more, but it does take longer to introduce the different characters. Whatever you do, I would urge you to keep summarization to a minimum.
Character development- and one of the reasons why I don't like summarization is that it really hurts CD. There is little that makes a character less vibrant for me than to read bits and pieces of his or her background or character from the narrator. A bit is inevitable, of course, and a lot of your summarization betrays a good deal of research (for instance, you have this fascinating bit about how the Kashgar call each other by nicknames). Very interesting for a wiki article or a travel guide, but very diluting in a thriller. Instead, I would rather have you show the characters referring to each other this way and have a fascinating footnote explaining this. Similarly with the other characters. You have this great line about being able to walk on rice paper without leaving a mark. Lovely image. The problem is that it comes from the narrator, not from an intriguing character. Chapter one suffers especially from this, giving me a lot of background information and histories about the sparring gentlemen. The result is that I am not very interested in any of these characters (a bit interested in the geisha/cop- she could be a fascinating and fun character, but I don't feel I have seen enough of her to make a judgement.
Premise- And, again, this is all a huge shame, because this is a fascinating and relevant premise for a thriller. A region in the hottest piece of desert in the world with a particular, quarrelsome culture getting its hands on WMDs. And the Chinese, of all people, getting interested and playing the spy game! So very cool. As a premise, this is fabulous stuff. I could see a blockbuster movie with huge (mostly Chinese and Indian) actors. This premise is totally worth making at least the hooking chapters tighter.
Ambiance- This is one thing that you do very well, particularly in the Kashgar. I think that some of your details are very well done, like the wailing woman and the line about the fruits in the city markets being like those in paradise. Such details add a fabulous dimension of ambiance to a book, particularly when they come out in dialogue or action.
Again, I may not be the best audience for this, and feel free to ignore me as a person with uncultured tastes. However, I only tried jellyfish twice. Maybe if it were cooked with the right sauce or the right accompaniment I may change my mind. The question is whether you think that enough of your readers want your story delivered in a different way to merit the work.
Best of luck with it,
Maeve

Charles Knightley wrote 286 days ago

OPERATION KASHGAR (Volume One of The Chinese Spymaster)
Hock G. Tjoa

It took me a while to get into the story, there was so much going on, but once in I enjoyed it. You've weaved quite a complex story. Your writing is clear. You obviously understand your subject matter as your descriptions are so vivid, lifelike and realistic.

Highly starred.

Charles Knightley
The Secret of Netley Abbey

Edward Gardner wrote 290 days ago

I've only had time this morning to read your first three chapters. I especially enjoyed the glimpse these offered into two cultures so different from my own. I admit I haven't read a spy thriller in about twenty years, so I can't speak to what is currently 'out there', but your writing seems to take special care with conveying background substance and a genuine engagement with the lifeworlds of the characters. That is, you're not just trying to tell a nail biting story but want your reader to understand what moves the spirit of these cultures. Well done, and highly starred. I'll keep you on my WL to read more later.

Edward
The Black Dionysia

Pippa Whitethorn wrote 317 days ago

An overdue return read - sorry!
This is a complex, intelligent, well written spy story. The setting is unusual, or at least different to stories I've read in the past. Although I have no real knowledge of the places and type of people you are writing about it seemed very authentic to me.
I liked the way you interwove some backstory with the fight in the prologue. This ended with a good question which made me want to read on. New characters were introduced in the first chapter, as was the politics underlying the story. Tang seems like a strong woman - a character that would interest me.
I couldn't find anything to pick fault with except maybe you don't need 'the woman who ran the house' after the Housekeeper.
Best of luck with this

Pippa

Michael Matula wrote 342 days ago

Very well-written, and I thought you did a great job with the action scene in the prologue, and managed to incorporate philosophy in a way that added to the action instead of detracting from it, which is no easy feat. I really like the setting as well, as I haven't read many books set in China before, and the conflict and the characters feel very believable and grounded in reality.

I also wrote down a few notes as I read:
“they would have inflicted varying degrees of pain” - I wasn't quite sure about this line, since just about any strikes would inflict different levels of pain; I might possibly say that the imprecise strikes cause pain (since it's mentioned that their bodies were usually left covered with bruises after the practice sessions, it made me think they were still landing rather hard), but they would have maimed or killed if the strikes had landed precisely.
“far away enough” - this sounded slightly off to me; I would possibly have said “far enough away”, though it could just be personal preference.
“not prevail in a frontal (attack)” ?
- “arms dealer was trying to conclude such an arms deal” - I might say “a deal” instead of “an arms deal,” as it had been established in the previous sentence that this was an arms sale

Those are all very minor quibbles, though. I was quite intrigued by this, and it felt like a very fresh and interesting take on the spy genre.
Definitely high stars.

Mike
Arrival of the Ageless
What, the Elf?

Neville wrote 351 days ago

OPERATION KASHGAR (Volume One of the Chinese Spymaster).
By Hock G. Tjoa.


A powerful prologue as Spymaster Wang takes on Sergeant Major Li in a session of un-armed combat. You give a good account of the fast moves used in this ancient art which requires years of practice and dedication. During the clash of skills, I was aware at times of a slow motion effect as the different moves found their mark.
Such is the excellent description and effect it has upon the reader.
A nice build up of Tang’s abilities as she takes cover behind the charade of being a geisha girl earlier in her career, once again, good description comes into play here.
I find the book to be very interesting and carrying a lot of intrigue along with it.
The plot to sell nuclear arms is a big hook to read on since we don’t want to see Armageddon—Yes, it may be only fiction, but it’s a very real threat and your writing has a tendency to bring that out.
Plenty of room out there for this book; I hope that it gets published.
High stars for now!
Well done, Hock!

Ch 1 ...’against which a dozen armed men would not prevail in a frontal [attach], perhaps...’ (attack?).
Ch. 2 ...Wang and Hu stared at Tang. After a moment, [Wang said:] (Wang spoke:) I think it would give an hesitation at this point .

Neville.

One Off, Sir!
The secrets of the Forest (Series) - Cosmos 501.
The Secrets of the Forest (Series) - The Time Zone.




Bea Sinclair wrote 409 days ago

I love a good adventure story and this one is no exception. "Operation Kashgar" is an original take on the classic spy thriller. Through the author we are introduced to several different factions whose interests are gradually revealed. Old rivalries and possible vendettas are never far from the surface and we are made aware of the culture and history which brought them about. Every turn of the page is a suprise in this unpredictable and fascinating novel.

The MC is a likeable, meticulous and ruthless man, but I get the impression that he is striving for justice rather than personal satisfaction, the reader is drawn to him for this reason. I have read to the end of chapter 9 and have awarded high stars. I will back this book in the near future. Yours Bea

PS the author's description of the Intellegence Agency is very convincing

maretha wrote 415 days ago

Operation Kashgar/Hock G.Tjao
Your short pitch immediately interested me. ‘Chinese Intelligence uncovers a North-Korean trying to sell a nuclear device.’ You introduce Chinese minorities Tibetans, Uyghurs; Pashtuns and Islamic elements. Could this be resurgence, a re-alignment of power in Central Asia?
Your prologue initiates immediate reference to “…thought which should make one wise…”, but in “…hand-to-hand combat thinking can leave one dead.”
The practice session between Spymaster Wang and Sergeant Major Li is well-described and fast-paced. It helps the reader to appreciate that despite Wang’s age, he would be quite a formidable foe. You use apt and beautiful descriptions of their combat: “this kernel of insight, whirring ballet of combat, lingering bruises.” Throughout this first section the reader is left in no doubt as to the seriousness with which both Wang and Li (with a sinister motive revealed as given by higher forces) view these sessions. Li has instructions to somehow ‘damage’ Spymaster Wang and in one of these sessions; he almost succeeds. This event leads to Wang suggesting another meeting place. Li understood the importance of this request. He’ll have to come unarmed. You move the plot to a new level when this section closes off with a series of questions which Spymaster Wang asks himself. To me the most important being: “What do I say at the meeting … especially in the light of the new activity of Operation Kashgar?” And here you perfectly introduce the story, its title and plot. Well done! For that which I’ve read thus far as far as scene setting, plot and hook development, smooth writing and just enough dialogue to keep the interest of the reader at peak, I would like to give you high stars. I will come back to read more of this very exciting thriller. I had opportunity last year to the read another book on this site, called ‘The North Korean.’ I’m convinced from what I read thus far that your story is going to be just as fascinating! All the best in the days ahead on authonomy! :-)
Maretha
http://www.authonomy.com/books/43500/african-adventures-of-flame-family-furry-and-feathered-friends-/

Seringapatam wrote 420 days ago

Hock. This is a lot to take in but I mean that in a nice way. I love a book that you feel that you get it all when you read it. This is one of these books. The story is spot on and you tell it so well. what a narrative. Its great. There is a brilliant descriptive voice within you too. you must continue writing within this genre as this is where you belong and dont let anyone else tell you different. I loved this and score it high. Well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean.

Tornbridge wrote 420 days ago

Dear Hock.

The description of the fighting was well executed and the whole of the story so far has a John le Carre feel of a slow burn thriller. I like the action opening as it immerses the reader quickly whilst allowing some page space to bring the reader up to spead.

It’s feels as though it’s evolving into a complicated yet well conceived plot and the premise itself has a good hook for the reader and those just seeing a short pitch.

Best of Luck with it.

Tornbridge
The Washington Adventure.

Mooderino wrote 441 days ago

The opening was clear but I wasn’t particularly engaged by the men warming up for their sparring match. It wasn’t until we learn that Li is in the debt of a rival that the story caught my interest. I realise you need to set up the scenario before you can reveal that but it felt like the first few paragraphs could use a little trimming to get to that info quicker.

I wasn’t really able visualise how Li launched himself up the wall (not how he did it, but how it looked). Would have liked more detail there, or a clearer idea of what you meant. Seemed a bit supernatural the way you wrote it.

I didn’t understand why the landing indicated the end of the bout. I also didn’t get why he let him off five times if his job was to kill him. That didn't seem to make sense and took the tension out of the situation.

There were a number of issues I had with Tang’s backstory. Her parents history was okay but not really necessary (although fine if you want to use it to give some background on her). But then to go back five years within a chapter where you’ve already started with ‘two weeks earlier’ and then flashbacked to her childhood is very messy and convoluted.

The geisha mission also doesn’t serve any narrative purpose, just more backstory. We don’t need to know her whole life story all at once, and the way you jump into it would only really work if it had some relevance to the current mission (which it doesn’t appear to have). In addition, although the action is well written, it isn’t at all clear what’s going on. Why was it the right thing to do to tell the customers? Who was attacking and who was being attacked? Who did the housekeeper call and why two calls? What was the point of her mission as a geisha in the first place?

I’m not saying you need to answer all those questions, they may all be irrelevant to the point you were making that she is a capable operative, but creating a scene where you have so much unclear stuff going on makes it hard to read. If you want the reader to focus on one part you need to get rid of all the extra little details which you think add authenticity but in fact only serve as distractions. Which to keep and which to cut is of course up to you and no easy task, but the kitchen sink approach isn’t helpful to the reader.

I thought the premise was very interesting and nice to see a new set of characters in this genre. I thought the exposition was a bit heavy handed at times, although that may only be true of early chapters where you’re setting things up. Still, it slowed things down considerably to get so much background info on everyone and all their contacts. I think a lot of that wasn’t necessary or at least not at such length. Many of the explanations of why people did certain things or how information was obtained (we asked the right questions....) felt self-explanatory .

Overall the scenario is quite fascinating and I welcome seeing it from this particular angle, one we don’t see very often. I just wish it was a little less comprehensive in its explanations and moves along a little quicker.

Fontaine wrote 445 days ago

Very well written and exciting first chapter. Not my usual genre at all but I enjoyed it. I'll read on.

LCF Quartet wrote 448 days ago

Hi Hock,
I read the first two chapters of your book with pleasure. It seems like the core concept behind your book is deep and equally engaging. However, this is not the genre I usually read, so I'm not sure if my feedback will be helpful.
Highly starred, and watch-listed to support you in the long run, and in case, I change my mind:))
Kind regards,
Lucette

Cathy Hardy wrote 463 days ago

Amazing and very well thought out. Flawless and engaging. High sars!!

Kaychristina wrote 466 days ago

Operation Kashgar - and Spymaster Wang.

Hock, this is fascinating, a true *Smiley* for current times and troubles, with the added, exotic allure to Western readers of the mystique that is China. And if I may say so, *Spymaster Wang* as a title on its own would draw readers like moths to a flame... As would a slightly brighter green on the cover!! Jade, methinks. Aside from these trifles, I have read through three chapters so far, although I must revisit 3 to digest more - set as it is ten years' earlier, giving us the background of the Pashtuns together with the Soldier/Spy activity and important dialogue.

Here are some thoughts I'm pasting in, made as I read --

Prologue
We have Spymaster Wang sparring with Sergeant Major Li, given the Spymaster for weekly sessions by friend General Chen.
Chen has found out that Li is in cahoots with Comrade Commissar Wu, and obliged to him - speculating as to why, that perhaps it was because Wang had declined to appoint a Wu protege as his deputy. He tells Wang, but worries he and his friend have not yet found time to discuss this.

We learn, from Li's thoughts, that he must kill or maim Spymaster Wang, and he has not yet found how he could physically - or morally, do this.

Wang ends session, tells Li they will spar in a different place next time.
Wang's mind is racing now. He wonders if he needs a bodyguard, (as he is aging - 50s, much older than Li), what C.Comm. Wu really wants, and what will he say at the meeting Politburo Committee on Public Security in two days --- especially in light of the new activity in *Operation Kashgar*.

INTERESTING prologue, full of sinister intrigue. And a wonderful opening line.
Possibly too much of the actual fighting - too much detail for some, I think. So much that the important plot points and characterizations are a little buried.

Therefore, I can only suggest for your consideration, that you mix the fighting with each character's thoughts a bit more, going from one to the other with every few blows - as each must never, or hardly ever, take his eyes off his opponent. An ideal scenario for such thoughts, I think.

Nevertheless, it all has a rhythmic flow, much like the balletic fighting. And the scene is set.

Ch.2

*Surveillance* - Beijing, 2 weeks earlier.

Spymaster Wang is with Analyst Tang, a lady. She has briefed him of a potential arms sales - nuclear - by a North Korean dealer (called Kim), and that the fact the Pashtuns in Afghanistan were the putative buyers, and this could be important. Plus, there are five other deals like it.
Wang asks her what it means.

AHH - now, I think you could mention who the Pashtuns are in your Pitch.
Also, a bit of info-dumping here, which I think you could work a little more as thoughts - where you then have him reflecting on the Analyst, so in the same way he could reflect on the situation rather than you, the writer, telling us - which takes us out of the scene-set rather. All interesting stuff, though.

Perhaps, also, where you state what Analyst Tang is wearing, that could be conveyed as he *reflects* on her and her staff - or where you give us her Red Guard parentage background.

Then we have Administrator Hu interjecting - and he gradually comes into the dialogue/meeting after ---.

AN INTERLUDE... On Analyst Tang's background, as an undercover GEISHA - THIS IS FASCINATING, possibly meriting its own book...
I humbly suggest its own chapter!

Then we have a very interesting discussion between her, Wang and Hu, with Hu repeatedly making points worthy of The Editor in *All the President's Men*... (to the effect, *but how does this affect China?*)

All very clever. And Wang's wisdom at the end of this chapter lets us know why he holds his office. A true Spymaster.

This has the potential, all the hallmarks for being a classic thriller, a literary thriller, which are few and far between. It has a great deal to say. I just think it needs a little tweaking as to characters' thoughts giving us the background information and such, which would bring the reader closer to these intriguing characters, where they will take us.

Six stars for originality, and I shall back this as soon as I can. It is fascinating in all its clammy, frightening reality.

From Kay with a high regard

John Saville wrote 470 days ago

Mark Bean pointed me in your direction. A well written book, you clearly understand what you write about, backed with 6stars

JS

~Evangeline~ wrote 472 days ago

OPERATION KASHGAR
When we try to explain how one thing looks or sounds or smells, we tend to compare it to things that are at least similar. This story puts me in mind of Martin Cruz Smith and, to an extent, Stuart Kaminsky, just as much as it recalls the works of John Le Carre. I have no way of knowing how authentic your portrayal of the Chinese Spymaster and his world are, but they READ authentically and that's a good thing.

Of course, there is more here than the superficial story, there is also a depth of culture and politics to be understood and assimilated as we read. The only real problem I encountered was that there are few places, at least in the first six chapters where the reader gets a break from the complex, densely detailed world that you are building. Although you write clearly and crisply, this may be a problem if the trend continues throughout the story.

As your prologue shows, you can deliver interesting action sequences with both verve and pace. However, there are perhaps too few of them here for the typical western reader - which is perhaps something you already know judging from your long pitch.

I'm not sure I have been any great help to you here. The main takeaway, probably, is that I enjoyed what I read of Operation Kashgar and that I would read more if I had the story in book format.

All the best

Evangeline

Cyrus Hood wrote 478 days ago

Hello Hock,
I found the first three chapters of 'Operation Kashgar' engaging and intelligent, I totally agree with Emma, the characters are well defined and authentic. I enjoyed the natural cultural insight you have and applaud your writing talent- I could find no fault, grammatical or spelling. A well written and polished work that will shoot up the ratings. I will grant 6 stars with pleasure and look forward to placing this work on my shelf next time a slot becomes available.
kind regards

Cyrus

Emma.L.H. wrote 484 days ago

Hello, Hock. Finally got round to reading your book. I've read six chapters in one sitting and am totally immersed in the story. I'm also in complete awe of your writing skills; how has this book received so little attention so far?! For me, it's your characters that do this justice. They literally leap from the pages (or screen, in this case!) and I can envisage them clearly as I read.

This is one of the most polished books I've read on here. You know your stuff and have clearly spent a lot of time and effort on this. The complexity of the story, the sparse but sufficient descriptions, crisp, clear dialogue and, as I've mentioned, the great characters, give an engrossing read. You've got a good idea, here, and have weaved an interesting tale-- one which I will have to read on.

There really isn't anything more I can say. I usually try to think of something to help the writer improve but can think of nothing to suggest, here. It reads like a published book-- and most definitely will be-- one day. Highly starred for now and I wish you all the best with this. Well done.

Mark Cain wrote 491 days ago

A deftly written spy novel. The Prologue/first chapter admirably sets the tone of this complex tale. The tai chi bout shows the control of both the MC and the author.

This is a complex story, moving among multiple perspectives and multiple landscapes. I find it particularly interesting that it is a spy story with the Chinese as the heroes, since most of the western world is suspicious of the people and their country. This is actually a valuable work in humanizing and showing respect to a culture about which we know only stereotypes.

The book is very well done, and I give it high stars.

Mark
HELL'S SUPER

Nigel Fields wrote 514 days ago

I could see this as a major film.

Nigel Fields wrote 528 days ago

Hock,
First of all, this is brilliant. Second, it's not a genre that I usually read. So, to me, the section between the prologue and Tang's experience as an undercover geisha, felt too heavy handed with information. Now, this might be proper for this kind of story. I think the geisha account is so exciting, that IMHO it might be a better way to garner sympathy and reader interest before laying out the necessary details. But I can understand the logic of the way you have it. So, as Wang and Tang discuss the concern over FIVE other deals, Wang's line: "And we know so little about them," felt stiff. True, this might be true to culture, but, considering the tension and adrenaline, it might be more human for Wang to say something like: "We need data. Now. What do you have on them so far."
Okay, back to the brilliantness of this. You write with authority. Your premise is great. Already, I can see this as a blockbuster movie.
I have more to read, but wanted to touch base on the opening. I'll pop back for more as soon as I can. Highly starred.
Best,
John B. Campbell

Mike Lee wrote 586 days ago

Hock, I finally got the opportunity to return and read a bit further, and with pleasure. Here are my thoughts; I hopeyou find something useful in them.

Your story starts out with a very complex rendering of Spymaster Wang, exposed for us as a complex and subtle man. It's masterful work, giving us the basics of this character in rapid-fire, and easily grasped insights. I expect that readers for whom this work is suitable find themselves settling in to enjoy the scene, eagerly anticipating watching Wang weave his subtle webs, and catch the flies he has targeted. Then, for the next several chapters, we get characters no less exotic, but much less magnetic, as the story begins to take shape past the introduction of Wang.

As this happens, the reader is gradually pulled into awareness that the story is going to be extrememly complex. Some very successful authors write stories this complex, and even more complex. I'm thinking of Clancy, and le Carre, among others. But these authors have one advantage in the English-speaking market, which your story does not: At least half of the story takes place within Anglo culture. Your story is split between Chiniese and Afghan (or local tribal cultures of the region.) I think this puts you at a decided disadvantage for the English-speaking market, because there is no respite from the extra effort of placing ourselves, as readers, into the foreign mindset. Nevertheless, you do a convincing job of communicating those foreign cultures to us. I suspect you have done significant research, or have extensive expertise from prior work. This is by way of saying, it's well done, and convincing, but requires more of the reader at the same time.

Your delivery is generally on the dry side, which I personally tend to prefer; More Ken Follet and Frederic Forsythe than Ian Flemming or Vince Flyn. But again, with all the action taking place in foreign cultures, you may find it useful to punch up the emotion you actually display FOR the reader; I suspect we often miss what would be obvious to someone actually familiar with those cultures. By way of example, a while ago I read and commented on a story by an Indian author, telling him "I couldn't tell why your characters made the choices they made. It was as though they merely had to go through the motions, in order to present as if they were doing the right thing." A later comment by the author made it clear, his characters were doing exactly that: Making sure they were presenting as though doing the right thing. It came to me then, it's (apparently) a cultural artifact, which I missed through ingnorance of the culture. You may need to be more explicit about your characters inner motivations and process.

Much of what you put in as action and dialogue appears likely to have subtle implications for later in the story. I remember particularly one passage wherein someone is telling someone else about a mullah who tends to bring shame to the local villiage when he visits. I don't know if you return to that later, because I haven't gone on far enough. But what I do percieve is that, if that passage is merely filler (the characters going on to dicuss local matters, because the necessary plot devices have been fulfilled in the scene,) then there is too much attention paid to it, and you should signal us it is filler, perhaps with a device like "and they went on talking for a while, discussing local issues and gossip..." But if that mullah is going to matter, even just for showing us, perhaps, the ruthless nature of a character who repays a minor debt by offing the offending mullah on behalf of his aquaintance, you should signal that to us as well, perhaps letting us observe the character filing away that tidbit of information, or even saying aloud, "Well, it's in Allah's hands, but do you think it would be better if that mullah went on to his reward?" These sorts of signals make it much easier for a reader to keep track of such a complex story, by letting us know what we need to keep in mind, and what we can discard as scenery. I am suspicious that you are a man who has little trouble keeping track of a great deal of disparate information; the rest of us, who might make up your reading audience, are more ordinary.

Along the same lines, by the end of chapter six, we have a plethora of characters to keep track of, and the same problem: Which comments are important? Which characters will be speaking important things later? Signal us, perhaps by giving us Wang's internal reaction to the important things.

Finally, I think it would plump up the story a little if you tossed a little action in at random places. If there is nothing really germain to the plot to do early on, give us something gratuitous from time to time. It will carry the story forward better, I think, while the foundation is laid.

The bottom line is, your straightforward, clear prose is very effective. Your action sequences work very well, judging from the opening scene. And you are clearly capable of weaving a very complex setting for your plot to take place in. AT least in the Spymaster Wang character, your character development is quite good. The only thing that holds this story back for me, personally, is that it is very difficult to keep track of the details, and decide what I need to take note of, and what I don't. If you were to clarify that, this would be exactly the kind of story I buy in hard cover, because I would likely want to read it again, in a couple of years.

Hope there is something useful in that for you, Hock.

Best regards,
Mike Lee

Tod Schneider wrote 589 days ago

I just read your opening chapter, and I think it's great! You really capture the feel of martial arts, and you give us a very active scenario within which to deliver information. The questions at the end of the chapter serve as something of a hook, as well as insight into our hero's thinking.
Critique-wise, I only saw one minor errata -- the second to last line in chapter one seems off by a word or two. Perhaps you meant "What should I say at the meeting of the Politburo committee on Public Security in two days..."
But overall, good storytelling. You have an interesting background to apply to your writing! Best of luck with this!
and if you have any interest in children's literature, you are invited to look at the Lost Wink.
Thanks,
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 593 days ago

Hock,
A meticulously contrived plot this, what with Spymaster Wang weaving an intricate web of alliances to prevent a disastrous shifting of power in the Afghan-Pakistani corridor with British and American spooks drawn into the action. Certainly, the martial arts prowess of both the Spymaster and the Spy-mistress provides the possibility of a bonding based on mutual admiration but that is mere conjecture, albeit an interesting one. Your narrative proceeds with a mechanical precision using descriptives that cover all relevant points to a scene or action sequence, your dialogue adding polish to backstory where required. Your protagonist Wang, efficiently cruel by nature of his profession, exhibits some very human imperfections that make him a sympathetic character. Thank you so much for the captivating read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean,

Abby Vandiver wrote 601 days ago

This is good and the writing what you'd expect in such a book. You shouldn't use the colons when saying what someone said, just a comma. It interrupts the flow but still the story was good. Well-written.

Abby

J.Adams wrote 613 days ago

P.S. Just read what Joe (Wussyboy) wrote, and I agree, I'd like a little more information on the main characters. Although I've only read the first two very short chapters, but I hope Wang and Tang continue to be developed. Also Li.

Cheers!
Judy

J.Adams wrote 613 days ago

Hi Hock,

Chapter One --

I've just started your interesting novel. You've drawn me in immediately in spite of the fact that I don't care much for the military - any military. But as a student of a martial art, Aikido, I appreciated your description of the way Wang and Li train together.

In the paragraph that begins: "Then Chen discovered that Li had a well-concealed obligation..." The final sentence reads: "The two men could not yet find a convenient occasion for discussing this distressing matter." I'm not clear on which two men couldn't find a time to talk. Is Wang planning to discuss the problem with Li, (seems most likely, to me) or is Chen so amazed that Wang plans to continue with Li that he feels he has to sit Wang down and spell out the problem more clearly?

This is really compelling. I'm taken with Wang, who I'm wondering about. I wonder if he's continuing with Li because he likes knowing that there is a very real edge to their sparring. I am equally interested in Li, who seems like he has probably come to respect Wang for his skill and his single-mindedness in training, and therefore he (Li) probably has no wish to hurt Wang, even if he can find a way to do so.

Nice first chapter. I like Wang and Li.

Chapter Two --

I don't think the word "area" is needed in this sentence: "...there are also 25 million of them in Pakistan, mostly in the north and north west mountain regions adjacent AREA to Afghanistan," muttered Administrator Hu."

Also, I would spell out "twenty-five," but I'm not sure if there is a rule for this or not. Even though it's a number in the millions, and usually only the lower numbers are spelled out, since it isn't writtten "25,000,000" I think the "25" might be better spelled out.

Tang is a terrific character. I like strong women in novels.

In the paragraph that begins, "What do we know about the other five potential..." It says that Wang discussed most issues with Tan and Hu. Is this the same Hu who wants to kill Wang? I know the chapter begins two weeks earlier, but I'm not clear on whether this is taking place before Wang knows about Hu's request to Li to cripple or kill Wang. It seems like it's before Wang knows, but I'm not sure.

GREAT COMMENT (good observation) FROM SPYMASTER WANG!! "In a strange way, despite what we do, our world is built on trust."

I believe "cob-web" is one word, "cobweb."

I think "to" should be "on" -- or remove the word "in" in this sentence: "We can guess even if we do not have someone listening IN TO their conversations."

Excellent second chapter. I didn't have much time today to read, so have to stop now, but look forward to the third chapter soon.

Wishing you all the best,
Judy

Lenny Banks wrote 618 days ago

Hi Hock, I read chapter 4. I loved this !! I found this a facinating piece of work, it read like a movie, I could imagine the meeting taking place infront of me. I liked your writing as your voice seemed to be narating a story, but there were several places where I stalled like: '..large and modern, but nondescript building...' I wondered if the words 'and' and 'but' are nessesary here, I think you can easily get away without them. You have a great story, with a couple of tweeks it would read a little smoother but I think it wouldnt need much.Someone advised me to do a read test, reading it back to myself, you might find this helps you as well. Hope you are not offended.

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock.

Wussyboy wrote 618 days ago

Hi Hock, I just read the first two chapters of your book, really enjoyed them. The fight scene is executed brilliantly, and the Zen master philosophical nuggets are inserted at just the right places - I LOVED your opening paragraph! I see from your other comments that you have received a lot of praise and not much constructive criticism, which is a shame since I can see this, with a bit of work, as a movie - just as thought-provoking and "spiritual" as 'Ghost Dog - the Way of the Samurai' (my favourite film of all time) . The "bit of work" would mean cutting back on the 'non fiction' feel of the narrative and beefing up (a lot) on the characters, particularly their feelings. Who are we rooting for, for instance, is it Wang (who is in danger of being taken out by sneaky Li, but otherwise has no apparent quirks or weaknesses) or is it Tang, who is the ultimate killing machine, but whom we know nothing ABOUT, her family? her hopes and dreams?. In short, we need to CARE for your characters, could you make them a little more three-dimensional?

Quibbles aside, this is first-rate writing, with lots of wisdom and poetic flourishes thrown in, and I'm happy to award it six golden stars.

Joe Kovacs
Ginger the Buddha Cat

TDonna wrote 624 days ago

Your two opening sentences sunk the hook into. Few words packed with powerful intrigue, raising questions in my mind as a reader. The pace is great, starting off with simmering emotion, and through your descriptions of the battle and sentence structure, you've put me in the middle of a fast moving hand to hand fight until the motions blurred. Excellent descriptions, I don't know how you did it, but it completely captivated and felt as though I was in the scene with them. I thought the background information creating the conflict was masterfully inserted. Everything flowed smoothly. I loved your descriptions of the characters. Great dialogue between them at the end. You've connected us to your characters and that's what I needed, because now I want to know what is to transpire next. Excellent. Impeccable writing. 6 stars without hesitation from me and I'll be returning to finish this novel.

Perhaps one of my most favorite line was this one: "Nothing could exist for either man except the ebb and flow, and eddies of their movements, so fast as to be indistinct--balletic, potentially lethal." This is captivating writing.
Donna
No Kiss Good-bye

Inqusitive Agie wrote 634 days ago

The writing is excuberant. I must say that personally I would make the prologue shorter, only leaving the action bits and move the introduction and long descriptions for later in the chapters. I seems to me that you want to push too much into the prologue.
When you have so much description during action it takes out the speed and it is very important to have speed and action at the beginning of a novel in order to keep the reader's attention. This doesn't mean it has to be violent action.

Drue wrote 637 days ago

Hock, I enjoyed this chapter very much. The training encounter is not unlike foreplay. You have made both men come alive. I like that they have an adversarial equality in their match, and are both sympathetic characters. There is a tone of controlled, civilized ferocity. Good work, partner!

Margaret Anthony wrote 680 days ago

This is not a story I would probably buy to read and neither can I offer any knowledge on the geographical areas you write about. Having said all that, what I can comment on is the meticulous research you've done which shines through the narrative and your clear, concise writing style with effective pace.
All too sadly this is a topical idea in view of today's ongoing military action and I would think this is possibly a man's book rather than a woman's. Being one of the latter, what did strike me is there is almost a regimented style of events which perhaps lack an emotional strand in order to fulfil the needs of a novel rather than a non'fiction book. This of course is just my thoughts sent with respect. Starred and shelved especially for your attention to detail in this book. Margaret.

Christopher Roy Denton wrote 698 days ago

Hi again!

Unexpectedly, I found some time today to read chapter one. Here are my thoughts:-

The Afridi tribe are more famous as a border tribe, and have clans on both side of the Khyber Pass. The area they inhabit is that which is considered a nogo area by Pakistani authorities within the FATA.

In the sentence beginning ‘His mother had passed away a few years ago…’ you write that her brother is keeping an eye out for HIS children etc. Did you mean ‘her’ children?

When the soldier greets the shopkeeper, ‘Asalam alikum, Shopkeeper’ would be more appropriate, and ‘Wa alikum salam, Soldier’ essential as a response.

When the soldier says ‘Allah may grant your wish,’ I thought that using the Arabic phrase would be better for pov, ie ‘inshallah.’

Similarly, when ‘God is great’ (by which I assume you mean, ‘God is the greater’ allahuakbar) I think that the Arabic massallah (God has made it happen, implied it’s a good thing) would work better for pov. Most readers should be familiar with these common phrases, and if they are not, now is a good time to instruct them.

The jirga between many tribes is generally referred to as the Grand Jirga.

I’m not comfortable with your policy of putting translations of terms, such as jirga, into brackets after the word is used. It isn’t natural in the dialogue. Maybe a glossary might work better.

Why do the Pukhtuns in your story conceal their weapons? The jezail is worn openly by men in FATA, and is referred to as a man’s jewellery.

The sentence beginning, ‘Yes, it was nicely timed in beginning…’ sounds a little clunky to my ears.

The conclusion of chapter one is a bit weak, like a song fading out at the end rather than coming to a strong end. I feel that if it ended on ‘Go in peace,’ then it would be a stronger ending, emphasizing the hypocrisy in the nephew’s words.

I enjoyed chapter one. You’ve clearly done lots of research into the culture and geography of the Pukhtuns.

All the best,

Chris :D

Christopher Roy Denton wrote 699 days ago

Hi!

I've just read your prologue and thought I'd let you know I found it exceedingly well written: well paced, full of interesting hooks (like Li's order from Wu to kill/maim Wang and the mention of Operation Kashgar in the concluding sentence)

The premise of your novel sounds most interesting. You clearly have a very multinational approach and a good knowledge of a range of different cultures. I shall place this on my WL and come back to see if your sections set in Afghanistan and West Pakistan meet up to the same high standards as this Chinese excerpt. (I would read it tonight, but it's late and I don't come on here on Sundays much for family reasons)

Good luck with this anyway!

All the best,

Chris :D

Sharda D wrote 714 days ago

Hi Hock,
here for our reading swap, thanks again for looking at mine.

This is a wonderful start to a well written, well researched novel.

Here's the nitty gritty:
Your short pitch is good but your long pitch is a little dense. Perhaps thin it out a bit, it shouldn’t be a synopsis, more of a ‘tease’! Some shorter paragraphs will help to make it more readable too.

Prologue:
Your first two sentences are good, but slightly wordy. Perhaps try to get the sentiment in one line. It’s a bit disjointed at the moment with two sentences.

I loved this prologue. You were very good and helping us to visualise each part of the fight. I should imagine that is very hard to get right, but it was perfect. You got the balance between clarity and speed.

You can leave out “that served for Wang’s weekly test for his readiness in hand to hand combat” it makes the sentence too long and it’s probably not needed. It gets in the way of your flow.

I love all the Zen master philosophy. Fabulous.

“What distracted him most, however, was that he had received word from Comrade Commissar Wu a month ago that it was time to kill or cripple the Spymaster.” Great premise. Well done.

FATA part 1:
This is a slight come-down in pace after the combat sequence in the Prologue. Your pace drops off at the beginning of this chapter as there’s perhaps a little too much backstory in one lump. Perhaps break it up with some action + dialogue, or shift it later in the chapter where there is lots of dialogue.
“The Soldier came neither as a deserter from nor...” this starts a very hefty paragraph. Perhaps break it up a little more.

I don't have much more to offer because I think this was really well written. Your style is crisp and clear and the subject matter is fascinating. You are very good at action, so try to get it in as much as you can.
All the best,
6 stars from me.
Sharda.

jlbwye wrote 732 days ago

Operation Kashgar. I find your pitches intriguing, but I have to concentrate hard to get a feel for your story. The short one is quite matter-of-fact. Perhaps it needs to lure the reader in with more subtlety? The long pitch reads as a complicated account of the events in your book. Maybe less of the mechanics of the plot, and more about the characters and their emotions would be an idea? But this is only my opinion.

I take notes as I read, but dont pretend to be an expert. I tend to notice nits - hope you dont mind?

Ch.1. A great opening scene, with the sparring Spymaster and his trainer, which transports me into your world.
There are some unnecessary / vague words, which can safely be deleted, thereby increasing the smooth flow of your story: immediately, particular, usually, barely, apparently, only, really, very (Ch.2) still, almost.

'Act without desiring the results of your action!' An interesting and powerful concept. I find this insight into your unfamiliar world totally intriguing.
But you give an account of the fighting men in a detached way, without my feeling their pain, their stress, emotions and endeavours. But perhaps that is the way in China.

Ch.2. You have 'tried' and 'close to' twice in the first two sentences. There are other repetitions to search for and remedy, like protection.

Somehow, the continuous use of "They" spoils my concentration. Maybe, after defining the word, you could just refer to them as the enemy group, the guerillas, or some such?

Your account of the intrigues is absorbing, but it you remained in one viewpoint only - say, that of the Soldier - instead of drifiting between the Soldier and Ali, I would be less muddled about who is saying and thinking what. Perhaps you could have the Soldier suspect what Ali and the Shopkeeper are up to, and then re3veal it in a later chapter, or section of a chapter?

But these are only suggestions, and it is your book. You have a strong plot and a topical idea. I admire your courage in writing in a language which is not your mother tongue. That would be impossible for me! You will need to find the help of a professional editor, to make it acceptable for reading in the English speaking world, but it would be worth it, as you have some important things to say.

Thankyou for the read, and I look forward to your return read of mine.

Jane (Breath of Africa)

Adeel wrote 747 days ago

A very interesting book based on a realistic idea. You have told the things which are on one way going on in this world under several covers and on other way the plannings for turning the things in to reality are taking its shape. The doubts and fears described by you are strong enough and it seems that another Great Game is taking its shape into the Asian Region. I have WL your book and will be reading more of it. Highly starred. Best of luck.

Adeel wrote 753 days ago

The book is on my WL and i will be coming back with comments within couple of days.

A G Chaudhuri wrote 756 days ago

Dear Hock,

OPERATION KASHGAR – I must say that the long pitch reads much better now. It not only explains China’s interest in this complex geo-political drama, but also packs enough hooks to grab the reader’s attention. Reading on, I was once more impressed by the fantastic opening chapter, which you’ve improved further. You don’t seem to have changed much in the next chapter, but you’ve done well to briefly explain the local customs and the ethnic composition of the region. This was as far as I had read the last time. I plan to read the rest of the chapters posted here soon, and then I’ll get back to you if I have more to add. A small suggestion here: Edward Norton Lorenz’s quotation should be moved to the top of the chapter for better effect.

Best regards,
AGC


Iva P. wrote 758 days ago

This is an unusual, very distant style for a fiction. We have no access to the characters' thoughts and motivations and there is no appeal to the senses, no descriptions of the settings.The reader has to suppply the visuals from newscasts and documentaries about the region. I shelved it for the author's profound knowledge of facts.

Iva Polansky / Fame and Infamy

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