December 6 - Audio CD - Abridged Author:Martin Cruz Smith, John Slattery (Narrator) From Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and Havana Bay, comes another audacious novel of exotic locales, intimate intrigues and the mysteries of the human heart: December 6. — Set in the crazed, nationalistic Tokyo of late 1941, December 6 explores the coming world war through the other end of history's prism ... more »-- a prism held here by an unforgettable rogue and lover, Harry Niles.
In many ways, Niles is as American as apple pie: raised by ultra-protective missionary parents, taught to honor and respect his elders and be an upright Christian citizen. But Niles is also Japanese: reared in the aesthetics of Shinto and educated in the dance halls and back room poker gatherings of Tokyo's shady underworld. As a gaijin, a foreigner -- especially one with a gift for the artful scam -- he draws suspicion and disfavor from Japanese police. This potent mixture of stiff tradition and intrigue -- not to mention his brazen love affair with a Japanese mistress who would rather kill Harry than lose him -- fills Harry's final days in Tokyo with suspense and fear. Who is he really working for? Is he a spy? For America? For the Emperor?
Now, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Harry himself must decide where his true allegiances lie. Suspenseful, exciting, and replete with detailed research Martin Cruz Smith brings to all his novels, December 6 is a triumph of imagination, history, and storytelling melded into a magnificent whole.
Not my usual sort of novel, but I always really enjoy Cruz Smith's writing... the Arkady Renko books hooked me, I have to admit!
December 6 (published as Tokyo Station in the UK) is a historical novel focusing on a wheeler-dealer type, Harry Niles, in Tokyo in the days leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of war between Japan and the US. Harry is the son of American missionaries, but, neglected by them as a child, he has always, culturally, felt more Japanese. But in a Japan that is increasingly more hostile toward gaijin, he is torn between the two - with both a Japanese mistress and a British one, conflicting political loyalties... and as well, a conflict between his risk-running, gambling nature, and the desire to save his own skin...
There's some spy action, samurai violence, betrayals and loyalty, plenty of drama - excellent characterization, but the setting really made the book, with its vivid depiction of an unusual, transitory and fragile time in Japan...
This book from the author of Gorky Park was not what I expected. I almost stopped listening to it early in the first CD because of that but decided to hang in a bit longer - by midway of the 2nd CD I was hooked! It was really a great book with an interesting and very different perspective. Riveting and engrossing with unexpected twists and turns - definitely recommend.