From the Publisher
As a potentially cataclysmic situation brews between Beijing and Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Desaix Clark is sent to China to assess the threat that this enigmatic Asian nation could pose to the United States. The two Chinese rulers vying for power - the machiavellian Prime Minister and the ruthless Defense Minister - each seek to manipulate Clark against the other. But whom can he trust? Before he can unravel the final mystery, he must confront some fundamental facts about himself and the mission upon which he was sent. Why did his closest friend, the Secretary of State, really send him to China? Thrust into a deadly web of conspiracy, deceit, and betrayal, Clark races to uncover the truth as the West faces one of the most insidious threats to its security. Pax Pacifica delves brilliantly into the ancient art of Chinese political strategy that, pitted against a Western psychological mind-set, forces Clark to face the shifting realities that are an integral part of this rarely glimpsed realm of high-stakes international diplomacy.
From The Critics
Intricate Oriental intrigue lies at the heart of this psycho-political thriller from Pieczenik (Maximum Vigilance), who once again turns to crafty Cajun protagonist Dr. Desaix Clark to solve an international crisis. This time, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs must travel to China to defuse the rivalry between Prime Minister Lee Ann Wu (``ambitious, willful, and manipulative'') and her Defense Minister, General Y.K. Chang (``an ugly, ruthless son of a bitch''). Clark also must determine if the pair's shady maneuvers with Taiwan and Japan are designed to unite East Asia or to generate a war that will bring a new balance of power to the region. Once in China, Clark finds diplomacy giving way to danger as he is taken hostage by Chang, and to romance as he dallies with Prime Minister Wu. Pieczenik's story line is tangled, sometimes overly so, but a wealth of fascinating detail about contemporary China (rampant pollution in Beijing; cannibalism in the provinces) makes it more enticing. Throughout, moreover-and especially in scenes like the gripper in which Clark is forced to watch a man being tortured-Piecznik's ability to excavate ever deeper layers of character motivation is on full display, making this a strong bet for thriller fans who prefer the firing of neurons to the firing of guns.