House of Eight Orchids
“James Thayer delivers a vivid and compelling thriller set in 1937 China. . . Readers will travel to a time and place unfamiliar yet also strikingly real. . . . Thayer has created a gripping portrayal of loyalty and treachery in a rarely seen world of China at war.”
Eunuch Chang still wears a queue in the Manchu fashion. At his Chungking compound, John has learned to become a skilled confidence man and a proficient assassin. He speaks three languages, and has been taught mathematics and astronomy. He has studied Shaolin Temple kung fu for twenty years. He is eunuch Chang’s most valuable ward, a huge money-maker. John is a dutiful “son.” John’s brother William—with more of an artist’s heart--learned the craft of forgery.
The story opens in 1937, when John is 30. China is in chaos, with the Japanese invaders, the Nationalists, and the Communists fighting for territory. Chungking is filled with soldiers, foreign missionaries, refugees, confidence men, Japanese spies, and beggars.
When William betrays Eunuch Chang and escapes to central China, a place of ferocious warlords and bandits, John begins a desperate search to save his brother. And the merciless Eunuch Chang, who values obedience and loyalty above all other traits, hunts them both.
“James Thayer, the very talented storyteller behind this book, always knows how to serve to the reader’s delight. The mastery of characters and the ability to bring to life locations that most have never seen so vividly that they almost seem to be the view out your own window is incredible. Readers and fans will love this new dose of Thayer’s talent.”
“James Thayer’s novel is more than the story of one man’s struggle against a greater power. It’s a retelling of a part of world history not many people now living may be aware: the conflict in China during the Japanese invasion and the US’s part in that war.”
—New York Journal of Books.
“Thayer limns a vivid picture of a tumultuous time in Chinese history.”
“A complex and detail-rich adventure story.”
“This book will keep you reading till the midnight hours!”
—San Francisco Book Review.