Revolution isn’t war, it’s an expression of national freedom…I know what is seething beneath the surface of this country. When the time comes, the people will rise and take what is rightly theirs.

Major Mark Rawlings of the Royal Engineers is ordered to Shanghai to inspect the wreckage of a collapsed railroad bridge and determine who is at fault. On ship from Hong Kong, he *steps* on the foot of Alexandra (Alex) Mostyn, daughter of a wealthy Shanghai merchant and every inch a liberated woman of the 1920’s, although the two don’t exactly get off on the right foot (pun intended). Mark is a straight shooter and immediately buts heads with Alex’s double-dealing father when he won’t provide the white washed report on the rail disaster Mostyn expected from him.

Mark finds himself being drawn to Alex, as much as he dislikes her wild ways and friends (especially Lionel and his socialist leanings), and Alex very much wants to be the woman who can bury Mark’s demons forever. Mark has some serious skeletons in his closet, dating back to the time he served in Russia aiding the White Russians against the Red, and he hopes to find the answers he needs among the White Russian refugees in Shanghai, but he ends up with something very unexpected. Will this surprise from his past destroy the love growing between him and Alexandra? Meanwhile, China is a hot bed of intrigues, politics and dirty dealings as Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army is on the rise and heading straight for Shanghai, and…

When peasant marches against peasant the only really effective result is that the population is markedly decreased. Gregori Petrovich, what happened in Russia is about to happen in China, yet the world stands by.”

“Revolution imposes instant changes. Those at its head have been training for months, often years, for their new roles as rulers. The the masses, the simple citizens, are forced into instant situations they cannot handle. They can be taught, as you said, but it takes time. In Russia it is too late. The dread deed is done. The people agonised for freedom, but they go on agonising. Who knows when or if they will ever recover? Here in China is has not yet happened. There is time for the people to be taught…and it is what we are doing.

Sorry, you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out, but you’ll find plenty of intrigue, treachery, blackmail along with a kidnapping and a hair-raising rescue or two. I wasn’t too warm and fuzzy over Alex’s character at first, but once we saw beneath the surface I was rooting for her, and Mark is quite the long-suffering hero who has to go through hell and back before he gets that HEA (or does he?). I never knew much about China’s revolution except that they’d had one, so that was interesting to *see* some of the events first hand. According to the author’s notes her story “was strengthened by the personal reminiscences of two of my uncles, who were amongst those rushed out from England to defend British residence and their property.” A bit uneven here and there and definitely not Drummond’s strongest work, but a good solid read and one I had a hard time putting down. 3.5/5 stars.FTC? Library loot.

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