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Thriller Review – A Dragon for Christmas

A Dragon for Christmas
by Gavin Black

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

For readers wanting to something different, try this thriller set in Peking in 1963. Canny Scotsman Paul Harris is a salesman of engines for marine craft the size of Chinese junks. Based in Singapore, he is assigned to the People’s Paradise to sell the commissars a thousand engines. But he meets with many situations that threaten to take his life.

Convincing characterization and an authentic background make the 250 pages, longer than I like for a thriller, go by in just a couple of nights. Paul Harris has a background that makes him a tough, clever and resourceful businessman and action hero. He and his older brother were born in China. During World War II he and his family were interned by the occupying Japanese. He had to become hardened and smart to deal with deprivation and violence in the camps. After the war, he and his brother started an import/export business that included a little smuggling to freedom fighters in places like Sumatra.

The real name of the author of the 13 books in the Paul Harris series was Oswald Wynd (1913 – 1998). He is most well-known for the excellent novel The Ginger Tree, a novel about a young English girl dealing with an unsettled personal life and turbulent times in China and Japan at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. That novel was made into a Masterpiece Theater production in the late Eighties.

Wynd was familiar with Asia because he was born a missionary child in Tokyo. He was captured during the war in Malaya and did time in a POW camp run by the Japanese. He has keen insight into the psychological effects captivity, semi-starvation, torture, and prolonged stress have on its sufferers.



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