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The Shanghai Factor de Charles McCarry
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The Shanghai Factor (edició 2013)

de Charles McCarry (Autor)

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945222,107 (4.04)3
An American spy in China. Name: Unknown. Status: Sleeper. Just when he thought life had settled into a pleasant routine, he is called back to Washington. His assignment: go undercover as the American ambassador for a massive Chinese multinational conglomerate, and learn the secrets of their powerful CEO Chen Qi, whom HQ believes to be a front man for the nearly uncrackable Chinese Intelligence, known as the Guoanbu.… (més)
Títol:The Shanghai Factor
Autors:Charles McCarry (Autor)
Informació:Mysterious Press (2013), Edition: First Edition, 336 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Shanghai Factor de Charles McCarry

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A young American spy is sent to Shanghai with no more explicit assignment than to learn the language and culture and to wait and see what happens. So begins Charles McCarry's 2013 espionage thriller “The Shanghai Factor.”

Not much happens other than that some Chinese thugs toss him into a filthy river for no apparent reason. And he has an affair with a beautiful and mysterious young woman, who eventually disappears as suddenly as she appeared in the first place. Then he is offered a job with a big salary and little responsibility by the head of a large Chinese corporation.

Yet soon his job is terminated and our spy is back in the States, still being followed everywhere, as he was in Shanghai, by Chinese stalkers. Then he encounters a woman who is both a wonderful cook and a skilled assassin, a Chinese-American lawyer with whom he attended college and a Chinese spy who wants to recruit him as a double agent.

The tension builds gradually as the reader, like our young American spy, tries to figure out what is going on. And what exactly is his handler, with the unlikely name of Luther Burbank, trying to accomplish?

McCarry has been turning out first-rate spy novels for decades. His readers won't be disappointed with this one. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 1, 2019 |
If you're an avid fan of 'spy' fiction and you love the tradecraft, cat & mouse games, chess-like thinking, and other aspects of these novels that make them so interesting, you'll love Charles McCarry's 'The Shanghai Factor'. In addition to all the building blocks that make great spy thrillers, throw in a lot of sex as well as exotic locales and you'll experience a winning combination. My only warning is that this is one of those stories that requires concentration on the reader's part. If you're not paying attention, you'll be lost by about page 15.

The Shanghai Factor is the story of an American intelligence agent who's embedded (in a couple of different ways) in China. He's under the control of a mysterious leader at HQ (I assume it's the CIA, though I don't think it's ever spelled out explicitly). His mission is pretty much a mystery to him and the readers and really doesn't become clear until the end. It's an intricately plotted novel that will force you to wonder in almost every interaction that takes place what the heck is really happening, and why.

McCarry's writing is excellent and the dialogue is very crisp and believable. It's narrated in the first person by the American agent (what's his name? Who knows, pick one.....) and the descriptions of the locales and the people he interacts with in China are carefully crafted. He does a nice job developing the character of the narrator and likewise shows as us much as he can of his mysterious handler, Luther Burbank. The spy vs. spy action, tradecraft, and violence are all very well-done.

I've just recently 'discovered' Charles McCarry and am kicking myself for not being aware of such an excellent writer in my favorite genre. However, on the bright side I have another 10 or so of his novels to experience, and if they're as good as the first 2 I've read I'll be a happy reader. ( )
  gmmartz | May 10, 2017 |
This Shanghai-U.S. East Coast-based spy thriller is reminiscent of the early works of John le Carré, where the question always is, Whom can you trust? And the answer: no one. At least that’s how the unnamed narrator, a new CIA recruit, chooses to operate. Paranoia 101. Throughout, it’s McCarry’s wry observations of characters and their situations that make the reading such a pleasure.
Undocumented CIA agents, like the narrator, ". . . never carry official ID. This absence of proof that they’re up to no good is their protection. Otherwise, they are warned, they’re on their own. If they get themselves into trouble, they’ll get no help. If they do well, they’ll get no thanks. That formula is, of course, catnip to romantics."
McCarry gives his protagonist a deceptive openness and surface sociability. A Chinese languages major in college, he’s been sent to Shanghai to improve his language skills and cultural acumen and to keep a lookout for potential Agency recruits.
Early in his stay, a beautiful young woman crashes her bike into his, he buys her an expensive replacement, and before long, they’re lovers. It’s a fun way to learn the language not generally endorsed by Berlitz. From the beginning, he assumes she’d been sent by the Guoanbu, the Chinese intelligence service. Other than her name, Mei, he never asks her any questions about her background—what would be the point?—except to learn she was an exchange student in Massachusetts, which accounts for her American English. Nor does she ask such questions of him—ditto. Plus, he figures she already knows.
Through Mei, he meets wealthy, upwardly mobile young Chinese, disdainful of their stodgy Communist parents. Through one of them, he meets a prominent Chinese CEO and receives an employment offer he suspects is a feeler from Guoanbu. Such a placement could be invaluable to the CIA, if highly risky to him.
McCarry creates a number of entertaining secondary characters, especially lusty Mei, the hot-and-cold Chinese spy Lin Ming, and his mother’s former crack-addict cook, Magdalena. Are any of them what and who they seem? Then there’s his handler, the eccentric CIA director of counter-intelligence Luther Burbank (to the surprise of horticulturalists everywhere), who advises him take the job. Burbank is the only man at the Agency who knows what he’s up to, and they talk only rarely. When they do, Burbank counsels that becoming a an effective espionage agent and undermining Guoanbu, will be a long game, vulnerable to exposure at every turn. They have to be content to wait for the payoff. He does take the job and, from there, life gets complicated.
McCarry’s writing is smooth and literary, and one of my favorite authors, Alan Furst, calls him “a master of intelligent, literate spy fiction.” If you like an old-fashioned spy story dependent more on agents’ wits than electronic wizardry and body count, you may enjoy this one too. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Jan 12, 2017 |
An American espionage officer in China becomes involved in an elaborate conspiracy in which all is not as it seems. He has a Chinese lover who may or may not be spying on him and a job in which he reports only to one man. This is a well-paced, gripping, novel. The only flaw is that it wraps up rather abruptly. There is a lot of intriguing information about China and espionage in general. Charles McCarry has written some of the best espionage novels around and this is a welcome addition. ( )
  Hagelstein | Aug 28, 2016 |
A flawed but deeply fascinating novel of a young CIA agent, a fluent Mandarin speaker, who becomes involved in a complex plot hatched by the CIA's Chief of Counterintelligence...but I won't spoil it for you, nor, frankly, could I quite explain it. This a novel very much of words, not action. Yet, the interactions between the interesting cast of characters, the agent, the CIA chief, a Chinese spy, the various women in the agent's life, a female assassin, a ruthless Chinese company chief, etc. etc. are so fascinating that the book actually turned into a real page-turner by its last third. Not surprisingly, since the author spent 10 years in the CIA, the mundane work of being a spy is also convincingly portrayed. Not so successful are the backgrounds. New York comes across okay, but McCarry's portrayal of modern Shanghai seems to have come from reading a couple of pages on Wikipedia or something. And a scene toward the end of the book, in Suzhou, where the American agent is convinced that if he speaks to a beautiful Chinese woman for more than a few minutes someone will call the police is a bit ludicrous given that the sight of Western expatriate males together with Chinese women is beyond commonplace. Lastly, the book's ending is a bit abrupt, with a multi-year postscript that is a bit out of place with the rest of the text, which treats small incidents with a very close lens. And trying to revisit all the various plot twists after we know what happens at the end is likely to result in realizing that the story is so unlikely as to not make any sense at all--but, still, one job of fiction is to carry you away for a while, and THE SHANGHAI FACTOR succeeded in doing that. McCarry writes very well, and I will remember some of these characters for quite a while. I would definitely be tempted to look into some of his other work. ( )
2 vota datrappert | Feb 23, 2013 |
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An American spy in China. Name: Unknown. Status: Sleeper. Just when he thought life had settled into a pleasant routine, he is called back to Washington. His assignment: go undercover as the American ambassador for a massive Chinese multinational conglomerate, and learn the secrets of their powerful CEO Chen Qi, whom HQ believes to be a front man for the nearly uncrackable Chinese Intelligence, known as the Guoanbu.

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