by Elizabeth Lowell

1986 Reissue
ISBN: 1-55166-823-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

The Chinese called him Dragon. He had once answered to other names; some of them had spread fear across much of Indochina. But that was long ago - another lifetime. Now, Jacob Catlin was a respected, wealthy businessman. And unless you looked closely and noticed the lightning-fast reflexes, the highly toned body and the predatory golden eyes, there was nothing to announce that this man could well hold the future of Asian-American relations in his callused hand.

Lindsay Danner, renowned expert in the area of Asian art and Chinese bronzes in particular, certainly had no idea that she would become closely involved in a complex game of politics. On the morning that the call came for an unusual meeting at the FBI, no sixth sense alerted her to the fact that she might well be taking the first step towards her own ruin. Lindsay and Catlin were the pawns in an international chess match in which the opening gambit was about to be played!

Yes, this is a romance, and Lindsay and Catlin do not disappoint us. But please don't read this book just for the love scenes because you'll miss a particularly fine and detailed plot! In what may well have been a precursor to the style of writing Ms. Lowell uses in her "Donovan" books, this tale delves into the complex world of international politics with its myriad twists and turns. Revolving around the possible theft of priceless Chinese bronzes, Lindsay and Catlin tread a corkscrew path through intrigue, betrayal and murder, each harboring their own secrets. Their masquerade as lovers becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain - Lindsay battles against her heart, which is telling her she is falling in love with Catlin! He is desperately trying to stay uninvolved with Lindsay - experience has taught him that that way only leads to disaster! But inevitably Lindsay's charm and honesty melt the ice in Catlin's amber eyes and she invades his soul - even though he knows that loving her might be the most dangerous threat of all!

This book is fascinating, provocative and complex. These characteristics are shared by Catlin and Lindsay, who bring their own experiences to their ideals and personalities. The diplomats, intelligence officers, smugglers, crooks and spies who populate this story are brilliantly written - Ms. Lowell must have had a very long and complicated set of notes because the plot resolves itself perfectly and all the loose ends are knotted, tied and snipped off quite tidily. I dislike using the term "challenging read" for fear of deterring some readers, but this is one book that deserves your full attention. It is very easy to get lost in these pages, so be warned - if you start this novel, make sure you have enough time to finish it in the near future! You will not want to put it down!

Reviewed in September 2001 by Celia.

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