Reviewer Janet Walker: Janet is the author of Colour To Die For, first of the Fee Weston Mystery Series. Janet lives in Australia and when she is not writing about P.I. Fee Weston's fight for truth, justice and a livable cash flow, she writes articles for magazines and fund raises for Australia's wildlife carers - heroes of the bush. For more about Janet and Fee visit Janet's WEBSITE
Author: Michael C. Boxall
Author: Michael C. Boxall
The Great Firewall is a speed read – a fast paced, multi layered thriller, it rips along seguing between present day Shanghai and the 1920’s story integral to the computer game the main character, Software Programmer, Daniel Skye has created.
Michael C. Boxall, the
writer, was born in England. He has worked as a print journalist and
has won multimedia awards in the areas of educational CD’s and
non-fiction. The Great Firewall is his first novel and it’s a good
The story begins with a clip from Daniel Skye’s computer game. Set in Shanghai’s 1923 White Russian community it’s called The Riding Instructor and the game’s action takes place in the corrupt, violent society, poverty stricken immigrants, fleeing from the Russian revolution had no other choice but to settle in. As the period of history between the two world wars is of interest to me this book grabbed my attention from page one with the author’s intense descriptions of life in downtown 1920’s Shanghai – lots of fun if you’re cashed up, the pits if you’re not.
Daniel’s game has the
facility to allow players to create their own movies by editing and
putting together clips in seemingly endless permutations. This
appeared unlikely to succeed to me as it sounded complicated, but as
I’m not au fait with the workings of computer games, it’s
probably quite plausible to those who are. Daniel, convinced of the
future success of The Riding Instructor, if he can raise enough
capital to complete and market it, has put his heart and all his
finances into the project. Like all great ideas there are pitfalls to
avoid lest your idea and money sinks into a great big black hole.
When the story switches to present day, Daniel is teetering
on the brink of a particularly large black hole; he’s virtually
bankrupt and his wife, Sophia, extremely annoyed at the reversal of
their joint finances has left him. Daniel’s only recourse to get
the project and maybe his wife back on track is to fly to Shanghai to
get his influential friend, Pierre to introduce him to investors. The
only flaw to this manouvere is that in a parting shot, Sophia tells
Daniel that Pierre has recently tried to seduce her – not something
that pleases Daniel but he figures after he gets Pierre's help to
raise funds he will confront him with Sophia’s accusation.
Arriving in Shanghai, Daniel is drawn into Pierre’s shadowy world of political dissidents, corrupt governments officials and ruthless property developers. China, recently emerged as a powerful player in world financial markets is a frightening place to be when you’re not sure who your friends are or if you have any. Vulnerable and alone, Daniel is faced with a choice: be a success and damn the consequences or be a success and remain true to those that matter; his family and the dispossessed residents of Shanghai.
There’s a lot to like in The Great Firewall, the writing is uniformly good, the suspense and excitement level are high and the reader really wants Daniel Skye to succeed both as a businessman and as a compassionate human being. An absorbing read, I will be watching for Michael C. Boxall’s next book.
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