I love espionage books. However, the farther from the Cold War era we get, the less good espionage books I can find. Stories are more focused on military intelligence (which I enjoy, but aren't spy books). Most of my spy reading has involved CIA and MI-6. When I saw The Shanghai Factor in the Highbridge Audio newsletter I knew I had to get it.
Before listening to this audio book, I would never have known what the intelligence agency of China was called. I've never really thought about it, so it was interesting to learn a little about how China's system works.
However, it was not the fast pace spy novel I typically read. I was expecting whiplash inducing ping-pong match of covert moves and counter moves. Instead I got a calculated game of chess, or more aptly wei chi.
The story is told as a memoir. Maybe it is the unnamed narrator's confession. He is a newish CIA agent doing his language immersion training in Shanghai. A bike accident that may or may not have been orchestrated is only the beginning of convenient incidents.
Like the narrator, you don't know who to trust; what the truth is. There's enough bread crumbs for you to be suspicious of certain actions and form a few hunches.
I was worried that there would be too many twists and slight of hand tricks to follow as an audio book. As it is a retailing of the events, the story is relatively straight forward and easy to follow. If you are traveling this summer or just driving back and forth to work, The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry would make an excellent listen.
Buy The Shanghai Factor at Amazon
Book info: audio, Published June 2013 by Highbridge Audio
Listened: June 2013
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