Shan was once an Inspector stationed in Beijing, but he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Shan has since been living among outlawed Buddhist monks, without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing. While settling into a menial job as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches in a remote Tibetan township, he encounters a grotesque crime scene: the bodies of two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun are found on the grounds of an old Buddhist convent. Shan quickly realizes that the murders pose a riddle the Chinese police seem to be covering up. When the evidence leads to a new internment camp for Tibetan dissidents arrested in Beijing's latest pacification campaign, Shan recognizes the dangerous landscape he has entered. To find justice for the victims and to protect a terrified American woman who witnessed the murders, Shan must navigate through the treacherous worlds of the internment camp, the local criminal gang, and the government's rabid pacification teams, while coping with growing doubts about his own identity and role in Tibet. Set against the astonishing landscape of this beleaguered Himalayan country and the epic struggle of the Tibetan people, Shan's difficult and twisted journey to the truth becomes a passage through the many layers of tragedy inflicted by China on Tibet and its people.
Pattison dramatically portrays the bitter oppression suffered by the Tibetan people under Communist China in his excellent seventh novel featuring Chinese investigator Shan Tao Yun. Pattison movingly delineates the difficulties of seeking justice under a police state in this brilliantly constructed and passionate whodunit. Publishers Weekly (starred review) Pattison portrays the oppression of the Tibetan people with dramatic delicacy and rich insight. While Mandarin Gate is set in a locale farther away than most readers will ever dare venture, this mystery brings the plight of Tibet into sharp focus, weaving the region's cultural, social and political conflict into a compelling narrative. CNN.com"
Eliot Pattison is the author of The Skull Mantra, which won the Edgar Award and was a finalist for the Gold Dagger, as well Water Touching Stone and Bone Mountain. Pattison is a world traveler and frequent visitor to China, and his numerous books and articles on international policy issues have been published around the world.