The Gold Swan: A Novel
As James Thayer's stunning new thriller begins, a self-confident China is about to erect the word's tallest and most dramatic building. It is intended as a celebration of China's 5,000 years of civilization, and the communist government wants to be sure that the new structure cannot be topped, that it will "never" be topped.
The tower resembles no other structure in the world. It is in the form of the moon in its first quarter, a grand swoop, and its midpoint, which is 1,250 feet above grade, is fully 500 feet off the vertical alignment between top and bottom. Like New York's Seagram Building, it is completely clad in bronze. The tower has razor-sharp convex and concave edges in the shape of a sickle. People prefer, however, to see the structure as resembling a long and graceful swan's neck, with the viewing platforms and restaurants on top as the bronze head. While the official name of the tower is the Fifth Millennium China Tower, Hong Kong citizens have taken to calling it the Gold Swan.
As James Thayer's novel begins, the Gold Swan is nearing completion. The architectural press is almost unanimous: the tower is the eighth wonder of the world. It is bold and magnificent, graceful and lyrical. It is architect John Llewellyn's masterpiece.
And it may be about to collapse.
In a thriller that sends Llewellyn's chief security man, Clay Williams, and Llewellyn's girlfriend, young architect Anne Iverson, plunging into the world of Chinese politics, Thayer spins a knockout yarn in which murder, power, and incalculable amounts of "face" are at stake as Clay and Anne uncover the dreadful truth about Chinese colossal monument to its own past -- and future.