Set in Hong Kong in 1857, Hangman's Point takes place during one of the most exciting periods in the colony's often dramatic history. Its main character, Andrew Adams, is a ne'er-do-well American ex-seaman who manages a tavern called the Bee Hive in the racous Chinese section of the colony. He lives above a Chinese medicine shop with his American barmaid girlfriend. On the side, he is involved with various underground societies (Triads), clandestine gambling and the smuggling of weapons into China. Adams is framed for murder by a beautiful Englishwoman and, while on trial, will be forced to plan a prison escape. Many events in the novel are based on historical incidents such as the Chinese slave trade, an arsenic poisoning and the massacre of foreigners on board the postal steamer, Thistle. The novel also provides glimpses of "foreign devils" through the eyes of the Chinese.
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