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the firemaker


THE FIREMAKER opens the lid on a Pandora's Box of genetic food engineering and gives us a terrifying glimpse of the doomsday scenario that could await if the scientists get it wrong.

Set in contemporary China, it features Beijing detective Li Yan, and American pathologist, Margaret Campbell, as they track the killer of a government scientist whose horribly burned corpse is found smouldering in a Beijing park.

She is a forensic pathologist from Chicago on a six-week lecture trip to the University of Public Security in Beijing. She has fled to China to escape from a broken heart and a shattered life. He is a newly promoted detective who finds himself walking in the footsteps of an uncle who was a near legend in the Beijing police force.

On the night that the scientist is burned to death, there are two other murders in the city. All three are inextricably, but inexplicably, linked.

Li's uncle, now retired, prefers to play chess in the park and dispense his wisdom in Chinese riddles, and the young detective is forced reluctantly to turn for help to the experienced Margaret Campbell whose expertise is burn victims.

From the moment she conducts the autopsy on the government scientist, her future and Li's become as inextricably linked as the murders they are investigating. And as, together, they peel back layer upon layer of obfuscation, the terrible truth they finally uncover sets them on a terrifying course they could never have imagined.


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© Peter May 2004