China’s President faces many problems. Some, like conflict at the Indian border and in the South China Sea he created for himself. Others, like pending disasters at the Three Gorges Dam and China’s oldest nuclear plant, just happened. But the biggest threat to Communist rule is revolutionaries with Internet access through American satellites. Access that lets them spread propaganda, organize free of government surveillance, and launch cyberattacks. Four deniable Russian agents will travel to America to stop that threat, in return for a Chinese promise to purchase Russian oil and gas. The Chinese military will also be called on to help solve all these problems. But if the military succeeds, will they stop there? Or will the Second Chinese Revolution end with the generals in charge?
In this overly long but intriguing action thriller from Halstead (The End of Russia’s War in Ukraine), pro-democracy advocate Chen Li Na, a brilliant computer hacker, uses a special device, which connects to internet satellites that service countries bordering China, in her work instigating attacks on the Chinese government. To destroy these satellites, which have been launched by an American company run by Eli Wade, the Chinese leaders have several options: sabotaging the delivery rockets before they can take off, shooting them down as they fly into space, downing them once they’re in orbit, and, if all else fails, assassinating Wade. Russian agents are employed to do the dirty work, so the Chinese have deniability; in return, China promises to buy all their oil and gas from Russia. Readers should be prepared for characters and plot points that appear and disappear amid massive amounts of historical and technical information. Halstead does a good job pulling all the threads together, however, and those who persevere will turn the last page satisfied if exhausted. The open ending promises more to come. (Self-published)