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December 10 , 2007

Chasing the Dragon


The pavilion had been built right into the water, a sala of filigree wood on a pillared platform of semi precious stone.' She was already there early the next morning when Michael arrived from Ajodhya in a tuk-tuk. She was gazing out across the water, at the finger of mist clinging to the lake. She did not look up. He wondered if she had heard him arrive. Then she blew a bubble of gum and it spattered across his nose. He laughed and she turned around. 'You teach me this trick.’ 'Ly May,' he said.' 

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Vientiane, 1960. Laos is a sleepy post-colonial backwater, run by generals and at war with the communist Pathet Lao in the north. Corsican gangsters, left behind after the French departure five years before, run the opium trade, flying raw opium out of the mountains to Bangkok and Saigon.The most celebrated of the milieu is Rocco Bonaventure,…

1978. Ly May survives the fall of Saigon, living on the street and in communist camps; she survives pirates and the sinking of her flimsy rate to escape to a new life in Thailand. a flimsy raft. She is introduced to life as a bar girl in Bangkok. But Ly May is a survivor and what gets her through is the memory the pilot who befriended her in the Long Tieng air base and tried to save her life. Finally she ends up on the arm of Douglas Ho, one of the major players in the international heroin trade and number two in a Hong Kong triad. And that's when she meets her saviour again; but now he is with an American drug enforcement agency. 

The stakes are excruciatingly high; the Chinese are expanding onto the US western seaboard and the potential profits are breathtaking. Douglas Ho will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Does Ly May stay with the rich life she has been so lucky to find or stay true to the man who helped her as a child and risk everything, her millionaire life and even her life? From the heroin factories of the Golden Triangle to the drug banks of California and Bangkok, from bloody gun battles in San Francisco's Chinatown to the palaces of the super rich in Hong Kong, this is a rollercoaster journey that will leave you breathless to the last page.

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