It’s 1940 when Tolt Gross, an African-American law graduate, arrives in booming Shanghai from the provincial backwater of Seattle. He takes on a senior role managing the Asia operations of a US flour company, a position with responsibility and status rarely available to a Black man in America. But the job comes with a humiliating precondition – he must report to a man who despises him. Tolt is introduced to the delights of Shanghai’s social and nightlife, flourishing despite Japan’s invasion of China three years earlier, but in the middle of the hard work and hard play, Tolt stumbles on a secret plan that Japan is developing to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which could destroy his life and much much more. How to give the alarm? Would anyone believe a warning from a Black man in Shanghai?
“Shanghai in 1940 – an international city where anything was possible. Amy Sommers atmospherically recaptures Shanghai on the eve of one of its major turning points and snares the reader in a tale of war, international intrigue and a time when personal decisions were crucial.” – Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking
“This is a story about the gifts that come with cultural exchange, the perils of refusing them, and what it’s like to lose them. An African American businessman finds freedom and respect in a city where money rules over race. His cosmopolitan life in Shanghai includes nights on the town with his beloved friends from China and Japan. As nationalism and war draw ever closer, the group’s public embrace of equality puts them in peril. By deftly shaping historical details, Amy Sommers has written a story for our precarious times.” – Nancy Rawles, author of the Raven Chronicles