Fact and Fiction – The Hong Kong Circle

An advantage of writing historical fiction is that by thoroughly researching an interesting period, opportunities for bringing actual events into the story are easy.

Many of the events in this novel are based on the truth, and where appropriate I bring in my fictitious characters to participate in the action.

The first section of The Hong Kong Circle describes the invasion by the Japanese, the battles, the internment of the civilians, and the imprisonment of the soldiers. Some of the events described which actually occurred are:

  • The Tin Hat Ball in the Peninsular Hotel.
  • The invasion of Hong Kong was timed to the assault on Pearl Harbour.
  • Two thousand Canadian troops arrived. Half perished or were injured.
  • The dreadful massacres at Eucliffe and St Stephen’s College.
  • Resistance lasted only three weeks rather than three months.
  • Thousands of captured troops were sent to Japan to work as slave labour.
  • The sinking of the Lisbon Maru by an American submarine.
  • The Japanese used triads before and during the invasion and occupation.
  • Huge loss of life of Chinese civilians and a million sent back to China.

In the second part of the novel the civil war between the nationalists and the communists is obviously based on actual events, as is the dreadful effects of the actions of Mao Zedong which would eventually make him the biggest killer in history, far surpassing Hitler and even Stalin. Other actual events include:

  • A fire in the shanty town of Shek Kip Mei left over 50,000 homeless although this actually happened in 1953 and I had it happening in 1949.
  • In 1945 the population was 600,000. By the end of 1949 it was two million.

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

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