The Mao Circle is the third novel in the Chinese Circles series, which takes the surviving characters from The Hong Kong Circle up to the next challenge to face the tiny colony – the riots of 1967 which almost destroy it.
When I started to write The Mao Circle I hit two challenges.
My first novel, The Shanghai Circle, took place over only two years, while the second, The Hong Kong Circle, concentrated on the five years of WWII. The next novel needed to cover over twenty years. My characters would be getting older. I’d have to think about them having children. And those children growing up.
Secondly I was going to write of two decades when China was ruled by Mao. As I researched I realised the wealth of fascinating stories which could be created based on what was actually going on in that vast country in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The challenge here was to write a story about a boy growing up in China and make sure it read as a novel and not a history book.
My characters from the earlier novels are again woven into actual events. The Guest Group continue to thrive as one of the leading ‘hongs’. Joseph’s Sung triads become even more powerful as they seize control of the drugs trade. Adrian pits himself against the triads and the rioters but also discovers the depth of corruption within the Hong Kong Police force. A new character, Yan Ho, living near Shanghai, was eight when Mao took over in 1949, and we trace his traumatic life growing up under the communist regime.
Historians still argue about the actual numbers dying from famine or persecution in China by Mao’s various campaigns. Estimates range from 45 to 70 million. Whatever the true number, it means Mao was the biggest mass murderer in history, far exceeding Hitler and even Stalin.
The characters in my new novel live through twenty traumatic years of death and destruction in China, and the constant threat Mao poses to the tiny colony of Hong Kong.
As usual I’ve added some notes in Facts and Fiction and Photos to give some background about the fascinating history of China and Hong Kong in these years. However only look at that these if you wish to learn about the history of the period in advance. I would prefer you actually read the novel first. In Acknowledgements I thank the authors, various sites and people who have helped me on this particular journey.