This book didn't sound too great to me, from the cover blurb, but I'd read
and really really liked both of David Ball's other novels, Empires of Sand
and Ironfire (also published as The Sword and the Scimitar). Both of those
are big, dramatic historical epics full of blood and romance. China Run,
on the other hand, is a contemporary thriller about adoption in China. Not
the most thrilling topic, to me. But like I said, I REALLY liked his other
two novels, so I picked this book up.
I didn't expect it to be as good - but I also didn't expect it to be this
BAD. This book is sheer, 100% anti-China propaganda. Now, I'm not saying
that the Chinese government isn't bad - the problems with China and its
government could indeed fill whole books. But this novel relies on shock
tactics. The problem isn't the facts, but the way it's written.
A group of Americans go to China to adopt baby girls. They're given a set
of babies, but after a couple of days, they're told there was a mistake -
they were supposed to get handicapped children, not healthy infants. Some
of the group refuse to accept this, kidnap the babies, and go on a
dangerous flight through China. Interestingly, Ball doesn't make the
Americans ideal parents. They include a blatant racist and a psychotically
violent man, and the main character, Allison, who's made out to be a hero,
is obviously really a nutcase, who has already taken a birth mother to
court to try to take her baby, in America, and is just like, "YOU WILL NOT
TAKE ANOTHER BABY FROM ME! I WANT A BABY!" - even though she already has a
OK, so the fleeing Americans put themselves, the babies and others in
danger, a lot of people die, and it's only by chance that a Chinese
investigator discovers a secret orphanage where the best-and-brightest
orphans are adopted for a premium fee, some pretty girls are trained to be
high-priced escorts and prostitutes, and terminally ill orphans have
organs removed for transplants when they die. Is any of that really that
horrific? I don't think so. But apparently we're supposed to think it is.
Anyway, the investigator gets executed for his pains, as do a lot of other
people of varying degrees of guilt, and one Chinese baby gets to come back
to America and live with a psycho pseudo-mom.