Summary and book reviews of December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith

December 6

By Martin Cruz Smith

December 6
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2002,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2003,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Set in the crazed, nationalistic Tokyo of late 1941, December 6 explores the coming world war through the other end of history's prism -- a prism held here by an unforgettable rogue and lover, Harry Niles.

In many ways, Niles should be as American as apple pie: raised by missionary parents, taught to respect his elders and be an honorable and upright Christian citizen dreaming of the good life on the sun-blessed shores of California. But Niles is also Japanese: reared in the aesthetics of Shinto and educated in the dance halls and backroom poker gatherings of Tokyo's shady underworld to steal, trick and run for his life. As a gaijin, a foreigner -- especially one with a gift for the artful scam -- he draws suspicion and disfavor from Japanese police. This potent mixture of stiff tradition and intrigue -- not to mention his brazen love affair with a Japanese mistress who would rather kill Harry than lose him -- fills Harry's final days in Tokyo with suspense and fear. Who is he really working for? Is he a spy? For America? For the emperor?

Now, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Harry himself must decide where his true allegiances lie.

Suspenseful, exciting and replete with the detailed research Martin Cruz Smith brings to all his novels, December 6 is a triumph of imagination, history and storytelling melded into a magnificent whole.

Prologue

[MUST BEAR CENSOR'S STAMP FOR TRANSMISSION]

Letter from Tokyo

JAPAN APPEARS CALM AT BRINK OF WAR

British Protest "Defeatist Speech" by American

By Al DeGeorge

Special to The Christian Science Monitor


TOKYO, DEC. 5 -- While last-minute negotiations to avert war between the United States and Japan approached their deadline in Washington, the average citizen of Tokyo basked in unusually pleasant December weather. This month is traditionally given to New Year's preparations and 1941 is no exception. Residents are sprucing up their houses, restuffing quilts and setting out new tatamis, the grass mats that cover the floor of every Japanese home. When Tokyoites meet, they discuss not matters of state but how, despite food rationing, to secure the oranges and lobsters that no New Year's celebration would be complete without. Even decorative pine boughs are in short supply, since the American embargo on oil has put most civilian trucks on ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Intelligent, jazzy, romantic, unbelievably tense, completely absorbing. Worth the wait.

Booklist - Bill Ott

Starred Review. When Smith chooses a place to write about, he makes it his own....This is a superb thriller and a remarkable evocation of a place..... Best of all, he tells a moving, believable love story in which individual lives are invested with great dignity, even in the face of national ideals.

Library Journal - Barbara Conaty

The pace is like a bullet train, the characters are limned far beyond the usual stereotype, and the locale is as evocative as the cherry blossom itself.

Reader Reviews
Dave

This is a wonderful tale. A mystery. A thriller. A love story. All taking place during a well known point in time.

You know that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is on the horizon and you know that this event and Harry are intertwined. What you don't know...   Read More

Steve

Let me start off by saying I liked this book. The plot and the characters were well developed. I genuinely liked Harry, scroundrel that he was. The love story held my interest and I felt it rang true. The ending was very exciting and faithfull to the...   Read More

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