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<DIV>Charles McCarry is widely considered one of the greatest espionage writers of the all-time, and in THE SHANGHAI FACTOR he returns to his roots with an absorbing tale of global skullduggery that leaves the reader guessing at every turn.<br><BR>A young, unnamed spy is living in Shanghai in order to observe and absorb the culture and language so as to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as 'HQ'. However when he meets a sultry and mysterious woman named Mei, they begin a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to HQ's enemies.<BR><BR>Soon the head of HQ, Luther Burbank, gives the spy a task that will force him to risk everything: go undercover as the American ambassador for a massive Chinese multinational conglomerate, and learn the secrets of their powerful CEO Chen Qi, whom HQ believes to be a front man for the nearly uncrackable Chinese Intelligence, known as the Guoanbu.<BR><BR>Soon the spy finds that HQ isn't the only one tracking his every move, and the deadly Guoanbu may be aware of his true identity. Danger lies around every corner, as the enigmatic Mei flits in and ouf of his life, yet every time he thinks he's closer to the truth, he finds himself drawn further into a deadly cat-and-mouse game between HQ and the Guoanbu that might not only end his life, but could upend the East/West balance of power.</DIV>