Poaching elephants for their ivory is illegal in Asian countries, but with the upsurge in wealth in China the trade is flourishing. Catherine Sohon, in this second book in the series, is in China to try to capture Nigel Lofty, a major figure in the trade. Her first encounter with Nigel leaves her in the hospital, but when she teams up with her college roommate, Ling Ru, the pair uncover a smuggling ring dealing in not only Ivory, but exotic animals.
The best part of this book is the information about the illegal ivory trade and the trade in exotic animals. I also loved the descriptions of elephants in the wild. However, the writing in other parts of the book didn’t come up to the level of the descriptions. My major criticism was the use of dialog to lecture about the ivory trade. At one point, Ling Ru and Catherine are trying to sort out a shipment of exotic animals. There is ivory in the hold and a tiger on the loose, but Catherine still finds time for a lecture. That sort of data dump cuts into the action.
The book was fast paced, aside from the lectures, but some of the action seemed unrealistic. The story was based in modern China and Hong Kong, but some of the action scenes seemed pure fantasy.
I recommend the book if you love animals, particularly elephants. The mystery is interesting, but the animals are the major focus.
I received this book from Random House for this review.