This story of love, tragedy, avarice and brutality begins in the mid seventeenth century, when Dutch soldiers and officials sent by ship from Batavia to acquire laborers for the Java settlement seize a young woman, Mei Ling, from a village in Fujian, China, along with scores of men. Seventeen-year-old Mei Ling is kidnapped at the behest of a lecherous Dutch official, who organizes a mutiny when the ship’s captain places her under his protection.
Nanyang follows the adventures of Mei Ling and her brother, who sets out to rescue her, and their descendants amid land and sea battles of warring nations, natural disasters and rampant disease. They are caught up in historical events — in Europe as well as South-East Asia — in which notable English, Dutch and Javanese figures play their real-life roles. The story begins in China and ends soon after the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles, who features in the book along with other personalities of the period, including Horatio Nelson and Captain James Cook.The story reaches back briefly to the fifteenth century and the voyages of China’s Admiral Zheng He through Asia to Africa in the world’s largest ships.
About the Author
At an early age I decided I wanted to be a foreign correspondent and author. I achieved both my goals. I was born in New Zealand and began my journalism career on The New Zealand Herald. I later worked for The Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Herald before being hired by Reuter, working for the agency in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia. I was a foreign correspondent in Asia for 30 years, which included fifteen years reporting for The New York Times with Hong Kong as my base.
I began writing fiction when I was a young journalist in Australia and had two short stories published in a leading magazine. My first success with a novel was The Peking Payoff, which was published in hard cover in 1975 by Macmillan Inc. in New York and in paperback by Hamlyn. Hamlyn subsequently published The Seizing of Singapore, Deadline in Jakarta and An H-Bomb for Alice. In 1988, I self-published Reunion, also a novel.
Following my ten years as a freelance foreign correspondent, from 1991 to 2001, based first in Singapore and then Malaysia, I wrote The Mahathir Legacy, a non-fiction work, which was published in Australia in 2003 by Allen & Unwin.
My epic Asian saga, Nanyang – published as both an Amazon (Kindle) eBook and as a CreateSpace) paperback – reflects my interest in the history of East Asia, where I have spent so much of my adult life, and the emigration of Chinese to South-East Asia, among them the ancestors of my wife Truus The Tiang Nio.
I recently turned my hand to a murder mystery, The Cut-Throat Razor Murders. It follows the publication of two earlier action-adventure works, The Unintentional Jihadi and The Lust of Comrade Lu, which is very relevant to the fraught relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing.
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