Sean Macdonald is born a child of the late colonial times, in the British extraterritorial concession in Tientsin, North China. His mother's father, who is Irish and her mother Chinese, own an estate at Peitaiho, on the Bohai seacoast, where Sean spends idyllic summer holidays. All this changes with the Japanese invasion of China. His father, a Scottish Canadian veteran of the Great War, is killed by Japanese bombing, and Sean and his mother with all nationals at war with Japan are soon incarcerated in a Japanese concentration camp, where his mother dies.
After the Japanese surrender, Sean is reunited with his loving grandparents. He then departs for Canada, to study at McGill University. With the advent of the Communist regime, he will never see his home and his grandparents again. At university, he is enrolled in the Canadian Army's officer candidate training. The Korean War breaks out, he is commissioned after he graduates, and posted to a Canadian infantry battalion, fighting in Korea. There he meets a Chinese prisoner, fatally wounded, whom he knew from childhood.
He marries, leaves the Canadian Army, takes graduate courses in Canadian military history, and becomes a professor in a university in British Columbia. The novel concludes with Sean returning after fifty years to Tientsin and Peitaiho, now renamed Tianjin and Beidaihe, where marked changes have occurred, and where he faces the shades of his formative past.
This epic tale spans tumultuous periods, including the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Second Word War, the Korean War and the Cultural Revolution in China, and the ultimate reconciliation of the two worlds of Sean's past, putting a human face on the turmoil of history.
Page Count: 408 pages
Publisher: General Store Publishing House
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publish Date: January 10, 2007
Paperback editions available for purchase straight from the author, David B. Clark.