May 16, 1983 12:00 PM

by Malcolm Bosse

The year is 1927. A young American, a graduate of Yale and the missionary son of a stern missionary father, arrives in China to take up his work. In a remote province his train is stopped by bandits, and the missionary is captured and held for ransom. Soon he discovers that he loves the life of the bandits, especially the sex with a camp woman. After a warlord overruns the bandit camp and frees him, the missionary decides to join the warlord’s army. The plot also deals with a beautiful Russian whore, a German gunrunner and a Soviet propagandist. The author of this 700-page saga has written seven other books but nothing on this scale, It is an extravagant, adventure-filled, thoroughly enjoyable novel. For those who liked James Clavell’s Tai-Pan, Bosse provides the same pleasures—but Bosse has better control of his exotic material. In this book a reader can disappear for days. Miniseries, here we come. (Simon & Schuster, $17.95)

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