A Novel of Hong Kong


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Reviews & Readers Quotes



James Clavell meets John Grisham in 1857 Hong Kong

"Andrew Adams is a great historical romance hero, and his charisma will grab readers' interest immediately and hold it throughout a tale of intrigue, murder, piracy and discrimination....Adams's adventures take him on a thrilling chase, almost an odyssey....Hangman's Point is a page-turner that is guaranteed to keep both male and female readers enthralled to the very end. Romance and high adventure." -- Romantic Times Magazine

"An expert on Hong Kong and the turbulent time period portrayed, Dean Barrett has fashioned a swashbuckling adventure which will have both history buffs and thriller readers enthralled from the very first page. The vivid details of the period, which range from women's fashions to military matters to the intricacies of the Chinese culture, are endlessly fascinating and the action never lets up for a minute. Adams is a lovable rascal who accepts defeat with a smile and a shrug which serve as a disguise for an amazingly determined and courageous man. An outstanding historical novel." -- Writers Write Reviews

"If Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin ever got as far as Hong Kong in 1857 on their world travels, the aged sea dogs would feel right at home in China expert Dean Barrett's totally convincing novel of high adventure....Like O'Brian, Barrett knows that the best way to impart information is to disguise it as fun." -- Dick Adler, Amazon.com Reviews

"A great epic of a historical mystery.... Anyone who reads this novel will have to have a passport because they will be immediately transferred to the mid-nineteenth century Orient. The story line is filled with Andrew Adam's misadventures even as it provides a rich historical perspective of the era. The support cast feels so genuine as they move the plot forward. Hangman's Point is a great historical fiction that, if there is any justice, will enable Dean Barrett to become a household name." -- Bookbrowser Reviews


"The adventures of this latter-day Indiana Jones will leave him fleeing for his life through the town of Victoria (Hong Kong), bring him face to face with the perils of the pirate-infested waters of the Pearl River, and finally fix him a date with death at Hangman's Point....The novel is peppered with well-defined characters from all walks of life....It would be just another potboiler la James Clavell, but Barrett's extensive research sets this novel apart: as well as a ripping adventure story, it is an intimately drawn historical portrait." -- South China Morning Post

"I loved the book. I didn't want it to end." -- Willy Miller, WQCS

"There is adventure and mystery in every corner of this well-researched and well-written historical." -- 1BookStreet.com

"Interspersed are carefully researched, historical details of ships, weapons, tea, ladies's attire, legal proceedings and prison life." -- Independent Publisher magazine

"Rich in historical perspective and characters, Barrett's debut is good news for those who love grand scale adventure." -- The Poisoned Pen Booknews

"Andrew Adams is the dashing rogue-hero of the story. An American scalawag who has been a seaman, smuggler and gambler, Adams is now the bar keeper of the Bee Hive Tavern, situated in the heart of Hong Kong's Chinese quarter .... A good story, well told." -- Vero Beach Press Journal

"Hangman's Point is vastly entertaining, informative and thought-provoking. ... Dean Barrett weaves an intricate and many-layered tale. Barrett clearly has in-depth knowledge of his field, more so than most Western novelists can command. ... Barrett offers more than an exciting story. He provides an understanding view of China and the Chinese, guiding readers toward a fuller appreciation of that complex culture." -- Stuart News

"Former army linguist Dean Barrett chronicles Sino-British tensions in 1857 Hong Kong in Hangman's Point, the tale of American smuggler Andrew Adams, who narrowly dodges hanging and a prison sentence by chasing down a band of deadly Chinese pirates." -- Publishers Weekly

"Hangman's Point is a wonderful book. Buy it. You'll love it!" -- Marcia Littlejohn, News Director, WWCI TV10

"In 1857 China, American Andrew Adams has held several legally questionable jobs and other tasks that clearly stepped beyond the south side of the law. In Hong Kong, the part-time smuggler manages a bar that has patrons that are some of the sleaziest individuals residing in the area. However, this time Andrew goes too far and to avoid prison, must search out the pirates who beheaded foreign sailors.

However, that is only the start of what is turning into a bad new year for Andrew. Soon, the beleaguered anti-hero is involuntarily battling slave traders, escaping from prison after being accused of murder, and ultimately is in a fight to the death with vicious pirates, who will stop at nothing to loot a city.


Anyone who reads this novel will have to have a passport because they will be immediately transferred to the mid-nineteenth century Orient. The story line is filled with Andrew's misadventures even as it provides a rich historical perspective of the era. The support cast feels so genuine as they move the plot forward. Hangman's Point is a great historical fiction that, if there is any justice, will enable Dean Barrett to become a household name. Highly Recommended."

-- Harriet Klausner, Under The Covers Book Review

"... Dean Barrett copes skillfully with all the plotlines and combines them and the most vivid characters you'll ever wish to meet in complex and satisfying patterns. His writing is top-notch and anyone interested in the history of Asia and its clash with the West must get hold of this book. It's long, which turns out to be a very good thing as it allows the reader to spend more time in the author's world." -- G. Miki Hayden, Dorothy-L

"... Excellently written and steeped in details of the times, all obviously very well researched and accurate." -- The Midwest Book Review

"Hangman's Point is one of the most original, well researched and entertaining novels to ever land on my desk. A masterful portrayal of an irreverent American adventurer caught between clashing Chinese and British cultures in colonial Hong Kong." -- Alex Rossu, Fortis Entertainment, L.A.

"A superbly crafted blend of Asian and Western intrigue, cast in a magnificent tale of adventure, steeped in mystery and suspense. Courtroom drama, daring escapes, flawed heroes and sadistic villains more colorful than those found in James Clavell's Taipan. Historical fiction at its best." -- Harold Stephens, author, At Home in Asia and The Last Voyage

"The author must have lived in China in 1857. How else could he know the period so well? An amazing adventure and, despite its exotic location, Dean Barrett has a wonderful talent and vast knowledge so that he can present the culture and mindset of traditional China without resorting to stereotypes or cliches. -- Robert Lin, actor, Co-star, Martin Scorcese's "Kundun"

"Hangman's Point is one of those rare novels which works on several levels: Of course it is an adventure story, and an exciting one, and offers many insightful observations on East-West cultural differences. It certainly has the most fascinating courtroom trial I've ever read. But the novel also deals intelligently and often humorously with the complex relationships between men and women. And we learn how similar the problems between the sexes in 1857 Hong Kong were to our own." -- Mia Yun, author, House of the Winds

Hangman's Point is an exciting tale about the early days of British Hong Kong when the English held the land yet the pirates ruled the waves. Dean Barrett successfully conjures up a lost world of shady adventurers, smoky opium dens, imperious Mandarins, raucous sailor bars and pitched sea battles. It is a precarious age, one in which Barrett spins a dark thriller of how the Chinese and others made a bold stab at capturing the British crown colony. -- Daniel S. Levy, author, Two-Gun Cohen: A Biography

Dean Barrett captures the unruly frontier atmosphere of early Hong Kong and deftly shows how easily one of his many colorful characters could have upset the delicate balance of power between rulers and ruled. Gripping and well crafted. -- Joanna Waley-Cohen, Associate Professor of Chinese History, New York University and author, The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History


Setting is more than a backdrop in this fast-paced adventure story of mid-nineteenth-century British colonial Hong Kong. Characters, plot, and numerous subplots reflect the clash of cultures and class -- both within and between the Chinese and foreign communities. A riveting, action-packed narrative tracks the adventures and misadventures of central character Andrew Adams, a bar manager, gambler, weapons smuggler, and American with friends and enemies in both the European and Chinese communities.

In a period of just a few days following New Year's Eve, 1857, Adams finds himself investigating the beheading of Europeans on a mail steamer from Canton, doing battle with coolie slave traders, accused of murdering an English tea merchant, and eventually defending Hong Kong against attack by pirates. Chinese scholar, linguist, and author of two previous books, Barrett draws on his vast knowledge of southern China during a time of enormous chage and conflict, providing richly fascinating detail of the customs, fashions, ships, and weapons of the times. -- American Library Association, Booklist

This monster of a historical adventure takes 1857 Hong Kong as its venue, and places an American tavern-manager/adventurer at the center. Like George Fraser's rogue Flashman (from the series of the same name and set roughly the same era), Andrew Adams is prone to making unwise decisions, and usually has several women on the side. The story is a complicated one, involving a nefarious plot by an English pirate lord to try and take the port of Hong Kong while the bulk of the British force is away shelling Canton, and an unrelated, but simultaneous plot to poison the entire foreign population. There are loads and loads of characters, from all classes and parts of society, and Barrett succeeds in making each indelible. The book flags at times, but Barrett is mostly successful in juggling all the plots and players while dishing out loads and loads of daily life detail on his setting. It's a quite impressive--if slightly old-fashioned--historical entertainment. One small annoyance is the fluctuating spelling of one of the main villain's names. A much greater annoyance is the lack of any kind of map! - T Ross, Amazon.com, Top 500 Reviewer


Hangman's Point - A Novel of Hong Kong

by Dean Barrett

ISBN: 0-9661899-1-4

Published by Village East Books


Available on all web booksites at a discount & as e-book



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