With the Beijing Olympics about to to begin, I have just succeeded in putting Red Spirit onto Amazon Kindle. After you’ve met Kat Polinski, my kick-ass heroine in SECURITY BREACH, try RED SPIRIT, the haunting story of what lies beneath China’s modern face — set in the exotic city of Xian, home to the famous Terracotta Warriors built to protect the tomb of China’s first emporer the charismatic and ruthless Qin Shi Huang.
It takes place in early 1989, when the Soviet Union cis about to collapse and civil war is brewing in China.
Dr Sally Parsons, a brilliant, but stubborn archeologist, has a dream to excavate the emperor’s tomb. No one has ever seen the lavish decorations and extravagance that are meant to be inside. But when she drills through the tomb’s crust, she sees something that puts her life in extreme danger and could cause a nightmare for millions.
Extract from the Records of the Grand Historian (Shi Ji) by Sima Qian 104 – 92 B.C
AS SOON as the First Emperor became king of Chin, excavations and building had been started at Mount Li, while after he won the empire more than seven hundred thousand conscripts from all parts of the country worked there. They dug through three subterranean streams and poured molten copper for the outer coffin, and the tomb was filled with models of palaces, pavilions and offices, as well as fine vessels, precious stones and rarities. Artisans were ordered to fix up crossbows so that any thief breaking in would be shot. All the country’s streams, the Yellow River and the Yangtse were reproduced in quicksilver and by some mechanical means made to flow in an miniature ocean. The heavenly constellations were shown above and the regions on the earth below. The candles were made of whale oil to ensure their burning for the longest possible time.
The Second Emperor decreed: “It is not right to send away those of my father’s ladies who had no sons.” Accordingly, all these were ordered to follow the First Emperor to the grave. After the internment, someone pointed out that the artisans who had made the mechanical contrivances might disclose all the treasure that was in the tomb; therefore after the burial and sealing up of the treasures, the middle gate was shut and the outer gate closed to imprison all the artisans and labourers, so that no one came out. Trees and grass were planted over the mausoleum to make it seem like a hill.