Tense, authentic, compelling - a tumultuous 24 hours in Beijing, as witnessed by those involved.
Each year, howling winds from the Gobi send desert grit swirling into Beijing which then mixes with the existing pollution, causing fluorescent yellow skies and a toxic, throat-burning smog.
On one such day in March, youthful activists decide to gather in Tiananmen Square right outside the Great Hall of the People where the National Congress is in session.
They are understandably fearful of what can happen to protesters in China but none could have predicted the unthinkable scenario and far-reaching climax which takes place during that single 24 hour period.
Based on true experience
During his many years in Beijing, the author experienced every aspect of that vast city, including the climatic conditions described.
Many of the people he befriended chose to confide in him, enabling him to gain an insider's view of the conditions, the culture, the complexities and, above all, the people themselves, whose real-life challenges are faithfully recorded in this profound novel.