The Abalone Ukulele - A Tale of Far Eastern Intrigue
Publisher: The Spring
In this historical adventure, cultures from China, Korea, Japan, and the United States collide in 1913 over three tons of Japanese gold ingots.
Three ordinary men—a disgraced Korean tribute courier, a bookish naval officer, and a polyglot third-class quartermaster—must foil Japanese subversion and, with sub rosa assistance from Asiatic Station, highjack that gold to finance a Korean insurrection. Three ordinary women complicate, and complement, their efforts: an enigmatic changsan courtesan, a feisty Down East consular clerk, and a clever Chinese farm-girl.
It is a tale that wends through the outskirts of Peking to the Yukon River; from the San Francisco waterfront to a naval landing party isolated on a Woosung battlefield; from ships of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet moored on Battleship Row to a junk on the Yangtze; and from the Korean gold mines of Unsan to a coaling quay in Shanghai. Soon a foreign intelligence service, a revolutionary army, and two Chinese triads converge on a nation’s ransom in gold . . .
Praise for The Abalone Ukulele
“A masterclass in historical fiction. With painstaking research and a gift for story spinning, Crossland brings to brilliant life a sprawling epic of greed, gold, and redemption. Crossland’s gift for converting historic details into character and narrative makes The Abalone Ukulele an immersive read.” —Joseph A. Williams, author of Seventeen Fathoms Deep and The Sunken Treasure
“Crossland’s tale of shenanigans, greed, nobility, [and] slivers of grace propels across a geography spanning Shanghai, the Klondike gold fields, and San Francisco’s wharves. His characters are elemental, with a commedia dell'arte quality . . . . Clues to a mystery are sprinkled skillfully throughout, keeping the reader turning the page.” —Loretta Goldberg, author of the award-winning novel, The Reversible Mask
“Maritime historical fiction in the tradition of Patrick O'Brian.” —Steve Robinson, author of No Guts, No Glory