They are the Turtle Eggs, thieves who stole vast fortunes from China's booming Wild West economy and found refuge in the United States.
Sean Lockhart, a black sheep from one of America's most prominent families, a China hand, a businessman, and reluctant spy, is charged by two governments to help bring the Turtle Eggs to justice. Greed, betrayal and vengeance unfold from New York to Beijing and the steppes of Mongolia as Lockhart chases blood and treasure to right a terrible wrong.
Smoke hung in the low ceilinged, dimly lit gambling den like the polluted purplish-grey mist blanketing Fang Lihui's Manchurian home. The staccato clicking of players shuffling mahjong tiles was heard from table to table alongside occasional expletives from fixated gamblers. There were no friendly games in the room; the players were all business.
Fang grunted, stubbed out his Marlboro in an overflowing ashtray and triumphantly turned down sixteen mahjong tiles in a fluid motion revealing a concealed kong of the Three of Bamboos. A winner. The hand was met with a string of curses from the other three players at the table in a mixture of Chinese dialects. He uttered a barely audible "Wo ciao!" as he swept his palms across the dirty green velvet and raked in nearly thirty thousand dollars from the pot. Very pleased, he stacked the bills in front of him and popped another cigarette in his mouth. Fortune was smiling on him.
An hour later, as the sun barely began to shed over Canal Street on a chilly early autumn morning, Fang stumbled up the steps of the basement gambling parlor hid below a Sichuanese hotpot restaurant. Dressed in a Camel Burberry overcoat and black felt fedora, he paused
a moment to light another cigarette and glance at his Rolex. He still had a few hours before his flight.
Down the alley the gears shifted in a burgundy Cadillac and the Detroit cruising machine rolled towards Fang. Behind the wheel sat Ouyang, Fang's cousin, long-time driver and bodyguard. Tipping the scales at a solid three hundred pounds and standing several inches over six feet, the former People's Liberation Army tank mechanic had the proportions to give a household refrigerator an inferiority complex. He was ready to move after receiving a text message on his mobile phone from Fang. As his patron exited the building a moment later, Ouyang steered the car to the building's back entrance.
A dark figure in a baseball cap and pea coat exited the mahjong parlor behind Fang as the man waited at the top of steps leading up from the basement door. With a quick movement of his right hand the man swung a telescopic baton out of his pocket and down hard parallel to his legs, fully extending the two-foot shaft with a dull click.
Fang heard the sound and turned to see the stranger swing the club in a wide sideways ark and land a forceful blow on the outside of his right knee; shattering the older man's joint. Fang screamed and hit the ground; the figure with the club took position standing over his fallen prey and aimed a second crushing blow at the back of his victim's head.
Ouyang hit the brakes and nearly stopped the Cadillac on top of Fang and the assailant. He bolted out of the car, but the narrow confines of the alley left the big man little room to maneuver, his progress was slow and awkward. A second figure in similar garb as the first rounded the alley corner in a quick, purposeful gate straight at Ouyang as he exited the car and charged around it's grill. Intent on rescuing Fang, the bodyguard ignored the second foe and started a desperate lunge at the club-wielding attacker.
Raising a small, plastic pistol-shaped device in his hands, the second man fired a well-placed Taser shot straight into the massive back of Ouyang's tailored suit. The barbed electric sensor sent fifty thousand volts riveting through muscular bulk, causing his knees to buckle and his body to flounder to the ground of the alley. The shooter kept the trigger pressed on the Taser, sending a continuous electrical current. Ouyang screamed and spat in pain. After several seconds of
electrocution, the attacker dropped the Taser and pulled a six-inch razor sharp serrated folding knife from his pocket. With a violent slash across the throat, he made short work of Ouyang and dropped the knife alongside the body.
At the same time, the first attacker finished repeatedly bringing the club down on Fang until his head was a barely recognizable pile of gore. His work done, he let the club slide from his gloved hand to lie next to the corpse. The attackers rapidly searched the two bodies and took cash and both men's watches.
To the first police on the scene of the bloody attack it appeared to be a vicious assault and robbery. However, only days later the carnage in Mott Street alleyway would be acknowledged for what it was; the carefully orchestrated assassination of one of the world's richest thieves.