It’s the “what if” that will have readers stunned and mesmerized this summer: as two superpowers get ready for war, two women—Emma Wilson, an MI6 agent, and Anne Perry, an investigator—race to prevent the U.S. and China from doing the unthinkable.
Mike Harrison’s The Pale Tiger is a fast-paced, engaging, and suspenseful story that takes readers on a fantastic pursuit across the globe. The book is soon-to-catch the imagination of readers across the country looking for a summer sizzler, and now Hollywood is circling, hoping Harrison’s book could be the next franchise.
Harrison used locations across the globe as the backdrop for the book. The author, who previously worked in law and finance in the U.K., used his background as key elements in The Pale Tiger. Modern warfare, he surmises, will not be fought on a battlefield but at a computer and in global markets.
Simply the Best sat down with the author to talk about the book that has everyone talking.
WHAT’S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH ON THE PALE TIGER?
In a raging storm on the South China Sea, American and Chinese warships collide. Was this an accident? Or is this the prelude to Operation Pale Tiger? A fabled Chinese plot to bring America to its knees. Emma Wilson, an elite MI6 agent, is sent to Hong Kong, trailing one of the principals at Crator Capital, a leading London hedge fund rumored to have high-level ties to the Chinese Government. Back in London, the strange death of an analyst at Crator Capital attracts the attention of Detective Anne Perry.
Unbeknown to them both, they are caught in the eye of the same storm and will need all their courage and tradecraft to stay alive as they’re drawn into the murderous world of The Pale Tiger. As American and Chinese war fleets face off in the Taiwan Strait, Emma and Anne now face a desperate race against time to uncover the truth behind The Pale Tiger. Dark secrets are lying beneath the streets of London: secrets that can tear the world apart—or perhaps even save it.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR WRITING A BOOK LIKE THIS? WHAT WAS THE JUMPING-OFF POINT?
I wanted to bring the characters to life— especially my two protagonists, Emma and Anne. I was also keen to set the story against the backdrop of a geopolitical crisis that’s real and relevant. How America deals with the rise of China is the Great Power challenge of the 21st century.
THE JUMPING-OFF POINT?
I remember reading a news headline about a near-miss between the U.S. and Chinese warships in the South China Sea. I began thinking: one day, the crash will be real— and what might happen next?
YOU ALSO WORKED IN FINANCE AND HAVE TRAVELED ACROSS THE WORLD. HOW HAS THIS INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
I spent thirty years in the financial markets, so I have ‘seen the beast,’ as they say. Big banks, hedge funds—with this kind of money at stake, it warps the best of intentions and fans the worst of them—always good ingredients in any story! Travel is great for ideas, too, not just the geopolitics but a sense of place. Hong Kong is one of the settings for the account. It’s a magical location, fizzing with the desperate energy of a city that’s not sure it should even be there!
WHAT DO YOU FIND FASCINATING ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA? DO YOU THINK THE FICTIONAL SCENARIO IN YOUR NOVEL COULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE?
History tells us that when the rising power grates up against the sitting power, the outcome is very often war. They call this the ‘Thucydides Trap.’ Yet, despite these warnings from history, people today console themselves with the idea that ‘no one wants a real war.’ That may be true, but I’m not sure it’s that reassuring.
I recently reread some of the headlines from the Summer of 1914, the eve of the First World War. Then, Germany asserted itself as a newly minted great power against the incumbents, most notably the British. In June 1914, Special Advisor to the U.S. president, Edward House, made a tour of the European capitals to see whether there was a major conflict. Back in London, he told the audience that ‘neither England, Germany, Russia nor France desire war.’ Yet, within five weeks, all these powers were embroiled in the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen.
Whether we can prove history wrong and somehow engineer a peaceful accommodation between the world’s two great powers will define this era. I’m an optimist, and I’d like to believe that together we can steer a way through this and come out the other side.
As to whether The Pale Tiger plot could happen, absolutely it could! And the frightening thing is that it might not be so hard to pull it off, as you can read in my book.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE YOU HOPE READERS TAKE AWAY FROM THIS BOOK?
Aside from the geopolitics, I hope readers will enjoy their journey into the unpredictable and deadly world of The Pale Tiger.