The Devil of Nanking

BOOK: The Devil of Nanking
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This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Epub ISBN: 9781407066738

Version 1.0

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A BANTAM BOOK: 9780553824858
First published in Great Britain in 2004 as
by Bantam Press an imprint of Transworld Publishers
Bantam edition published 2005
Bantam edition reissued as
The Devil of Nanking
Copyright © Mo Hayder 2004
Mo Hayder has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
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2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1
Desperate and alone in an alien city, student Grey Hutchins accepts a job as a hostess in an exclusive gentlemen’s club. There she meets an ancient gangster rumoured to rely on a strange elixir for his continued health; it is an elixir others want – at any price . . .
‘Left me stunned and haunted. This is writing of breathtaking power and poetry’
Tess Gerritsen
When journalist Joe Oakes visits a secretive religious community on a remote Scottish island, he is forced to question the nature of evil – and whether he might be responsible for the terrible crime about to unfold.
‘The most terrifying thriller you’ll read all year’
Karin Slaughter
Greenwich, south-east London.
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery
is called to one of the most gruesome crime scenes he has ever seen. Five young women have been murdered – and it is only a matter of time before the killer strikes again . . .
‘A first-class shocker’
Traumatic memories are wakened for
DI Jack Caffery
when a husband and wife are discovered, imprisoned in their own home. They are both near death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing . . .
‘Genuinely frightening’
Sunday Times
Recently arrived from London,
DI Jack Caffery
is now part of Bristol’s Major Crime Investigation Unit. Soon he’s looking for a missing boy – a search that leads him to a more terrifying place than anything he has known before.
‘Intensely enthralling’
When the decomposed body of a young woman is found near railway tracks just outside Bristol, all indications are that she’s committed suicide. But DI Jack Caffery is not so sure – he is on the trail of someone predatory, and for the first time in a very long time he feels scared.
‘Hayder is the closest we’ve got to Stephen King . . . the goriest thriller writer this side of the pond’
About the Author
After leaving school at fifteen, Mo Hayder worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She also has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University.
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Mo Hayder
Nanking, China: 21 December 1937
To those who fight and rage against superstition, I say only this: why? Why admit to such pride and vanity that you carelessly disregard years of tradition? When the peasant tells you that the great mountains of ancient China were destroyed by the angry gods, that thousands of years ago the skies were torn down, the country set out of kilter, why not believe him? Are you so much cleverer than he is? Are you cleverer than all his generations taken together?
I believe him. Now, at last, I believe. I tremble to write it, but I do, I believe all that superstition tells us. And why? Because there is nothing else to explain the vagaries of this world, no other tool to translate this disaster. So I turn to folklore for my comfort, and I trust the peasant when he says that the wrath of the gods has caused the land to slope downwards to the east. Yes, I trust him when he tells me that everything, river, mud and towns, must eventually slide into the sea. Nanking too. One day Nanking too will slide away to the sea. Her journey may be the slowest, for she is no longer quite like other cities. These last few days have changed her beyond recognition and when she begins to move it will be slowly, for she is tethered to the land by her unburied citizens, and by the ghosts that will pursue her to the coast and back.
Maybe I should consider myself privileged to see her as she is now. From this tiny window I can peer out through the lattice and see what the Japanese have left of her: her blackened buildings, the empty streets, the corpses piling up in the canals and rivers. Then I look down at my shaking hands and wonder why I have survived. The blood is dry now. If I rub my palms together it flakes off, the black scales scatter on the paper, darker than the words I write because my ink is watery: the pine soot inkstick is finished and I haven’t the strength or the courage or the will to go out and find more.
If I were to lay down my pen, lean sideways against the cold wall and adopt an awkward position with my nose squashed against the shutters, I would be able to see Purple Mountain, snow-covered, rising up beyond the shattered roofs. But I will not. There is no call to push my body into an unnatural place because I will never again look upon Purple Mountain. When this diary entry is finished I will have no desire to recall myself, up on those slopes, a ragged and uneven figure, keeping desperate pace with the Japanese soldier, tracking him like a wolf, through frozen streams and snowdrifts . . .
It is less than two hours. Two hours since I caught up with him. We were in a small grove near the mausoleum gates. He was standing with his back to me next to a tree, the melting snow in the branches dripping down on to his shoulders. His head was bent forward a little to peer into the forest ahead, because the mountain slopes are still a dangerous place to be. The cine-camera dangled at his side.
I had been following him for so long that I was bruised and limping, my lungs stinging in the cold air. I came forward slowly. I can’t, now, imagine how I was able to remain so controlled because I was trembling from head to toe. When he heard me he whirled round, falling instinctively to a crouch. But I am not much of a man, not strong, and a full head shorter than he was, and when he saw it was me, he relaxed a little. He straightened slowly, watching me come a few steps nearer until we were only feet apart, and he could see the tears on my face.
‘It will mean nothing to you,’ he said, with something like pity in his voice, ‘but I want you to know that I am sorry. I am very sorry. Do you understand my Japanese?’
‘Yes, I do.’
BOOK: The Devil of Nanking
11.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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