Rumors From Shanghai (Paperback)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Attack Pearl Harbor? America Can Avoid Disaster...But Only By Heeding a Black Man in Shanghai
It's 1940 when Tolt Gross, an African-American law graduate, arrives in booming Shanghai from provincial backwater Seattle. The roadblock of American racial prejudice has propelled him to test his talents overseas. He accepts a senior role managing the Asia operations of a US flour company, offering responsibility and status rarely available to a Black man in America. But the job comes with a humiliating precondition - he must report to a man who despises him.
And once in Shanghai? Amidst its Paris-like cosmopolitanism and intrigue akin to divided Cold War-era Berlin, Tolt manages to succeed beyond his dreams. His Chinese and Japanese friends from law school days introduce him to the delights of Shanghai's storied nightlife. Romance and foul play ensue as Tolt falls for the daughter of a Rockefeller-like Chinese family. Everything changes when our quick-thinking, fast-talking hero stumbles on a secret plan that Japan is developing to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He grapples with the question: Should he put all he has gained at risk in order to save the country that despises him? How to give the alarm? Would anyone believe a warning from a Black man in Shanghai?
In this historical novel based on true events set in old Shanghai, Yokohama, Seattle and Honolulu, readers will find themes of perseverance through trial, friendship in the face of racism and cross-cultural romance.
Rumors from Shanghai is a pre-war thriller that uses the snappy dialogue of the 1940s to evoke the glamour of Shanghai on the brink of World War. If you enjoyed Janice Lee's The Piano Teacher; Tan Twan Eng's The Gift of Rain and Lisa See's Shanghai Girls, you won't be able to put Rumors from Shanghai down.
"This is a story about the gifts that come with cultural exchange, the perils of refusing them, and what it's like to lose them. An African American businessman finds freedom and respect in a city where money rules over race. His cosmopolitan life in Shanghai includes nights on the town with his beloved friends from China and Japan. As nationalism and war draw ever closer, the group's public embrace of equality puts them in peril. By deftly shaping historical details, Amy Sommers has written a story for our precarious times."
—Nancy Rawles, author of My Jim
About the Author
Amy Sommers is a Sinophile and lifelong history fan. As a fluent Mandarin-speaking China-focused lawyer, in 2004 she moved to Shanghai with her husband and two young sons. Living and working in Shanghai during a period of intense legal, economic, and social change, she became intrigued by the city’s pre-World War II incarnation, one that served as both a mecca and a refuge for people from all over the world to reinvent themselves. Her debut novel Rumors from Shanghai explores the delights of a reinvented life and the dilemma of whether to risk it to avert a society-wide tragedy.