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Paul Adam

Timewarner £10.99 tbo

Reviewed by Mick Herron

The death of the Dalai Lama triggers a search for his reincarnation: three monks and an English photojournalist make the dangerous journey into Tibet to find the newborn and remove him to the relative safety of Dharamsala, evading all the while the Chinese security forces, for whom, as much as for Tibetans themselves, the Dalai Lama represents the hope of freedom for his country. Mountains are climbed, chasms bridged, noble sacrifices made. Adam is not the only one writing Tibet-centred thrillers at the moment, but while Eliot Pattison's impressive novels are rooted in a deep knowledge and admiration of-and understandable concern for-the culture, Adam's book, it's perhaps not unkind to say, is more interested in the subject as High Concept. Still, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with the book, as an example of the genre (down to its off-the-peg title): it rattles along fluently with sympathetic characters, convincing detail, and enough cynicism to give a contemporary ring. The list of the author's previous is purged of his first three novels, UK-set crime thrillers, in favour of the international skullduggery of his more recent output. Judging by this showing, he could end up being marketed as a new Philip Kerr.