In the fall of 1987 Nathan Schuett, until recently an English teacher at a prestigious language institute, has two dead Europeans to explain to the Beijing police. Nate knows something that he can't reveal and in order to hide that, he has to tell a whole lot more.Set before the Tiananmen uprising and the fall of the Iron Curtain, ‘Farewell the Dragon’ looks at the international quest to ‘win’ China during the last throes of the Cold War. Nate is a quirky but passionate teacher, yet he wants more – more money, more romance and more insight into the intrigues that swirl around the foreigners who lived in Beijing during this period. An ancient ‘stele’ or tablet engraved with Chinese characters is found and then disappears. Rumors fly about its significance. The hunt for the stele takes on consequences that extend far beyond that normally associated with an important archaeological discovery. But Nate, while entangled in the hunt for the stele, is after a far bigger prize – the true love in his life.Beijing is the backdrop – Peter O’Toole cruises around on his old bicycle while shooting ‘The Last Emperor’, students plot their next move to gain more freedom in China, the old neighborhoods are losing out to skyscrapers while foreign businesses struggle to make money in the pre-capitalist days before 1989. Wild drinking parties on the roof of the Friendship Hotel bring old enemies together. The real China comes into focus when Nate travels to Xian to find a Daoist musician and his beautiful assistant. Through it all, Nate struggles to follow his heart and be true to himself.
Lee Barckmann lives near Portland Oregon with his wife, her cat and their son who drops in between college semesters. Lee has worked in the Info Tech industry for the last 20 years. Born and raised in New Jersey, Lee graduated from the University of Kansas in 1973. He has called Oregon home since the mid-70’s. Lee lived in Eugene for ten years, but then, for reasons that remain unclear to this day, he moved to China, where he taught English for three years. In 1988, he returned to Oregon, after a brief stay in Florida. Lee and his family lived in Corvallis for five years before moving up the Willamette Valley to Wilsonville.Along the way, Lee worked on a couple of films that never got distributed and wrote another novel that has never been published, (as well as many short stories and a play or two). He has brooded about why he never made it big as a writer. Perhaps this book will finally explain that mystery, one way or the other. Lee says that ‘Farewell the Dragon’ was the product of a repressed midlife crisis. Writing the novel was less expensive than a new sports car and less complicated than serial adultery. He asks that the reader please handle 'the whole thing' with care.
About Lee Barckmann
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Published August 23, 2007
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction.