December 6 (Hardcover)
Simon & Schuster, 9780684872537, 352pp.
Publication Date: September 30, 2002
Set in the crazed, nationalistic Tokyo of late 1941, "December 6" explores the coming world war through the other end of history's prism -- a prism held here by an unforgettable rogue and lover, Harry Niles.
In many ways, Niles should be as American as apple pie: raised by missionary parents, taught to respect his elders and be an honorable and upright Christian citizen dreaming of the good life on the sun-blessed shores of California. But Niles is also Japanese: reared in the aesthetics of Shinto and educated in the dance halls and backroom poker gatherings of Tokyo's shady underworld to steal, trick and run for his life. As a gaijin, a foreigner --
especially one with a gift for the artful scam -- he draws suspicion and disfavor from Japanese police. This potent mixture of stiff tradition and intrigue -- not to mention his brazen love affair with a Japanese mistress who would rather kill Harry than lose him -- fills Harry's final days in Tokyo with suspense and fear. Who is he really working for? Is he a spy? For America? For the emperor?
Now, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Harry himself must decide where his true allegiances lie.
Suspenseful, exciting and replete with the detailed research Martin Cruz Smith brings to all his novels, "December 6" is a triumph of imagination, history and storytelling melded into a magnificent whole.