China's 8th Dragon
Reviewed By: The Editorial Board
The Editorial Board of The Columbia Review selects new books and films of interest, as well as sponsored submissions from authors, publishers, directors, agents and producers.

“China’s 8th Dragon” is the second novel from author Jose Reyna Olivares (“Death on Sun River,” 2014). It features a young man from Michigan, Rico Tombunga, who enlisted in the Marines and served in South Vietnam, placing him on a path of a lifelong service to his country that requires violence, deceit, and occasional evildoing.

The author’s real-life experiences in uniform and as a U.S. diplomat in Asia translates here into a thriller that excels in creating tangible realism and a tone reminiscent of a memoir, which gives the novel authenticity.

While the story is fictional, the characters feel real, and the background events are literally today’s news. The rise of China and its current attempt to bully its neighbors and dominate Asia makes this novel highly contemporary and relevant. Added to the mix are drug dealings, international criminal activities, South American weapon deals, naval action above and under water, and enough fun and games thrown in to keep readers interested. In summary, if you enjoyed Mr. Olivares’s “Death on Sun River,” you’ll surely enjoy “China’s 8th Dragon!”