Securities attorney Susanna Sloane has recently turned down an offer of the vice- presidency from the newly sworn president. She is writing a book about her recent experiences, when she receives an invitation from Henry Wu, a Chinese government official, to visit Hong Kong and speak before their bar association and stock exchange. She is then asked to become a consultant, assisting the Chinese government in restricting the laundering of drug money through legitimate investments. She learns that the Russian mafia controls the flow of drugs into and out of Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong she experiences some bizarre and unnerving episodes that she refers to as “flashes.” These continue after she returns to New York, and she seeks the help of a hypnotherapist to ascertain their origin. She discovers that Wu had drugged and taken nude photographs of her.
Secretary of the treasury, Roger Howell, enlists her aid. He asks her to accompany his delegation to Beijing to use her influence with the Chinese government to find out how they’re manipulating oil futures purchases on American exchanges. In Beijing she and Howell begin a short-lived affair. On their second night together they argue; and when they meet again in Hong Kong on the next leg of the diplomatic mission, he forces himself on her.
Neither Susanna nor Howell knows they were recorded during sex. When a video of the event suddenly appears on Susanna’s home computer, FBI agents are called to trace its origin. Incensed, Ray Atherley, Susanna’s paramour, leaves.
A deputy director of the FBI, Rick Cervasio, furnishes her with information about US citizens who, acting on behalf of the Chinese, are purchasing oil futures. Together with Howell, they devise a plan to stop the practice. She returns to Hong Kong. Wu’s superior, General Chuan, to prevent her interference, threatens her with public disclosure of the video and of the photographs taken by Wu. Susanna refuses to be intimidated, and leaves, taking the first flight back to Washington. Enroute, she calls Howell and they resume their affair.
When Ray asks for reconciliation, she accepts, but only if he will agree to couples counseling. With the assistance of her therapist, they begin to work out their problems.
As the plan to stop Chinese manipulation of oil futures becomes successful, Susanna is asked to negotiate a new deal for the Chinese—development of oil fields in Venezuela. She meets with the Venezuelan vice president and his oil minister and negotiates an agreement that benefits both the Chinese and the US.
To retrieve the photographs taken by Wu, she enlists her ex-husband, Rusty Byers. They, with the aid of a private investigator, hire a member of the Russian mafia with ties to Hong Kong. When there, they break into and ransack Wu’s apartment. His housekeeper is accidentally killed. When Wu arrives unexpectedly, the Russians shoot him and set fire to the apartment.
Upon their return to New York, Susanna is summoned to the Chinese consulate. She is interrogated, regarding the circumstances of Wu’s death, by members of the Hong Kong Metropolitan Police and the FBI. She denies knowledge, even when confronted with evidence that her fingerprints were found in Wu’s apartment.
General Chuan orders the investigation stopped. Susanna has been too valuable to his country, and he’s secretly delighted that his political rival Wu has been eliminated. The president invites Susanna to the White House. General Chuan is there. The president congratulates her on the negotiations concluded with the Venezuelans that benefit both countries. Chuan offers a ten million dollar bonus, and chides the president into matching it.
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The best thing I can say about this book is that I was engrossed to the very end. Attorney Susanna Sloane travels to Hong Kong to give a speech before the Bar Association and begins to experience some odd “flashes,” of what she doesn’t know. What happens after that you’ll enjoy finding out for yourself. This novel is filled with love, lust, intrigue, power-plays, and great sex.
Finally...a novel where the protagonist is a "woman of a certain age." Securities attorney Susanna Sloane travels to Hong Kong to speak before their bar association and stock exchange. The Chinese government hires her as a consultant. She is drugged and photographed nude by Henry Wu, the Chinese official who extended the invitation. She begins to experience bizarre and unnerving episodes that she calls “flashes” and, with the aid of a hypnotherapist she discovers what Wu had done to her. The secretary of the treasury, Roger Howell, enlists her aid in stopping the Chinese government from manipulating the purchase of oil futures on American exchanges. She travels with Howell and a delegation to Beijing, where she and Howell begin an affair. They are videotaped. When the video suddenly plays on Susanna’s home computer, her paramour, Wall Street wunderkind Ray Atherley, leaves her. Having been thwarted in their purchase of oil futures, the Chinese hire Susanna to negotiate a new deal for oil field development in Venezuela. Susanna devises a scheme that will ultimately benefit both China and the US. She must destroy Wu’s photos. She and her ex-husband return to Hong Kong, and, with the aid of the Russian mob, break into Wu’s apartment. Events spiral out of control and Wu and his housekeeper are killed. Believing that Susanna is responsible, the Chinese send investigators to New York to question her, but a high-ranking Chinese general stops them. Susanna has been too valuable to him and he’s secretly delighted at the removal of a political rival.