A truly international thriller, “The Man From Beijing” moves from a hamlet in Sweden to China, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, with Copenhagen and London thrown into the mix. The novel also moves in time, from the present day back to the China and U.S. of the 1860s, where it is concerned with the travels and travails of three brothers “shanghaied” by ruthless press gangs and forced to work on America’s nascent railway system.

These brothers, ancestors of Ya Ru — the man from Beijing — set in motion a story that (in time) culminates in a massacre in present-day Hesjovallen, Sweden. Two of the 19 killed during the bloodbath are distant step-relatives of Birgitta Roslin, a judge in Helsingborg who, while unofficially investigating the murders, finds a diary that reveals the story of her ancestor, a brutal foreman of a railway work party. She realizes that his tale is connected to that of one of the three brothers, Ya Ru’s uncle.

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