On the eve of WWII, the foreign controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the illustrious Sir Victor Sassoon. Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly fifty years, playing an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, Emily "Mickey" Hahn, who had just arrived in Shanghai nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, was convinced she would never love again. When she enters Sassoon's glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is immediately absorbed into the social swirl of the glamorous expats who inhabit it, including Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, and a colourful gangster named Morris "Two Gun" Cohen. But when she meets Sinmay Zau, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she finds the real Shanghai through his eyes: the city of rich colonials, gangsters, opium- smokers, displaced Chinese peasants, and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees. However, in this place that her innate curiosity will lead her to discover firsthand, danger lurks on the horizon.
Mickey barely makes it out alive as the brutal Japanese occupation destroys the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai and Mac Tse-tung's communists prepare to take over China.
TARAS GRESCOE is an award-winning journalist and the author of five non-fiction books, which have been translated into six languages on three continents. He is a frequent contributor to "The New York Times," "National Geographic Traveler," and "The Guardian," and has written features for "Conde Nast Traveller," the "Times of London," the "Chicago Tribune Magazine," "Afar," "Salon," "Gourmet," "Saveur," and the "New York Times Magazine.""