Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Machine (An Ethan Stone Thriller) by Tom Aston

The Machine is an adventure  thriller, a fast-moving tale of extraordinary characters, brutal action, and a kaleidoscope of technology ideas vividly twisting its way through Hong Kong and China told in a cool, concise, and intelligent voice.


Technology billionaire Steven Semyonov is the cleverest man alive, but an enigma. When he sells up in California and relocates to Hong Kong, it looks weird. When he gives away his billions and defects to China in front of the world’s media, a whole panoply of questions opens up. Why did Semyonov give up everything to be in China? What reason could he have to dabble in weapons trafficking and, who is it who wants him dead? The questions all point to the thing Semyonov was looking for in China: The Machine.


Ethan Stone is ex-Special Forces. Now a peace activist with attitude, and running a whistleblower’s website called Stone has stumbled across Semyonov’s dark secret. Rookie TV reporter Junko Terashima knows about Semyonov too, and Stone travels to Hong Kong to meet her – only to find she has already gone to ground. Stone confronts the enigmatic Semyonov just hours before the man’s defection, but in vain.

Stone won’t give up though, and the more he discovers about Semyonov, the more the questions stack up. What is the source of the staggering technology coming out of China? How does an obscure dissident group China21 know so much? Above all, what is the Machine that Semyonov has been working on deep beneath the mountains of Sichuan?

Arrested for a murder he didn’t commit and hunted by the brutal assassin Johan Ekstr√∂m, Stone is forced to go undercover with a charismatic Chinese dissident woman, Ying Ning.  Stone is drawn further into the interior of China in pursuit of the truth about Semyonov and his Machine, via a Buddhist monastery in Sichuan, the grim tower blocks of the giant ShinComm Corporation in Shanghai, and the hangouts of the Chinese super-rich in Zhejiang.  On the way, Stone is forced to confront his past in the Special Forces and answer some questions about himself.

Tom Aston lives and works in Birmingham, England.  He grew up near Manchester, England and went on to study Chinese (Ancient and Modern) at Cambridge.  His career has gone through the City of London, to publishing in the US, and then to running his own bookstore in Birmingham, England.  He loves writing, and his one regret in life is that he did not start learning his craft as a writer earlier.

He began writing in earnest when he had to give up work to care for a seriously ill family member.

Review copies and interviews are available upon request.

Contact Martin Tomlinson -

The Machine (An Ethan Stone Thriller) by Tom Aston
Pigeon Park Press
ISBN: 9780957175419
$2.99 USA, £1.99 UK

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