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The Devil of Nanking

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,033 Ratings  ·  567 Reviews

With the redolent atmosphere of Ian Rankin and the spine-chilling characters of Thomas Harris, Mo Hayder's The Devil of Nanking, takes the reader on an electrifying literary ride from the palatial apartments of yakuza kingpins to deep inside the secret history of one of the twentieth century's most brutal events: the Nanking Massacre.

ebook, 360 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 04, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”You can be brave and confident as you like, you can convince yourself that you’re invulnerable, that you know what you’re dealing with. You think that it won’t ever really get too serious--that there’ll be some kind of a warning before it goes that far, danger music, maybe, playing offstage, the way you get in films. But it seems to me that disasters aren’t like that. Disasters are life’s great ambushers: they have a way of jumping on you when your eyes are fixed on something else.”

 photo RapeofNanking_zps89118be6.jpg
Rape of Nan
...more
Arah-Lynda
Feb 24, 2016 Arah-Lynda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeffrey Keeten
Shelves: top, i-said
Mo Hayder delivers the most thought provoking thriller I have ever encountered. Set in 1990 Tokyo with roots that take you back to the 1937 Nanking massacre, this account is positively chilling.

Three voices have entered my head.


Grey: is a personally troubled, young student from London, with a highly unstable past and a vested interest in her research of war atrocities, most notably the 1937 Nanking Massacre. She has come to Tokyo in search of Shi Chonming, a Nanking survivor, who Grey believes
...more
Katie
Jul 06, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished this a few days ago, and it might be my favorite book of the year. Terrifying. Expect a review next week!
Dannii Elle
This book can only be defined as a masterpiece. It is such a complex and thought provoking book, finishing on one of the most heart-wrenching and distressing endings I have ever experienced.
Bill
Aug 11, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Man, what is it with the Japanese?

Surely there are good and bad people in every culture. But the bad Japanese? These are in a league of their own. I have read accounts and seen documentaries of Japanese POW camps. Their torture techniques were elaborately conceived to not only inflict physical agony but also emotional degradation.

Now google Nanking if you dare. The images are straight out of hell.

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children massacred in 1937. The lucky ones were killed immed
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Maylin
Feb 23, 2013 Maylin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is really hard to categorise this book. It is really scary but not a horror story (well not in the conventional sense). There is a mystery at the heart of it but it isn't crime or mystery. It is about another culture that is sometimes hard to understand and accept. It creeped me out but I had to keep reading (though I am not a fan of being scared) It was dark and sinister but not bloody and gory. It was also enlightening. My mother is Chinese and hates the Japanese, which always embarrassed m ...more
Vaso
May 18, 2016 Vaso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Για να είμαι ειλικρινείς, για τη "σφαγή της Σανγκάης", δεν είχα ακούσει τίποτε. Το βιβλίο αναφέρετε σε αυτό το "μαύρο" γεγονός για την ιστορία της Κίνας και της Ιαπωνίας. Πόσο σκλήρα απάνθρωπος μετατρέπεται κανείς εν καιρό πολέμου????
PJ
This book somehow manages to be both a mystery/thriller AND a cross between literary and historical fiction at the same time. I was just riveted from page one.

It's hard to believe this is the same author as "Ritual" which was exciting but certainly not written at this level of detail. I completely trusted the world and characters this author has created.

I don't give 5 stars very often and though this had a few holes (mostly to do with wanting more details but not needing them) "Devil of Nanking
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Sara
Oct 08, 2010 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jaclyn Day
Dec 21, 2012 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this over the past few nights and have decided that it’s one of the more haunting, unforgettable books I’ve read recently. A young woman named Grey is institutionalized after she becomes obsessed with the Nanking massacre. As a young child, she found a book in her home that had a reference to a obscure film recording of a particular atrocity that occurred during the massacre and refuses to let it go. She travels to Tokyo to meet a professor, a survivor of the massacre, who she believes kn ...more
Mona
Nov 22, 2014 Mona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not for the faint of heart. It's creepy and full of horrors (some imagined, some based in historical reality). Mo Hayder is definitely attracted to horrible events and twisted and/or strange--not to mention deviant--characters.

That being said, this is a well written and fascinating crime thriller/historical novel.

The author does everything right. She builds suspense and tension. She writes beautifully. The characters are weird and memorable. There are plenty of surprises and strange rev
...more
Richard Waddington
An unusual and creepy thriller that is leant an air of authenticity by the author's own time in Tokyo. As with all of Hayder's stories, the subject matter is disturbing and graphically-described. That is not to say that the violence and horror are gratuitous, more that she does not shy-away from using those elements to ramp-up feelings of unease and discomfort in the reader.

The main character is a bit peculiar (another Hayder staple) but suits the story well. The dialogue is well-written and rea
...more
John Lester
Jan 11, 2013 John Lester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am familiar with the events of Nanking, during the invasion by the Japanese, in the late 1930's. I came into to this expecting the upmost in horror and the lowest acts of man. That was here. The story is told by a professor who lived,worked,and experienced the rape of Nanking and a young English woman who has spent much of her studies researching those days of depravity.
One has knowledge from participation and the other far removed, and somewhat sanitized, by the printed page. But, when it com
...more
Teresa
Apr 25, 2016 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Tóquio” é um livro que me manteve em permanente angústia durante toda a leitura.
É baseado num episódio da história da humanidade – o massacre e tortura de milhares de chineses, pelo exército imperial japonês, durante a invasão da cidade de Nanquim, em 1937.
A acção desenrola-se, capítulo a capítulo, entre a cidade chinesa e Tóquio 50 depois, onde encontramos Grey, uma jovem inglesa, que procura um filme que relata um episódio do massacre.
É um livro muito bem escrito e muito complexo, que expõe
...more
Karin Slaughter
Apr 07, 2014 Karin Slaughter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love.

Mo spent time being an escort in Tokyo, so she knows what she's talking about. I think this is a fantastic book, mostly because it's so different from her other stuff. Really shows amazing range on her part. My only quibble is that as horrible as the twist is, it's not as horrible as I was expecting, but that's only because I always expect something nasty from this author. And I mean nasty in a good way, not nasty like when your mother tells you not to touch something.

Highly re
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Szplug
Apr 25, 2011 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book not expecting a whole lot, and would have to count myself pleasantly surprised. Mysterious-English-I'm Not Mad!-runaway Grey, having wound up wandering about in a cramped and uninviting Tokyo, turned out to be a character I actually became interested in—though I was less drawn towards the parallel story involving the brutal recollection of Shi, an eyewitness to the savage extended sessions of bayonet practice that the invading Imperial Japanese Army inflicted upon the haple ...more
João Carlos
“Tóquio” foi a minha estreia literária com a escritora inglesa Mo Hayder e revelou-se um livro “doentiamente” excelente.
O ponto de partida do livro são os crimes da guerra genocida perpetrados pelo exército imperial japonês em Nanquim, durante a guerra com a China entre 1937 e 1938, e em que foram cometidas inúmeras atrocidades, como estupros, saques sistemáticos, torturas macabras, incêndios criminosos e execução de prisioneiros civis e militares, num compêndio de violência generalizada e atroz
...more
Lisa
Feb 28, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
A brilliant thriller. Grey (who is the oddest character ever!) is a woman with a troubled past who is looking for evidence regarding war crimes that occurred in Nanking in 1937.
She goes to Tokyo in her quest for a film she believes exists and very quickly her adventure turns unsavoury.
The audio version is split between the voice of Grey and Shi Chongming, an elderly Chinese professor at a Japanese university who Grey believes is in possession of the film she seeks.
I really enjoyed this thriller
...more
Cat
Aug 16, 2014 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014, ebook
Grey is a young woman in her twenties who travels to Tokyo to discover if something she found out when she was younger is indeed true: the terrible events that took place in Nanking in 1937. Raised by very protective parents, Grey has no notions of the world and how to behave in society. So when she starts talking about what Japanese soldiers did to the Chinese in Nanking, everyone thinks she is seriously demented. After some years at the hospital and then at university, and burdened with her ow ...more
Erika
This was the weirdest, most fucked up mystery/whodunnit/crime/noir/thriller I have ever read. It kept me up nights and I LOVED it. It does deal with the history of what happened in Nanking during the war, and I didn't know any of it. There were two different stories going back and forth and I was invested in both of them which never happens. Such a fantastic book.
Laura
Jul 04, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed opinions about this book.

While it was gripping, I took my time reading this book because it was not one of those read-it-and-get-it-done-with-so-that-I-can-say-that-I've-read-this kind of books. It contains a lot of disturbing subject matter, so definitely not for the weak of heart.

I was really fascinated by the characters, though I sometimes found it frustrating that the writer builds suspense, and then reveals so little by little that I'd be thinking, "Oh come on just spill it al
...more
S.
Dec 23, 2012 S. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: red-queen, dutchess
it's said to be a writer, you're far better off working three years as a bar hostess than getting an MFA. possibly Mo Hayder understood this; as the author's blurb mentions, she left school at fifteen and has since seen success conquering the world of publishing. her books are shilled at petrol stations; she has Times and Daily News and Independent reviews practically breathless in their praise.

Hayder writes a book with feeling and a good attempt at "the thriller," but ultimately falling short o
...more
Tom
Feb 01, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When English girl Grey was very young she found a book about the Japanese invasion of Nanking. Reading about the atrocities committed there, she found a description of something so terrible she had to ask somebody if it were really true. But nobody would believe her when she told them that she read it and she was labeled 'sick', 'twisted' and 'evil'. And the book vanished, leaving her with no evidence to back up her protests.

Ever since then Grey has been obsessed with proving that that atrocity
...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
This book was haunting, I couldn't stop thinking about it after I read it. I had never heard of the Nanking massacre until I read this book, which weaves a fictional story with the factual history of Nanking. It was a story of a student with a strange obsession about the Nanking massacre, who believes there is cinematic evidence of it in Tokyo and ventures there, with little or no resources or money, to get to the truth of it. She meets with a survivor, whose story is told in flashbacks. It is s ...more
Daniela
Jul 08, 2016 Daniela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing is phenomenal, the plot is insanely creepy without actually being a horror novel. I would have given it five stars if it weren't for the fact that all the shocking plot-twists and the ending could be predicted by the first half of the book. Other than that, it's a really good novel that draws terror from a very obscure period in mankind's history and manages to tell you a story while getting you to reflect on how dark the human race can be. Highly recommended (thanks, Janie C!!)
Frank
May 18, 2016 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very engrossing novel from Hayder that weaves two storylines together: the first is the story of Grey, a disturbed young woman from England who travels to Tokyo to try to find out some truths about the Nanking massacre of 1937; and second the story of Shi Chongming, who recounts in painful detail through his diary his memories of the Japanese invasion of Nanking and the attempts that he and his wife Shujing make to to stay alive.

Grey had read in a book with an orange cover some harrowing account
...more
Arah-Leah Hay
This was my first Mo Hayder novel and it probably won't be my last.. The writing is beautifully rendered and the story dark and disturbing. I found it intriguing and difficult to put down. A wonderful historical thriller!

Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
3.5 Stars

It's been a day since I read The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder, and I still don't know how I feel about it. Know that the novel is NOT for the faint of heart; it is quite graphic in its depiction of the slaughter on Nanking.

It is also moving. The story of Shi Chongming is compelling, sad, and just plain awful. Grey is obsessed by the massacre that occurred in Nanking. She's waited nine years, seven months and eighteen days to see Shi Chongming after researching every little reference ab
...more
Matt Allen
Dec 26, 2014 Matt Allen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
The Devil of Nanking strives for something epic and falls well short, but its weird, twisted heart is in the right place.

Having read Hayder twice before (Birdman, The Treatment), I was expecting two things--for Nanking to be gruesome in uncomfortable ways and for her to pull no punches with her characters. It's something I've enjoyed immensely in her reads before. In Nanking, not only does she pull punches on her central characters but she pulls them in the plot, biding then building toward a fi
...more
Jerome Parisse
Sep 12, 2010 Jerome Parisse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tokyo (or The Devil of Nanking, depending on which edition you're reading) by Mo Hayder is a book that is hard to put in a box, and that's not a bad thing. Some classify it as thriller, others as horror or even historical fiction. It's a little bit of everything. Thankfully, the horror side of it is not prevalent, it's just that some parts, especially towards the end of the story, are not for the faint-hearted. Tokyo is the story of Grey, a disturbed young British woman on the search for a film, ...more
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Unit 731 1 12 Jan 03, 2015 09:15AM  
Riveting account of the massacre 1 21 Jul 22, 2012 01:29AM  
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Mo Hayder left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She has an MA in film from The American University in Washington DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University UK.

Mo lives in Bath with her daughter Lotte-Genevieve.

Series:
* Jack Caffery
More about Mo Hayder...

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“I'm not very good at knowing what other people are thinking, but I do know that you can see tragedy, real tragedy, sitting just inside a person's gaze. You can almost always see where a person has been if you look hard enough.” 4 likes
“I noticed that in Tokyo people didn’t smell. It was funny. I couldn’t smell them, and they didn’t say very much: the trains were packed but it was quite silent, like being jammed into a carriage with a thousand shop-window mannequins.” 4 likes
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