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3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  5,866 Ratings  ·  666 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.

A young Englishwoman obsessed with an i
Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 2007 by Goldmann (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 15, 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
Oct 03, 2013 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
Jun 12, 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!
Jun 06, 2012 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
Horace Derwent
May 17, 2016 Horace Derwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I crazily fell in love with Mo after reading this gripping, attracitve and sexy book of novel
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
Mar 29, 2014 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????
Nov 05, 2011 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
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.
5/5 stars | Favorite Standalones
Just decided to go for it because I honestly am still flipping through it daily to see if I can see anything new or figure out questions I've had - plus that writing is just beautiful!!


I FINALLY FINISHED IT. All it took was me getting violently sick and being forced to stay in bed rather than go out with college people for me to absolutely tear through this book - and it was INCREDIBLE.

This book is sort of impossible to explain. Many people have asked
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
Wayne Barrett
Apr 11, 2017 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, thriller, mystery, 2017

This book did not carry the fast paced, hardcore punch that I have found in other Hayder novels but its historical relevance gave it a power all its own.

I believe this story carried even more weight for me because I have just recently read Iris Chang's 'The Rape of Nanking', a true story of the atrocities committed by the Japanese in their invasion of China in the 1930's. Of all the accounts of the horrors of war I have ever read, the story of Japan's treatment of the Chinese people during thei
Sep 30, 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
Jaclyn Day
Dec 19, 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
A 'thriller' devoid of thrills.

Wanted to give up halfway due to the borefest of characters, foreshadowing that's obvious to all but the MC (who just happened to excel in the tasks required of her, by the way) and convenient plot train.

There is food for thought but it's undermined by the easy coincidences and my inability to empathise with the MC; her feelings were understandable but the plot armour she's wearing just felt like a cop-out most of the time.

I plodded on to the finish line; the end
Aug 05, 2012 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
I'm torn with this one. I'm normally drawn to the darker thrillers and novels with an unreliable narrator but I found it difficult to gel with this novel. The subject matter is dark, gritty and violent but ultimately it is a thriller about guilt and redemption. Grey herself was an interesting character, I liked her sense of containment and detachment but I didn't like her particularly or the choices she had made.

My major issue was the lack of real characterisation with any of the characters with
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
Two narrators, two very different timelines and both held my rapt attention. Each chapter while shuttling between two POVs winds the suspense into a tight knot around your neck that, you have no other choice but to sit in a corner and read the whole damn thing and have unexplained shivers running through your body! I'm still breathless! This is my first mohayder and won't be my last. Apparently the author is known for not shying away from horrifying storylines and this book h
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
Mar 04, 2010 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
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
6+ rocket ship to the top of my all time favorite book list, stars.

If ever there were a book that i could describe as would be this one.

Is it for everyone? Absolutely not.
There are sections of this book that are brutal. That are intensely hard to read. And there are themes throughout the book that might be triggers for some people.

But, for me this was easily one of the most beautifully written books i have ever come across in my life. I literally ran out of my trusty small po
Jan 10, 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
Leah Bayer
This book was a pleasant surprise. I think I was expecting more shock-horror based on the summary (which I'm not a huge fan of), but I'd seen so many positive reviews (and I can't resist thrillers set in Japan) so I decided to give it a go. Well, friends, this is not at all shock-horror, so if a book about Nanking freaks you out don't fear: there's no gratuitous violence. In fact, there's little violence at all... though when it does happen, it's very effective.

This is a dual-narrative thriller/
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
Jan 23, 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
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.
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!

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.
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The Mystery, Crim...: * Dec/Jan 2016/2017 Group Read: Devil of Nanking, by Mo Hayder 27 91 Jan 17, 2017 09:01PM  
Unit 731 1 18 Jan 03, 2015 09:15AM  
Riveting account of the massacre 1 25 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.

* 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.” 9 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.” 5 likes
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