From China with Luck

Before Ian Fleming created secret agent 007, the Royal Navy's fictional commander James Bond had an unlikely real-life counterpart. Last Action Hero of the British Empire: Cdr. John Kerans 1915-1985 by Nigel Farndale (Short Books; 96 pages) profiles a deskbound naval intelligence officer attached to the British embassy in Nanjing in 1949. At the outset of the cold war, Kerans captured the British popular imagination with his exploits during the so-called Amethyst incident, one of the most memorable naval escapades in China. But while Farndale sheds interesting light on the incident, he missed perhaps the most intriguing part of Kerans'...

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