Mai Jia (the pen name of Jiang Benhu) is one of China’s most popular authors, but he is still practically unknown in the west; this, his bestselling 2002 debut Decoded, is the first of his novels to be translated into English. It’s tempting to think of him as China’s answer to John le Carré. Having worked professionally alongside spies and codebreakers in his country’s secret services, Mai now channels those experiences into fiction that combines literary sophistication with commercial appeal. And like le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Decoded has also been adapted for television and film. (FT)
In his half-dozen novels, Mr. Mai, who has sold millions of books and won many Chinese literary awards, including the Mao Dun Literature Prize, describes intrigue at home that most Chinese, let alone non-Chinese, know nothing about.