“A Hundred Suns,” by Karin Tababe, is a psychological thriller that you won’t be able to stop reading. It’s chocked full of intrigue,, manipulation, lies and deceit. Initially, you are not sure who is doing what to whom. Who does one trust? What are the ulterior motives? There are also secrets of all kinds.
The main characters are Jessie and Marcelle. You don’t know if they are friend or foe. The story occurs from September 1933 to January 1934 in Indochine, later known as Vietnam. There is a struggle with the Communists and the French Colonialists.
Jessie and her husband, Victor, move to Indochine from Paris to work for the Michelin Corporation. Victor’s mother is a Michelin. His job is to oversee the rubber plantations where there are hotbeds of Communists uprisings.
Marcelle is a French expat living in Indochine, married to Arnaud de Fabry. Theirs is an “open” marriage, which enables Marcelle to have an ongoing affair with Khoi, who was born in Indochine and is an extremely wealthy man.
The web of deceit begins early in this novel and the story keeps you coming back to find out what happens next. As a historical novel, the author portrays this area and time in the world very well. The French have control of the government, and they live a luxurious life.
A sect of the people in Indochine are the Annamites. Some of them work for the French colonialists as servants and on the plantations, doing what could be described as slave labor. But many of the Annamites also work alongside the French in the government, an uneasy alliance. Marcelle’s paramour, Khoi, is an Annamite, one who has made money on the backs of his own people. He is caught between two worlds.
“A Hundred Suns” is a great escape novel. It moves quickly and is a fun read. The web of deceit begins early, and throughout the book things are not what they seem.