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Bruce Venables was born in Hobart and was a member of the Tasmanian Police Force. In 1976 he joined the Royal Hong Kong police as an Inspector. He served in the Hong Kong Marine Police as a launch commander and in the Tactical Unit as a platoon commander. In 1984 Bruce took up residence in Sydney and began his career as a writer of film and television scripts. He is also well known to Australian audiences as an actor. His first novel, A NECESSARY EVIL, was published in 1995; his collection of poetry , THE SPIRIT OF THE BUSH, was published in 2003; and his saga of Hong Kong, THE TIME OF THE DRAGONS, was published in 2004. Bruce lives at Bondi Beach and the Central Coast, NSW, and is married to best- selling novelist and actress, Judy Nunn. They have two dogs, Lucy and Baxter.
Many people will recognise Bruce Venables’ well lived-in face from the numerous TV soapies and cop shows he has appeared in over the years, and his parts in films including Spider and Rose and Paperback Hero. What is perhaps less well known is that Venables has written a number of screenplays, a debut novel, A Necessary Evil, back in 1995 and a book of poetry published last year. And before all that, the multifaceted Venabales served as a policeman in Hong Kong in the 1970s. It is his time in uniform and in Asia that he has drawn on for this novel, set in Hong Kong, mainland China and the UK from the 1920s until World War II. With stolen gold, corrupt cops, triads and pirates, there is action aplenty. Venables has clearly done his historical and cultural research, but this is actually what lets the novel down—at over 500 pages, it is over-laden with long expository passages and often-wooden characters proclaiming at length. But the plot does rocket along with plenty of intrigue, sex and colourful Chinese curses, and for those who enjoy adventure in an exotic setting—and have the time and patience—this is a pretty good ‘airport’ book or Father’s Day gift. Tim Coronel is the assistant editor of AB&P. C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors