Seven hundred years ago, the ancient Chinese Song dynasty was forced into hiding. With them went the Imperial Seal, a priceless artifact whose recovery could drastically alter the political landscape of China. After tracking down a map that could lead him to the Imperial Seal’s hiding spot, Hiko Shimisu sets out on a journey to find the relic in hopes of using it to defeat his power hungry mother, whose actions have left Hiko and his father destitute and alone.
BUTTERFLY HILL’s premise is entwined with the history of Hong Kong. The skillful inclusion of Chinese history in the novel’s conflict adds weight to the plot without overwhelming the reader. The use of Chinese culture, landmarks, and history breathe life into BUTTERFLY HILL’s setting. Brendan Le Grange’s firsthand experience colors the novel, adding a rich layer of authenticity that will thrill readers, no matter their level of international experience.
The storyline of BUTTERFLY HILL is split between three protagonists: Hiko, a clever art thief with the instincts of a cat and a mind for revenge; Teapot Lee, a nervous soldier that’s been trained to defend what remains of the Song dynasty; and Matthys Rossouw, a disgraced detective that’s determined to hunt down and capture Hiko in order to restore his honor. Each point of view character reveals new aspects of the overarching conflict between China’s current government and the Song dynasty—and ups the stakes as they all work against one another in the pursuit of their own goals.
Hiko’s storyline is the backbone of BUTTERFLY HILL. Like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom, Hiko has to crawl, climb, dig, and swing his way through caves, waterfalls, and hidden temples to collect twelve different pieces to the final puzzle. The puzzles Hiko faces in BUTTERLY HILL are based on the twelve Chinese zodiac. Using his knowledge of Chinese mythology, Hiko has to avoid traps while dodging gunfire from both Detective Matthys and Teapot’s contingent of soldiers.
BUTTERFLY HILL is the second novel in Brendan Le Grange’s Matthys Rossouw Pursuit series. While some of Hiko’s emotional stakes no doubt rely on the previous novel in the series, BUTTERFLY HILL is easy to understand and can be read and enjoyed as a standalone book by any reader looking for a fun, culturally rich action adventure story.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader