The Dragon's Eye
by Joel Champetier
Translated by Jean-Louis Trudel
Review by James Walton

Some time in Earth's future interstellar travel has been (presumably) perfected enough to allow explorers to search through the galaxy, finding planets suitable for human occupation. One such planet is very Earth-like except for one flaw. The planet orbits a binary star system, one of which, the smaller, is very faint in the visible light spectrum. Unfortunately, the star, The Dragon's Eye, gives off massive amounts of Ultra Violet light, causing horrible sunburn and severe eye damage to anyone foolish enough to venture outside unprotected. The planet is found to be unsuitable by most of the countries of Earth. For some reason China thinks the planet, which they immediately rename New China, is a good place to start a colony away from the interfering, decadent West.

When we arrive on New China, the colony is already very large and well into its third generation of inhabitants. Things seem to be going well, but the colony is heavily into debt to various Earth entities all of which want a hand in running New China. The New Chinese chafe at this interference and dream of their independence from Earth.

About six or seven pages into The Dragon's Eye, I began getting the feeling I'd read it before.

An inexperienced intelligence agent is pressed into service to complete a field assignment. His job is to separate fact from fiction about the coming rebellion and meet with a highly placed spy.

He must contend with a double agent (laughably easy to identify) a partner who freely admits he has his own agenda, and the ineptness of his buffoon superiors.

While nothing is wrong with the book, The Dragon's Eye comes across as a rather lackluster spy novel. I can recognize the influences of Ian Fleming and John Le Carre, but I see none of Fleming's edginess or Le Carre's grim irony.

We follow the agent, Rejean Tanner, as he bumbles his way through his assignment. Luckily Tanner seems to know he hasn't a clue and seems genuinely surprised at his successes.

Champetier lifts his colony from history. The New Chinese rebellion has many parallels with The Boxer rebellion in China in 1900. That was against foreign interference, though it ultimately failed.

If it were not for the constant references to the UV light and possible blindness, much of The Dragon's Eye could take place on Earth in any crowded, urban area. Is it possible that Mr. Champetier developed a planet as some sort of exercise them placed a mundane story around it?

This book is never as interesting as it should be. Since The Dragon's Eye is a translation, I am will to believe that something was lost in the process.

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