* In the prologue a body is floating down the Yangtze River for miles and the farther it floats the more disfigured it becomes.
* A young boy kicks it thinking it is his friend then backs away in disgust. He tells no one.
* The body floats through the Three Gorges, and the narrator tells the history of the river and the changes the dam will bring.
* A local farmer cleans the shoreline and finds the body, noting it is a white man, a foreigner.
* Liu Hulan an Inspector with Public Security is thinking about the gathering of the All Patriotic society, an illegal religious organization.
* Five years prior Hulan had failed to save the lives of 150 women working at an American toy factory.
* She made a deal with the authorities that she could marry an American lawyer, David Stark, and have children.
* For her part...
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