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Rumors from Shanghai by Amy Sommers

It’s 1940 when Tolt Gross, an African-American law graduate, arrives in booming Shanghai from the provincial backwater of Seattle.

He has accepted a senior role managing the Asia operations of a US flour company, a position with responsibility and status rarely available to a Black man in America. But the job comes with a humiliating precondition – he must report to a man who despises him. Once in Shanghai, Chinese and Japanese friends of his from college, introduce Tolt to the delights of Shanghai’s social and nightlife, flourishing despite Japan’s invasion of China three years earlier, but in the middle of the hard work and hard play, Tolt stumbles on a secret plan that Japan is developing to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which could destroy his life and much much more. How to give the alarm? Would anyone believe a warning from a Black man in Shanghai?

Earnshaw Books 2020
Release date: 1 August 2020
ISBN-13: 978-988-8552-77-1
Price: HKD200

About The Author

Amy Sommers is a Sinophile and lifelong history fan. As a fluent Mandarin-speaking China-focused lawyer, in 2004 she moved to Shanghai with her husband and two young sons. Living and working in Shanghai during a period of intense legal, economic and social change, she became intrigued by the city’s pre-World War II incarnation, one that served as both a mecca and a refuge for people from all over the world to reinvent themselves. Her debut novel “Rumors from Shanghai” explores the delights of a reinvented life and the dilemma of whether to risk it to avert a society-wide tragedy.


“Shanghai in 1940 – an international city where anything was possible. Amy Sommers atmospherically recaptures Shanghai on the eve of one of its major turning points and snares the reader in a tale of war, international intrigue and a time when personal decisions were crucial.”

— Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking

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