All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

The Good War of Consul Reeves – Wartime Macao

Posted: March 21st, 2024 | No Comments »

I welcome any addition to the rather understudied Macao bookshelf. Of course I’m fascinated by Macao and have been for decades – I’ve written about it in my short study on the Jewish refugees who, mostly moving on from an initial sanctuary in Shanghai, reached Macao thinking it might be aroute to safety in the US or UK. See Strangers on the Praia. Next year I’ll also add to my Destination…. series (Destination Shanghai and Destination Peking) with Destination Macao.

So Peter Rose’s The Good War of Consul Reeves, a novelisation of the life and Macao experiences of the wartime British consul in Macao, John Reeves, is most welcome…

Months before the start of the Pacific War in 1941, John Reeves – his career and marriage failing – is posted as British consul to the tiny Portuguese colony of Macao in southern China.

The Japanese soon declare war on the West with their attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong. But because Portugal is neutral, Macao is left alone and becomes a tiny island of neutrality, an Asian Casablanca surrounded by Japanese-occupied China.

Reeves, a lonely and awkward man, finds himself the only senior representative of the Allies within a radius of thousands of miles. He runs spy rings, collects intelligence, smuggles people to freedom, takes care of refugees and is threatened with assassination – and The Good War of Consul Reeves tells his story.

Leave a Reply