The plot revolves around a Japanese IT genius who has made an invention desired by several national governments and the Japan-based Korean underworld. Sharpe is unwittingly drawn into this mess and retains an endearingly anti-establishment, phlegmatic approach as he moves step by step towards life-threatening danger. The other principal characters - Sharpe’s wife and the Indian couple who are their best friends - also work well, being clearly delineated and rounded figures. This reader at least still has the hots for Vishal’s wife Meema and would have found it difficult to be as restrained as Kenneth Sharpe. The secondary characters are perhaps less successful, with none of the gangsters, policeman or diplomats that feature quite finding their own voice, but they serve their purpose in keeping the plot moving.
As a former employee of the British Embassy in Tokyo I took particular pleasure in seeing its fictional diplomats embroiled in an international criminal conspiracy. My own spell at the Embassy pales into tedium in comparison.