|Large portions of the book are set in Havana's Chinatown pictured above. This picture is from planetware.com|
Chen Pan is a young 20 year-old in China who signs a contract to make his fortune in Cuba. He is promised that the tropical island is full of riches, that "even the river fish jumped, unbidden, into frying pans." Chen Pan figures he would work in Cuba for a few years, and return to China a rich, content, man. So it is that he signs his life into slavery on a sugarcane plantation in Cuba. The ship journey over to the island is an indication of what lies ahead. After long, hard labor, Chen Pan finally escapes the plantation and makes his life in Havana. Pan's escape from slavery in Cuba and his survival in the country's harsh jungle eventually becomes the stuff of legend.
The rest of this review is here.