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Betsy Tobin

February 2004, Morecambe Bay

One freezing night, Angie wades into the sea in a drunken bid to commit suicide. Braced for death, instead she saves a man’s life: a young Chinese cockle picker, the survivor of a tragic accident. 

They share neither language nor experience, but she agrees to let him stay with her and disappear. Within a short time their pairing blossoms into something darkly passionate.

But what Angie doesn’t know is that Wen is a wanted man, on the run from a criminal gang who pose just as great a threat as the icy waters of Morecambe Bay. 

Crimson China traps the reader from the outset, shining a light on a hidden world that

runs in parallel to our own. 

Praise for Crimson China

‘Betsy Tobin coaxes these damaged lives into alignment, cutting between points of view with great skill and sensitivity. At times unbearably tense, Crimson China has lots to say about the trade-off between need and exploitation, and the way love can erode cultural difference.’       The Guardian 


‘This fine novel grows in pace and power, propelled not only by its social conscience but also a vividly drawn cast and a gradually building sense of jeopardy as the snakeheads close in.’    Daily Mail 


‘Satisfyingly complex, with its may strands held together by the deceptively still sadness of the sea…the stories of all the nation’s illegal immigrants are somehow illuminated and, as a memorial, the novel is a success.’       Sunday Times 


‘Tobin knows how to spin a tale and keep the pages turning. She captures the sense of alienation felt by her characters, and the quiet desperation of an invisible underclass.’       Independent 


‘Tobin seamlessly incorporates documentary material into the story. This gripping study of loss and redemption is also an authentic portrait of an invisible underclass.’    Financial Times 


‘Betsy Tobin ingeniously manages to portray events with a tragic realism that doesn’t call for theatrics. Instead there is a deep-rooted emotion here that doesn’t require fireworks; rather it is an aching throb that seeps through…a captivating novel with a marvelous realism.’     Book Caterpillar



Read a sample here

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