China Coaster by Don Smith. Captain Michael O’Connor has lived most of his life on the China coast, working on ships in some capacity, until becoming the captain of a ship owned by a Shanghai company. When the communists move into China, foreigners lose their standings unless they become Red. Mike finds himself without a ship, and out of a job. Then it gets complicated. A Russian agent believes he is an American spy and tries to kidnap him and take him to Russia, but he escapes. A White Russian girl hides him, and he cares a lot for her, but she is murdered by the Russian agent, and his only chance now is with the help of a Chinese gangster. Obtaining passage on a ship, he finds out too late that it’s rigged for a pirate take over. His suitcase contains weapons he wasn’t aware of, and when the pirates take control of the ship, he is forced to steer it to their coordinates. With other American and British on board, he must obey or the passengers could be killed. The pirates loot the boat of Red China gold, and take it ashore at Bias Bay, where it is then secreted away in care of the Chinese gangster. Now the book takes on the plot of “Lost Horizons”, as he is taken to a mountain valley ruled over by the pirates, and headed by Pao Chu, a 25-year-old beautiful American girl. She had been shipwrecked as a child, and a Mandarin (the Chinese gangster) had raised her as his daughter. They fall in love and he wants to take her to San Francisco, and leave China waters, but first he wants to kill the Russian agent who had murdered the girl in Shanghai. He goes after the Russian, and while away, the Chinese gangster dies, and chaos reigns in Chingfoo, the Shangri-la-like village. Returning for his love, Pao Chu, he finds one of the pirates in charge, holding her a prisoner. Now they must escape this paradise and make their way to Hong Kong and America, if they don’t get killed first. This was an action-packed novel, and predates the author’s more popular Secret Mission spy series. The story is copyright 1952, but my copy is dated 1953. A good plot, and a fun read.