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Prologue August 1974 J ason released the brake. The plane lurched forward and started to gather speed. He increased the throttle and increased speed. Lights from a vehicle came on ahead. The sirens went off, and the guards poured out of the barracks. Jason slowly pulled back on the tiller. Nothing happened. The plane just continued down the runway.
Chapter Two March 31, 1968 A few days after Jason’s fifth birthday, he was shopping in Hong Kong with his nanny, Miss Watson. They passed Wong Tong’s Karate School. Jason stopped and peered in through the window. Inside, older boys were participating in a martial arts lesson. Jason was fascinated by the moves the boys made. They wore white robes with colored belts and looked to be enjoying what they were doing.
Chapter Three K arate lessons were once a week. Wong Tong told Jason that if he worked hard, he could get a black belt in four to five years; however, Jason was far too impatient to wait that long. He studied hard for each category. To pass a new colored belt in karate, you had to show you could memorize certain moves. These moves were called “katas.” Jason made sure to learn a new move each week. After just four weeks, Wong Tong agreed to allow him to take the test for his yellow belt. Jason took it one step further and asked if he could take his orange belt at the same time. Reluctantly, Wong Tong agreed and was surprised to see Jason pass. Jason then asked if he could take his green belt.
Chapter Four T he following day, father and son set off in their best clothes to Buckingham Palace for the garden party. Ray wore his naval uniform. It was customary to invite some officers, and Ray knew he’d been asked for earning the Queen’s Award for Bravery a few years earlier when he saved the life of a Scottish fisherman.
Chapter Five J ason hurried through his crowded neighborhood to the competition, already wearing his gi. Many of the local busi- nessmen and women who had watched him grow up spoke Chinese to him and wished him well. He smiled back, but he was exhausted. He had bruised his head. His leg was in pain from the deep gash, and he was still worried about the previous night. What if someone saw him on the street and recognized him? But he was looking forward to showing his father his karate skills. This alone kept him going.
Chapter Six I t took several weeks for Jason to accept that he had left Hong Kong—his real home—forever. He spent most of those first few days sulking around the house and demanding to call Wong Tong so that he could at least say good-bye long distance. His father told him to keep quiet. Their move back to the UK was Jason’s own doing.