The crumbling building featured on the cover of Son of Heaven is the International Finance Centre building (more specifically one of the two similarly designed IFC towers) in Hong Kong, a “special administrative region” on the southeastern cost of China. It’s a magnificent building (it was also featured in The Dark Knight), and was just recently topped as the tallest structure in the territory by the International Commerce Centre (there seems to a redundancy problem with whoever’s naming these buildings…).
Several summers ago, I spent three weeks in Hong Kong. It’s an amazing place — full of beautiful and peculiar sights and sounds and smells. It’s very reminiscent of the Chung Kuo novels – a tremendous gap between the rich and poor, teeming with culture and characters at all levels. It also exemplifies the East vs. West struggle present in the novels, although perhaps reversed – Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony for over 150 years. The Western influence continues to influence the territory, although it’s quickly disappearing as the mainland asserts increasing authority and the culture of Hong Kong comes into its own after, what some might argue, a long period of domination.
I’m thinking the choice of the image of IFC for the cover of the new novel was purposeful, if subtle.