For Allison Turk, the journey to China to claim the daughter she is adopting has been a trying experience, a series of false starts and long waits. Forced to travel without her husband, she makes the trip with her nine-year-old stepson. She hopes it will be a bonding experience, but so far this hasn't happened. When she finally holds the little girl in her arms, however, she knows that the trip has been worth all the effort and aggravation. In only two days, she will board a plane for home, taking with her the greatest pride and joy she has ever known. Then suddenly everything unravels. Summoned to an emergency meeting of the adoptive parents, Allison is told a mistake has been made - a "clerical error." The Americans have been given healthy infants rather than children with special needs, for which they are technically qualified, and they are told they must exchange their babies for different children. Allison is faced with a terrible decision: Should she capitulate and surrender the child she has come to love intensely, or risk an attempt to reach the American consulate in Shanghai, where she might at least have a chance to negotiate and keep the baby? Joining with several other American couples caught in the same dilemma, Allison chooses to run. There is a more sinister reason underlying the nightmare than they know about, and their flight spawns a massive manhunt led by a ruthless police colonel wielding all the terrifying apparatus of a police state. What ensues is tense, dramatic, and totally believable - a race in which Allison not only struggles with her infant daughter and recalcitrant stepson, but is caught in a political tug-of-war that forces her to display a depth of courage and a strength of will she had never known she possessed.
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