Literary Tag

"I have cast myself in the role of death ... The mechanism is in some respects a slightly clumsy one but I could think of no other way to marry the unpredictability of death with its inescapable certainty."
― Sin Jai-Seong.[2]

Sin Jai-Seong, inverted and Westernized to Jason Sin, was a fictional wealthy Korean (now American) businessman, founder of the Blue Diamond recruitment and construction firm, and secretly an operative of SMERSH. The character served as the main antagonist in Anthony Horowitz's 2015 James Bond continuation novel Trigger Mortis.



Born into a wealthy Korean family, Sin Jai-Seong was the eldest of three children and the son of a Confucian scholar and senior local government official. His paternal grandmother had attended upon the Empress Myeongseong during the Chosŏn imperial dynasty (1392–1910). The young Sin had been sent to a first-class liberal arts college and then to Seoul National University, where he studied business and law, and was fluent in English before the age of 20.[3] On 25th June 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People's Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. His father immediately took his family to the village of Chu Gok Ri, lodging with the paternal grandmother until the American military informed the village residents they had to leave.

Sin's family and an undetermined number of South Korean refugees were subsequently killed in the No Gun Ri massacre of 26–29th July 1950, by U.S. air attack and by small- and heavy-weapons fire of the 7th Cavalry Regiment at a railroad bridge near the village of No Gun Ri, 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Seoul. Sin escaped the massacre and fled with Republic of Korea troops to the port of Pusan. Before the fateful trek to No Gun Ri, Sin had been given a small silk envelope containing a dozen extremely rare and valuable blue diamonds by his grandmother, likely acquired during her time as attendant to the Empress. He bribed an American marine and stowed away on a boat bound for Hawaii, where he lived for some months before moving to the United States. In New York, he established a recruitment and construction business specializing in low-paid workers in transit, construction and sanitation, which he named Blue Diamond. By 1957[1], he cornered the market and, while there are no estimates to his wealth, he is said to be the wealthiest Korean in the U.S. Despite severe psychological damage resulting from the massacre, he presents himself as a wealthy playboy; throwing lavish parties at his many international properties, attending the Grand Prix circuit, and involvement with tennis, horses and sailing. He has no known vices and no public political affiliations.

Trigger Mortis

Working with SMERSH, Sin Jai-Seong planned to destroy the U.S. space program by staging a fake rocket crash in the middle of Manhattan, New York. Using money supplied by the Russians, Sin bribes a Naval Research Laboratory supervisor into sabotaging their new Vanguard space rocket. When it is launched the rocket will malfunction, resulting in the base staff triggering the Vanguard's self-destruct mechanism (dubbed 'Trigger Mortis'). Simultaneously, Sin intends to stage a fake debris crash in the heart of New York City by detonating an R-11 subway train rigged with 150 lbs of C4 plastic explosives[4] near a vulnerable geological site. The resulting soil liquefaction will destroy the Empire State Building - a symbol of American pride. Also aboard the train will be the upper parts of a replica Vanguard rocket, further validating lies which will be told by men and women in Sin's pay. With the resulting turmoil, the space program will be halted and Blue Diamond will greatly profit from the reconstruction work.

However, a series of accidents lead to the scheme ultimately failing. The supervisor is murdered by his wife and the Soviet bribe money turns out to be counterfeit; attracting the attention of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Meanwhile in Europe, the head of SMERSH, General Gaspanov, orders Sin to meet with him during a separate Soviet scheme at the Nürburgring in West Germany. James Bond is there to protect a British racing driver, but oversees the meeting and begins an impromptu investigation. At the same time, an agent of the U.S. Treasury, Jeopardy Lane, has followed the money trail to Sin and both attend a post-race party held at Sin's opulent castle residence, the Schloss Bronsart. While the party is lavish, the upper floors reflect Sin's psychological state: in a severe state of disrepair, with priceless portraits vandalized - their eyes burnt-out holes. There, 007 discovers photographs of the replica rocket and the launch site at Wallops Island, Virginia. Jeopardy inadvertently triggers a silent alarm and the pair narrowly escape. Sin punishes his head of security by forcing him to select a random method of execution from his deck of lethal Hanafuda (flower cards).

Sin returns to the U.S. in preparation for the rocket launch and has his men make an assassination attempt on 007, who has also traveled to the States in pursuit of answers. Bond teams up with Jeopardy and the pair investigate a Blue Diamond construction depot in New York State. Sin recognizes Lane on the CCTV system and has the pair imprisoned. Dining with his helpless prisoners, he recounts his life story and explains his scheme. Concluding, he tries to force 007 to select the means of his execution from the deck of Hanafuda, but is frustrated when the spy picks one of the three blank cards by sleight of hand. Sin chooses a death for him - to be buried alive - and, after overseeing the funeral, heads to the Coney Island train depot. Bond escapes and eventually boards the train as Sin and his men make the unobstructed journey on the Sixth Avenue line from Coney Island to 34th Street.[5] 007 disables the bomb and, after a firefight, derails the train using makeshift grenades composed of C4 and blast caps. Knocked unconscious, he awakes to find Sin - who has lost all semblance of sanity - kicking him to death. As the Korean raises his firearm to finish him off, Bond whips a metal chain around his leg and tosses the other end onto the live electric rail - electrocuting Sin to death.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 15: Follow the Money", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, p.185. ISBN 9781409159155. “[this counterfeit note is] at least seven years old ... Back in 1950 they made a few changes to the design.” 
  2. Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 18: ... any Card", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, p.231. ISBN 9781409159155. 
  3. Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 17: No Gun Ri", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, p.211-. ISBN 9781409159155. 
  4. Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 18: ... any Card", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, p.227. ISBN 9781409159155. 
  5. Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 22: Tunnel Vision", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, pp.268-269. ISBN 9781409159155. 
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