China
by Rutherfurd, Edward






The internationally best-selling author of Paris and New York takes on an exhilarating new world. Maps.





EDWARD RUTHERFURD is the internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Paris, New York, London, The Princes of Ireland, and The Rebels of Ireland.





For his newest epic about an intriguing world locale, Rutherfurd (Paris, 2013) dives into seven decades of Chinese history, beginning in 1839, as circumstances lead to the First Opium War, the Boxer Rebellion, and more. The novel has a tighter scope, time-wise, than his usual big-canvas approach, which allows for in-depth exploration of an overarching theme, China's subjugation by Western powers, particularly Britain. Taking the long view, Rutherfurd adeptly dramatizes the impact of and fallout from major events, including the Taiping Rebellion and the destruction of Beijing's Summer Palace. His characters, among them British merchants, missionaries, Chinese government officials, peasants, pirates, and an artisan who rises high in service at the imperial palace through unusual means, assert their individuality while embodying beliefs on different sides of China's internal and external conflicts. The protagonists are predominantly men, but many fascinating women also feature in the story. Though the first third feels overly drawn-out, the novel takes an entertaining, educational journey through China's rich and complex history, geography, art, and diverse cultures during a tumultuous epoch. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





For his newest epic about an intriguing world locale, Rutherfurd (Paris, 2013) dives into seven decades of Chinese history, beginning in 1839, as circumstances lead to the First Opium War, the Boxer Rebellion, and more. The novel has a tighter scope, time-wise, than his usual big-canvas approach, which allows for in-depth exploration of an overarching theme, China's subjugation by Western powers, particularly Britain. Taking the long view, Rutherfurd adeptly dramatizes the impact of and fallout from major events, including the Taiping Rebellion and the destruction of Beijing's Summer Palace. His characters, among them British merchants, missionaries, Chinese government officials, peasants, pirates, and an artisan who rises high in service at the imperial palace through unusual means, assert their individuality while embodying beliefs on different sides of China's internal and external conflicts. The protagonists are predominantly men, but many fascinating women also feature in the story. Though the first third feels overly drawn-out, the novel takes an entertaining, educational journey through China's rich and complex history, geography, art, and diverse cultures during a tumultuous epoch. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





An overstuffed coffer of silver yuan, renegade generals, general yearning, jeweled nail guards, and pilfered testicles. China: The Novel¬ may have all the marketing ring of Hot Dog...The Movie, but Rutherfurd's formula over half a dozen period soaps remains constant: Take a historical period, populate it with dashing and dastardly characters, and go to town. Here it plays out in a tale full of Orientalizing clich√©s that would drive Edward Said to despair, from the obligatory "Confucius says" to yowling rebels dispatched by heroic Britons, with one such ingrate coming a cropper thanks to an expertly hurled cricket ball. "Shall I kill him, Grandfather?" asks the young lad who lobbed the googly. "I can chop his head." Grandfather is a fellow named John Trader, who appears early in this century-spanning story as an ambitious lad who lives up to his last name shifting opium and tea. The stern Scottish general who inspects him in India, whose "eyebrows turned up at the ends so that he looked like a noble hawk"‚?"think C. Aubrey Smith's character in the 1939 film The Four Feathers, parts of which seem to have drifted into Rutherfurd's imaginarium‚?"eventually allows Trader into his demesne, but only after Trader loses an eye and thereafter projects a Lord Nelson‚?"ish aspect. His remaining eye is firmly fixed on his beloved Agnes, who says pithy things like, "Have you had a good lunch?" Meanwhile, big doings are afoot: The European powers are carving out territories, contending warlords are mussing up the Confucian order, and, as the narrator of this part of the multipart saga tells us, "the clouds were darkening." That narrator, the most interesting character in a book full of stick figures, is a eunuch who is not quite omniscient and certainly unreliable and who spends psychic energy engineering the disappearance of an enemy's detached genitalia while faithfully serving an empress who's not above voicing an authorial groaner: Asked about the practice of foot binding, she replies, "I'm going to take steps to end it." Ouch. A by-the-numbers romp in the exotic. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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