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Albert A. Dalia is a scholar of medieval Chinese history, longtime resident of East Asia, and practitioner of various Chinese arts who has turned his decades of life experience into fiction writing. He has produced a series of short stories written in the style of traditional Chinese tales of the supernatural, Strange Tales from the Dragon Gate Inn, and a wuxia shenguai (heroic supernatural fiction) novel, Dream of the Dragon Pool: A Daoist Quest. He also teaches in the Boston University Writing Program. Further information can be found on the following sites:
wanderingblade.com and facebook.com/WuxiaNovelist
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Albert A. Dalia is a scholar of medieval Chinese history, longtime resident of East Asia (Taipei, Beijing, and Tokyo), and practitioner of various Chinese arts who has turned his decades of life experience into fiction writing. He has a great interest in the art of the story and the "art of immersion" in storytelling. Besides his academic writing, he has published a collection of Chinese style ghost stories (Strange Tales from the Dragon Gate Inn) and two historical fiction novels (first one: Dream of the Dragon Pool: A Daoist Quest) in the Chinese wuxia (heroic fiction) style. His latest novel (Listening to Rain) is the beginning of an adventure trilogy (The Adventures of the Shaolin Blade Tanzong) set in early 7th century China. Albert is an avid international cyclist and teaches in the Boston University Writing Program. Visit him at his NEW website: www.wanderingblade.com
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Listening To Rain is the debut book by Albert A. Dalia and its blurb and excerpt chapters intrigued me enough to ask the author for a review copy.
The book begins in the past 607 AD wherein a young boy is taken from his ancestral home after it has been attacked. Twenty years later we are reintroduced to the child who is now grown up and is called Tanzong the Shaolin Blade. His legendary exploits helped the young emperor of the Tang dynasty previously in a time of need. The emperor then assigns his imperial commissioner Li Wei to accompany Tanzong and find out more about disturbances in the southern part of his empire. Such begins the journey that will see both of them travel far and wide in a mystical China and face many great adventures that will be captured by Li Wei in three great scrolls, the first of which is called "Listening To Rain".
This new series book by Albert A. Dalia hearkens back to the classical mytho-fantasy tales by Barry Hughart. The story settings are similar and while Barry's stories featured humor, Albert Dalia eschews the humor but does not skip the inventiveness showcased by Barry Hughart. The story begins in a typical fantasy style with a young child who will grow up to be the epic hero and he does however his journey is only just beginning. As the story progresses we find out that there are many more mysteries to be found in this China as imagined by the author. That's what I liked about the story that it went all out on the magic and fantasy front without being apologetic about it. The characterization isn't all that great but since this is the first volume, I'm always ready to give the benefit of doubt to the author.Read more ›
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Ever since I read Albert's previous book "Dream of the Dragon Pool" I've been looking foward to his next novel and it has been worth the wait!
Listening to Rain is a great novel following the legendary exploits of Tanzong a famous Shaolin monk from Chinese history. All is not as it seems for Tanzong and his partner Li Wei on their mission for the Tang Emperor Tai Tsung, which brings them face to face with pirates, a ghost and a few swordsmen along the way.
From Albert's website - The adventure you are about to embark on is based upon a 7th century Chinese understanding of reality. While many of the characters, incidents, and locations in the story appear in Chinese historical records, some are yet to be discovered, and others may never be. It is up to you to decide if any of this matters.
The book shows Albert's growth as a writer and storyteller while using his knowledge to paint a world of Chinse myth grouded in history. Writing the story as a historical fantasy allowed the author to use Chinese myths with real world locations (the Isle of Pearl in the book is present day Hainan) to build a wonderful setting.
One does not need to have Albert's previous novel "Dream of the Dragon Pool" as it is a stand alone, though if you enjoy this novel I recommend reading it.
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The jiang-hu, that world that never was and always is, lies just inside the covers of Albert Dalia's latest book, Listening to Rain. Herein we follow along in the adventures of the Shaolin monk Tanzong as he works - albeit reluctantly - to preserve the newly-founded Tang dynasty. Along the way he gathers friends, such as the Confucian scholar Li Wei, and enemies, especially the darkly mysterious Celestial Masters, and numerous others somewhere in between. Tanzong, with his spirited sword Flying Dragon, wends his way across - and under - the Empire to foil a rebel plot and also to find out who murdered his own family. Are the answers at the ghostly Fei Lung monastery on the Isle of Pearls? What of Tanzong's sister or the deadly swordswoman White Rainbow? To these questions I can only bow silently and point you toward the book. Enjoy!
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