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|Length: 494 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a mystery for people who love mysteries: a good length, full of twists and intrigue, a focus on details while still possessing a fast pace. While it was too long to be a one-sit read for me, it was a book I couldn't wait to pick up again and required no effort to get back into. Whether due to the translation, original intention, or both, there's a lot of modernity to writing. This bothered me a bit, but made the plot no less absorbing and I imagine many readers will prefer it that way. The historical fiction quality takes a back seat to the pure plot of mystery, so don't expect to be easily transported to twelfth-century China.
But for those who are looking largely for an intriguing murder mystery with all the right trappings and twists with a little bit of historical flair, this will be appreciated. I don't recall the last time I read a mystery I enjoyed so much. Definitely recommended.
The character Cí, in this novel strives to learn about human anatomy and buries himself in his studies. He is forced to return to farm life after his grandfather dies and there is where his life becomes a series of experiencing one bad fortune after another. The book is definitely interesting and contains a series of twists. The author obviously did plenty of research of the time period for this book. I do think there may be times where the author has confused Mandarin and Cantonese, which some people (language students like me) will notice.
Ci finds himself in and out of the forensic world. Sometimes acting as a charlatan for a fortune teller to eventually working for the Emperor himself. The people he comes in contact with during his travels are varied, from deviant huskers to true friends.
Anyone who is interested in criminal investigative type stories and what happens to the human body after we die, should give this a read. This is definitely an entertaining book and gives a different view of the CSI world for fans of CSI Miami or the BBC's Copper. Fans of Chinese history will also enjoy this novel.
The end of the book has some information on how the author became interested in this subject and some background on the Song Dynasty. For those wondering, the story is almost 500 pages. My only complants about the book are the discrepancies in language and the fate of one of Ci's adversaries was never revealed. Perhaps this is because the author is planning on writing a sequel.
There were three key things keeping me from liking the story. First, though Garrido clearly has done his research and knows his subject intimately, there are plenty of weird anachronisms. For instance (not spoiling much), the sisters are said to have suffered a genetic disorder. Wouldn't it be simpler and more in context to refer to them as having been cursed with a wasting disease?
Second, I found the main character unlikeable. He is clever, but profoundly stupid. He is someone who should know manners and protocol, but consistently violates them - not in a bad boy can't be bothered with niceties way but rather in a bull in a china shop clumsy way. Though he mourns the loss of his family, he shortcuts rituals of mourning and doesn't seem to grieve much at all. I briefly wondered whether the author intended to portray him as someone with Asperger's, but I think it was just that the character lacked warmth, social skills and common sense. He also made the same errors time and again, trusting when his motto should have been "trust no one." I found myself feeling little sympathy for him.
Finally, the story failed me. It was fairly obvious what the motive was and who was guilty about halfway through. It was painful watching the hero blunder his way through. And, in the end, the resolution was sloppy.
I wish I could have written a more positive review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an absolutely flawless piece of literature. I was always on the edge of my seat and I highly recommend this book to those who like mystery booksPublished 13 days ago by Thomas Schandolph
This book was amazing. I enjoyed all the solving of murders by Ci. He was a genius at reading clues but not about women. I especially like the ending.Published 21 days ago by Linda Cole
I liked this book from the very beginning. It is very entertaining. Full of action and intrigue. I also found interesting the detailed descriptions of the forensic world.Published 1 month ago by Sonia G .
Fascinating time period, great research, intriguing mystery. The narration was also outstanding. Though I haven't read the book in Spanish I think the translator did a great job... Read morePublished 1 month ago by B Batman
Murder, deceit, treachery, court intrigue and a Chinese Sherlock Holmes, based on fact. What more could you ask for? This is a great bookPublished 1 month ago by Charley
I could not give this book any more stars than one as it was NOT checked before being published in E-reader format. I received it via my Kindle Prime . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were everyday people who I could identify with. The author did a lot of research on the subjectPublished 2 months ago by bones/who girl
This started out well enough but was perhaps too ambitious an undertaking for the author to aim for an 800 page tome. Read morePublished 2 months ago by V. Schmidt
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