- File Size: 2574 KB
- Print Length: 1068 pages
- Publisher: Chu Hartley Publishers (February 10, 2012)
- Publication Date: February 10, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00785HJSQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,182 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Fire From The Sun Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting in a provincial Chinese town in 1965, our main heroes - Weilin/William and Yuezhu/Margaret are 8 year olds that meet and become best friends (and feel the first stirrings of attraction without of course knowing what is it) at the town pool.
Weilin is from an "intellectual" family and his dad is a math professor at the local college, while they have books, vinyl records and other trappings of the educated of the time and place and the boy, only child, is very handsome, bright and quite interested in math and reading.
Yuezhu is from a politically correct family - her father is an army officer of peasant stock and firm revolutionary principles though even in the People's Army, careers rise and fall depending on whose commander's commander is ascending or descending. Yuezhu is beautiful, loves dancing and music and while she is not that interested in math she likes being around with Weilin and they keep meeting despite being at different schools; however Yuezhu is also in awe of her older half brother, a rebellious teen who becomes a main leader of the Red Guards when the Cultural Revolution is unleashed soon after.Read more ›
The story starts in China in the early 1960s and is told through the experiences of two main characters: a boy named Weilin, who later takes the English name William, and a girl named Yuezhu, who later takes the name Margaret. The two have a childhood crush on one another but that soon ends. These children come of age through Mao's reign of terror known as the Cultural Revolution, which has a devastating effect on William.
William's parents are deemed to be bourgeois and counter-revolutionary by the young radicals known as the Red Guards, and the parents suffer terribly for that reason. Margaret's father is an army officer, which puts her in good stead with the Red Guards. She in fact becomes a Little Red Guard and in her own small and childish way, helps, or thinks she is helping, to persecute William's father. William develops a life-long hatred for her that prevails into their adulthood and drives some of the primary action in the book.
Margaret grows up to be a beautiful woman who has a talent for singing, and she eventually becomes an opera star. I fell in love with Margaret the same as I did with Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Scarlett O'Hara. In fact this novel is so well written, the reader will undoubtedly have strong feelings either for or against all the major characters and more than a few of the minor ones.
I don't want to give away any of the story.Read more ›
The other reviewers have already given a good enough idea of the plot; if you need more detail, read the book. It was interesting to watch the author take some of the interests which he has written about in his non-fiction, Chinese history and culture, mathematics, opera, and Wall Street, and incorporate them into a gripping story with plenty of human interest, and a few serious points to make. I was reminded of James Clavell's books, such as "Tai Pan", but Derbyshire's book has it's own unique flavor. It doesn't seem to have found much of a market in its expensive self-published print edition, but it's well worth the Kindle price.
Fire from the Sun is the best historical fiction I've read in more than a decade, since Aztec, by Gary Jennings. Extrapolating forward, this means there will only be a handful of books in that genre as good, as memorable, or as important before I die, if I make it into old age. Given the quality of this book, that seems fair.
The scope of Fire from the Sun is incredible, and incorporates multiple stories and perspectives of the period. If you've seen Chinese cinema of the period, the following themes from famous movies are also reflected in Fire from the Sun. 24 City, From Mao to Mozart, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Summer Palace, and Mao's Last Dancer have clear parallels to the adventures in the book. Non-fiction readers of The Man Who Stayed Behind or I Choose China will recognize the descriptions of Beijing and other towns.
It struck me after finishing Fire from the Sun that the main characters are symbolic of the yellow earth / blue sea debate -- though in complex and unexpected ways. In other words, what is the true China: Beijing or Hong Kong? Finishing a work this massive, the first day was spent thinking of the characters and all they went through. With a little more time to think of the book, though, the symbolism behind the story is just as meaningful. But it was the characters that made me cry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first thing you may notice about Fire From The Sun is that it's long, intimidatingly so. I have read a lot of long books: War and Peace, Les Miserable and The Count of Monte... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ross Richey
I loved "Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream" so I was eager to read this book, but somewhat put off by having to read it on a Kindle (I realized even before I used one that... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Old fogey
Pot-boiler starts in China during the cultural revolution and follows the characters across the world. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Anony Mouse
I have read Derbyshire's mathematical books and political writings and loved them, but I was not certain what to expect with a fictional novel. I loved it even more. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Finis Gillespie
A stirring historical novel from an author more notorious for his commentary than his fiction. Draws strongly from his deep knowledge of China and opera, and features brightly... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Karin Crawford (email@example.com)
A good story well told. Solid craftsmanship, little artistry. A thousand diverting allusions-- all explained (necessary for Western audiences). Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Would have been five stars except that it spent much, much, much too much time on the Tiananmen thing, it made the guy too bad, and the girl too good.Published 22 months ago by Albuquerque Amazon Buyer
"Fire from the Sun" is a great novel that is full of surprises including plenty of action/adventure that will please fans of my favorites - Clive Cussler and C.S. Forester. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bill
Mr. Derbyshire started out writing a great book about early Communist China, and then decided to ruin it with pederasty and other perversions. A great disappointment.Published on June 13, 2014 by AT