- File Size: 880 KB
- Print Length: 340 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Publerati; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
- Publication Date: May 1, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0085CBWUC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Journey of the North Star Kindle Edition
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The novel is beautifully written and while it is unusual, it is not difficult reading. I feel it gave me a new insight into Chinese culture and history. Obviously the author is deeply knowledgeable about China and the historical period. But it is more than an intellectual treat--though it is that. It is an emotional experience, a profoundly humane work. I happened to find an excerpt from this novel online over a year ago and it has haunted me ever since. The published novel was worth waiting for--it is simply superb. I hope it finds the wide readership it deserves.
Douglas Penick's eunuch, though probably a fictional device, he nonetheless delivers what feels like an authentic account of court life, replete with a recounting of unspeakable cruelties, constant intrigue, glorious pageantry, tender loyalty, all transpiring within an overarching exalted vision of at least a partially enlightened hierarchy.
My biggest problem with this book is the spelling. The author uses a combination of Pinyin and Wade-Giles to spell out Chinese names, but sometimes he just makes them up. For example, Hongwu and Hongxi (era names for the first and fourth Ming emperor) became Heng Wu and Heng Xi in this book. Beiping was spelled as Beibing. Never before in my life have I seen these spellings (I am Chinese and a Chinese history major) in any of the books I've read. Also, somewhere in the book the author stated the Jurchens were Mongols. Jurchens were not Mongols, and although they might have shared a common ancestor and many customs, they were not the same thing. To me that would be the equivalent of saying Vietnamese people are the same as Chinese people.
In the end, I just want to say that this book is fiction. Do not read it as a history book and say that it is accurate. If you want to find a more accurate picture of the Yongle court, then there are academic sources out there. Treat this book for what it is.
Douglas Penick successfully transports the reader into the Forbidden City and the rich court. This comes as no surprise due to the fact the author has spent much of his life teaching and studying Asian culture. Authentic, compelling, and honestly told, this is a novel written with great insight and detail. A most enjoyable historical tale. Definitely recommended to anyone interested in ancient China.
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