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This abridged edition introduces readers to the power and drama of the electrifying classic Chinese novel. One of the great works of Chinese literature, beloved in East Asia but virtually unknown in the West, Kingdoms in Peril is an epic historical novel charting the five hundred years leading to the unification of China under the rule of the legendary First Emperor. Writing some fourteen hundred years after the unification, the Ming-era author Feng Menglong drew on a vast trove of literary and historical documents to compose a gripping narrative account of how China came to be China.
Here, translated into English for the first time, Kingdoms in Peril recounts the triumphs and tragedies of those five hundred years, through stories taken from the lives of the unforgettable characters that defined and shaped the ages in which they lived. This abridged edition distills the novel’s distinct style and its most dramatic episodes into a single volume. Maintaining the spirit and excitement of the original novel, this edition weaves together nine of the most pivotal storylines––some extremely famous, others less well known. Readers will glimpse the intensity of tectonic events that shaped everyday lives, loves, and struggles, with powerful women featuring as prominently in the novel as they have in Chinese history. There are many historical works that provide an account of some of these events, but none are as thrilling and breathtakingly memorable as Kingdoms in Peril.
About the Author
Olivia Milburn is Professor in the Department of Chinese at Seoul National University. Her previous publications include The Glory of Yue and The Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan.
"Milburn’s introduction provides comprehensive cultural and bibliographic background for readers unfamiliar with the Ming or the Zhou. . . . For the reader without Chinese, this translation offers entertainment, moral lessons, and insights into Chinese political traditions that are probably as relevant today as in Ming, or indeed Zhou times."
— Asian Review of Books