One hundred and twenty chapters of Chinese Game of Thrones
|Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century AD|
You’d never ever think that a highly complex story encompassing eighty years of history, well fictionalised and romanticised, featuring nearly one thousand characters would be so engrossing. But, it is. I’ve left this book until last, out of the four great classical novels, and I am thankful that it’s last, because it is a fantastic book, one that really requires the following video in order to put you in the appropriate mood.
Now that’s out of the way, Romance of the Three Kingdoms continues the story about the struggle between the three main antagonists for control of China in the Han Dynasty era. Cao Cao, who holds Wei, the northern and largest part of the empire, also controls the emperor as a puppet figurehead. His enemies are the state of Wu in the south and the much smaller, but still deadly state of Shu in the west, held by Liu Bei’s family.
The two countries Wu and Shu hate each other, but ally at convenient and strategic points during the story, most notably at the Battle of Red Cliffs, one of the most notorious naval and land battles of the time between Cao Cao and the allied south. Of course, following this battle, they all go back to hating each other…
The further you read into the book, the more you’re able to discern the portrayal of the various historical figures. Cao Cao is seen as a power hungry prick, the Suns in Wu are similar and Liu Bei is shown as the most virtuous man since Jesus. The supporting characters, generals, grand strategists and spies on both sides make up the bulk of the storytelling, with all the machinations of politics as well as war blending into a fascinating look into the continuous state of war and bloodshed of the period.
We’re now finally past half way in this epic and it just gets better and better. Reading this makes you wish the morning and afternoon commutes were just that little bit longer so that the fate of the characters and those you support are revealed. A thoroughly enjoyable read.