China & The Age of The Opium War

Hsin-Pao Chang, Edward Rutherfurd, Stephen R. Platt

Rutherfurd’s China is one of my rare forays into Fiction.

Published in 2021 it is a grand saga of several characters swept up by the currents of historical forces in China.

The period covered is from the beginning of the opium trade in 1839 to the fall of the Ching dynasty in 1911.

The writing is brisk. The vocabulary not demanding. The story flows well. But if one is looking for evocative descriptions of old China one will be disappointed. A Wilbur Smith, Edward is not.

Edward has based his novel on a few books. One is this excellent book by Stephen Platt. Compare his evocative description of Canton with Edward’s.

Commissioner Lin plays a major part in the novel. This biography published in 1964 is the only English biography published of him.

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