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  • Writer's pictureChristopher G. Moore

Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

by Barry Hughart Del Rey Mass Marke: ISBN 0345321383

The novel has been called lyrical and won the World Fantasy Award in 1985. The novel has rave reviews on including “the most effective, most moving fantasy novel I have read.” Another reviewer draws with Tolkiens’s Lord of the Rings. There is a powerful incentive to pick up a book: A Lord of the Rings set in China.

I must confess I am not a big fan of fantasy novels but this one has caught my attention and appears worth a read. It came to my attention for a review by Colleen Cahill, she says of Bridge of Birds:

“Hughart has mined the rich history of China and also its legends, myths and lore, but it does not reveal the wonderful humor in the book. Master Li is "a sage with a slight flaw in his character", and this refers not only to his drinking habits, but also his ability as a con artist. And an artist he is: from a goat whose manure is gold to bringing long-dead monks back to life, Master Li knows a plan for every contingency. Hughart has created an oriental mystery with a bit of the hard-boiled detective feel. Fans of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee mysteries should take note as the Hughart books are not only set in the same era, but have much of the same who-done-it atmosphere.”

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