The third book in the Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox series
When a resepcted mandarin is murdered in the heart of the Forbidden City, Master Li and his sidekick, Number Ten Ox, are called in to investigate. Thus begins a Sherlockian adventure that takes Master Li and Number Ten Ox–accompanied by a scarred puppeteer and his shamanka daughter–on a wild chase across China. With murder, mayhem, and magic aplenty, and Chinese folklore and literary references thrown into the mix, Eight Skilled Gentlemen is a hilarious romp through Ancient China.
Set in a mythical, medieval China where folklore and history are indistinguishable, a dead monk, an ancientand now missingmanuscript, and a ghostly murderer entice the venerable Master Li and his faithful companion Number Ten Ox into the Valley of Sorrows for a deadly and uproarious confrontation with the long-dead Laughing Prince.
“Li Kao may have a slight flaw in his character but the book has none. I recommend it unconditionally and I predict Barry Hughart has quite a future as a fantasy writer.”—Anne McCaffrey
When the children of his village were struck with a mysterious illness, Number Ten Ox sought a wiseman to save them. He found master Li Kao, a scholar with a slight flaw in his character. Together they set out to find the Great Root of Power, the only possible cure.
The quest led them to a host of truly memorable characters, multiple wonders, incredible adventures—and strange coincidences which were really not coincidences at all. And it involved them in an ancient crime that still perturbed the serenity of Heaven. Simply and charmingly told, this is a wry tale, a sly tale, and a story of wisdom delightfully askew. Once read, its marvels and beauty will not easily fade from the mind.
The author claims that this is a novel of an ancient China that never was. But, oh . . . it should have been!