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A truly novel approach

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-23 07:45
Japanese writer Taiyo Fujii and Ken Liu at the Hugo Awards Ceremony 2017 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Both Liu and his wife Liza Tang Liu grew up listening to Chinese historical romances, and in Liu's writings, there had often been echoes of those stories. So Liza suggested he breathe new life into these old tales.

Then the story of the Chu-Han Contention, the civil war that followed the collapse of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), came to mind.

"I want to reimagine the stories about the contention," he says.

More than 2,200 years ago, 15 years after China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang united the seven states, the tyrannical rule of his son led to uprisings all over the country that finally pulled the precarious dynasty apart.

As different insurrectionary factions wrestled for power, two leaders finally emerged: Xiang Yu, a strong and brave descendant of aristocracy, and Liu Bang, a shrewd bandit well versed in tactical fighting. The ensuing battles between them have become the stuff of household legend in China.

Based on this historical period, Liu created the fictional archipelago kingdom of Dara, which was initially divided into seven states but had been united by Emperor Mapidere when the story starts in The Grace of Kings. It is the first book of the Dandelion Dynasty series published in 2015 and was followed up with The Wall of Storms in 2016. The Chinese edition of the first installment has just been published.

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