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Nemesis: The First Iron Warship and her World • Adrian G. Marshall

Among the ranks of history’s most iconic warships – the likes of HMS Victory, the USS Missouri, and the German dreadnought Bismarck – stands proudly the immortal Nemesis. The first iron-hulled warship in the East, it was employed with devastating effect in the First Opium War (1839–1841). Its debut was […]

By |August 30th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Yang Shen: The God from the West • James Lande

Reviewed by Isham Cook.

Last century China experienced one of its periodic mid-century blowouts, where everything that can go wrong does go wrong and tens of millions die in senseless slaughter. The Chinese Civil War of 1927-50: 2-8 million dead. The Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45: up to 26 million dead. The […]

By |August 28th, 2016|Reviews|0 Comments

At the Teahouse Café: Essays from the Middle Kingdom • Isham Cook

Isham Cook’s writing was recommended to me by Arthur Meursault. I’d previously chanced upon Cook’s website but been put off by the pervy content. When I say “pervy,” I don’t mean that Cook is the sort of chap you wouldn’t want pet-sitting your llama, or that his bedroom drawers are […]

By |August 27th, 2016|Reviews|0 Comments

The Exact Unknown • Isham Cook

Once a platform for many a fine author – Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, HG Wells … hell, even Charles Dickens – the short story has long fallen out of favour. Nineteenth century authors looking to establish themselves would submit their short stories or serialized novel to magazines and journals. […]

By |July 31st, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Author Interview: Arthur Meursault

Arthur Meursault is the author of the dark comedy Party Members (due out in August). Set in the fictional Chinese city of Huaishi, it follows the exploits of Yang Wei, a mid-level government official led astray by greed and corruption.

Meursault left his native England as a teenager, throwing himself into the […]

By |July 4th, 2016|Author interviews|0 Comments

Wish Lanterns • Alec Ash

To get a closer, more insightful look at modern China than you do from reading Wish Lanterns, you would probably need to learn Mandarin, marry a Chinese woman, move to China, and live with your in-laws.

Wish Lanterns follows the lives of six young Chinese born between 1985 and 1990. This […]

By |July 3rd, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Mercenary Mandarin: How a British adventurer became a general in Qing-dynasty China • David Leffman

One bottle too many into a late-night session and sometimes my thoughts turn sour at living in such an adventureless age. The time when there were still blanks on the map – a mere two generations ago, almost within reach, damn it – is as distant as the days of […]

By |June 27th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Dark Blossom • Vincent Stoia

When it was first completed in 1578, the Bencao Gangmu (The Compendium of Materia Medica) was arguably the world’s greatest medical text. Drawing on hundreds of existing works and incorporating new scholarship, in almost two million characters it described the entire body of knowledge of Chinese medicine. Among the many […]

By |June 14th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Jade Lady • Patrick Wayland

With The Jade Lady, Taiwan resident Patrick Wayland brings us a spy thriller, which will give a novice a quick primer on the China-Taiwan relationship, written from a strongly pro-Taiwan perspective. And despite an unpromising title, referring to a valuable sculpture that is tangential to the main story, it’s not […]

By |June 1st, 2016|Uncategorised|1 Comment

Author Interview: Alec Ash

Alec Ash is an English writer and journalist living in Beijing. He is the founder of a writer’s colony called the Anthill, and the author of Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China. Wish Lanterns, which follows the lives of six young Chinese, is a fascinating close-up look at China’s millennials.

What was the inspiration […]

By |May 30th, 2016|Author interviews|0 Comments