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The Story of the Stone

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Story of the Stone (1988) Barry Hughart (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox)

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten OxYear of the Serpent 3,339 (A.D. 650).

I’ve been re-reading The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox before bed for a really long time now. I’d read a page or two, then switch to something else, then come back to it.

But after reading two books about the flu before bed, I needed something fun and relaxing to read, so this became my bedtime book in earnest.

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.

This story and the characters are ridiculous, and that’s what makes it so lovely.

“Well, he always said he’d return, although he seems to have taken his time about it,” Master Li said calmly. “How long has the aristocratic son of a sow been in his tomb?”

“Seven hundred and fifty years,” the abbot whispered. Master Li poured himself another cup of wine. “Punctuality is not a priority of princes.”

I can think of any number of men who would kill to get their hands on the manuscript, but the murder I’ve been handed appears to have been rather gaudy. Can you think of a man who would use methods suitable for the worst excesses of Chinese opera?”

“One,” the toad said promptly.

“Who?”

“You,” said the toad.

We’ll see how long it takes me to read the third book.

Publisher: Subterranean Press
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8.5/10, Asian, Fantasy, Historical, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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