Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Eight Skilled Gentlemen

Monday, October 19, 2020

Eight Skilled Gentlemen (1990) Barry Hughart (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox)

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten OxYear of the Horse 3338 (a.d. 640)

This is my least favorite of the three stories. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, just that I don’t like it as much as the first story.

A vampire ghoul has killed an important mandarin, and now Master Li and Number Ten Ox are asked to figure out what happened.

I found sandal prints in a soft spot in the path close to the pile. The toes had dug in and sprayed dirt backward, which would be consistent with somebody running for his life, and I soon found another soft spot with a huge print on it that might have been made by a creature like a vampire ghoul.

They end up working with Yen Shih, a master puppeteer, as they try and untangle the mystery.

The God of Beauty had been jealous indeed. What I had taken to be an artist’s depiction of torment was in reality the ravages of smallpox, and rarely have I seen such destruction to a human face. It was a miracle that his eyesight remained, and as for his craft— who hadn’t heard of Yen Shih, greatest of puppeteers?

Nobody interfered with puppeteers. They brought laughter and joy to everybody, bandit and soldier alike, and they traveled under the protection of more deities than most priests could count.

I’m sure the fact that this was bedtime reading and took me months to finish also affected my enjoyment of the story, since this one is a bit convoluted and wanders all over the place.

Publisher : Subterranean Press
Rating: 7/10

Categories: 7/10, Asian, eBook, Fantasy, Historical, Reread


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