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1 Williams, Adam The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure
Flame 2004 0340827882 / 9780340827888 Paperback Very Good 
Adam Williams knows China well and The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure is notab le as much for his vivid sense of the land and its people as for being a th umping good melodramatic yarn. Old-style historical novels tend to see things in black and white--Williams is as fascinated with the cultural misunderstandings and downright oppress ions through which Europeans made themselves hated in China as he is with t he martyrdoms and heroisms involved in the European experience of the Boxer rising. He has a passionate sense of the complexities--a mystical peasant rebellion found itself co-opted by criminal elements and by an upper class which saw the rebels as shock troops who could be used against Europeans an d then disowned. His sympathies are as much with the ruthlessly pragmatic Mandarin, who believes that he can control the situation by a few regrettable sacrifices, as with the saintly medical missionary Airton, who believes himself incapable of compromise with evil. In spite of its hairsbreadth escapes, sudden reversals and fights on moving trains, Williams' novel is adult in the best sense--the damaged, intense affair between British agent Manners and Helen, the girl he seduces and comes to love, has real passion. 
Price: 500.00 JPY
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