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I love this book because it has a setting that you don't often see in fantasy: China--a China full of magic, where mythology is reality, where everyone is flawed, where a mystery will engulf you with laughs along the way. The answer/solution is beautifully unraveled, and leaves you very satisfied. If you enjoy this book, you should read "Paper Mage" by Leah R. Cutter. She cites this book, and the settings are similar (a fantastical China). I am very disappointed that Barry Hughart didn't write more about Master Li and Number Ten Ox (next two books are "Story of the Stone" and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen"), and if you read this book, you will too.
Apr 3, 2007
One of the best adventure fantasies ever written
This story follows the adventures of a Master Li, a Chinese sage with a slight flaw in his character, and his client Number Ten Ox, as they travel through seventh century China in a search for the Great Root of Power. If they don't find it in time, a sickness that knows how to count will kill all the children in Ox's village.
This is a tale of love, magic, gods, religion, adventures, and friendship. It may be my favourite fantasy novel of all time. I've bought and given copies to at least 6 other people.
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