Dragon Bones (Liu Hulan Series #3)

( 23 )

Overview

In a magnificent land where myth mixes treacherously with truth, one woman is in charge of telling them apart. Liu Hulan is the Inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security whose tough style rousts wrongdoers and rubs her superiors the wrong way. Now her latest case finds her trapped between her country’s distant past and her own recent history.

The case starts at a rally for a controversial cult that ends suddenly in bloodshed, and leads to the apparent murder of an ...

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Dragon Bones (Liu Hulan Series #3)

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Overview

In a magnificent land where myth mixes treacherously with truth, one woman is in charge of telling them apart. Liu Hulan is the Inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security whose tough style rousts wrongdoers and rubs her superiors the wrong way. Now her latest case finds her trapped between her country’s distant past and her own recent history.

The case starts at a rally for a controversial cult that ends suddenly in bloodshed, and leads to the apparent murder of an American archaeologist, which officials want to keep quiet. And haunting Hulan’s investigation is the possible theft of ancient dragon bones that might alter the history of civilization itself.

Getting to the bottom of ever-spiraling events, Hulan unearths more scandals, confronts more murderers, and revives tragic memories that shake her tormented marriage to its core. In the end, she solves a mystery as big, unruly, and complex as China itself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Stays with you long after the conventional thriller is forgotten.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Lisa See is one of the classier practitioners of . . . the international thriller. . . . She draws her characters . . . with convincing depth, and offers up documentary social detail that reeks of freshly raked muck. See’s China is as vivid as Upton Sinclair’s Chicago.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Mixing history, myths, and current events, Dragon Bones is an extraordinarily rich novel. It reveals the emotional and economical entanglement of China with the West, and tells a story of violence, lust, greed, fear, and desperation. The novel not only is a page-turner but is also timely.”
—HA JIN
Author of Waiting and The Crazed

“The novel flows beautifully, engaging readers in the mystery while gently introducing them to China’s rich cultural history. . . . See does for Chinese antiquities what Elizabeth Peters did for the Dead Sea Scrolls in The Dead Sea Cipher.”
—Library Journal

“An exciting murder mystery . . . This book truly captures man’s constant desire for material gain, and one unusual detective’s goal to right the wrongs in her world.”
Colorado Springs Independent

“See succeeds in widening the reader’s knowledge about the politics and culture of contemporary China while racing along with an absorbing story.”
Publishers Weekly

“[An] absorbing portrait of China.”
Lansing Star Journal (MI)
“Fascinating.”
Booklist

The Washington Post
This is not your ordinary art-theft thriller. Beginning with a horrific mob scene that complicates and possibly threatens the life of its already somewhat troubled heroine, Dragon Bones then sprawls across a continent, exploring the subtleties of Chinese politics, the official and actual Chinese attitudes toward foreigners, and the building of the vast Three Gorges Dam and how it is affecting the countryside, the inhabitants and local and national politics. Lisa See's novel also takes up the frightening power of a rising religious cult and for good measure supplies a mordant view of the international fine-arts auction world. — Michael Kernan
Publishers Weekly
The controversial construction of a massive dam on the Yangzi River is the backdrop for the latest adventures of Liu Hulan, inspector in the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing, and her husband, American lawyer David Stark, familiar to readers of Flower Net and The Interior. Many years in construction, the Three Gorges Dam will benefit millions of people, but it will also bury untold archeological wealth. At the start of this complex, atmospheric thriller, Hulan is emotionally estranged from David after their young daughter's death from meningitis, for which she blames herself. Officially, she is scrutinizing a reactionary cult, the All-Patriotic Society, when she is sent to investigate the murder by drowning of a young American archeologist, a man who may have stolen ancient artifacts from the dam site. David accompanies her and they begin to repair their relationship, but the body count mounts and the sinister All-Patriotic Society leader, Xiao Da, rallies his followers against the dam. The tension reaches the breaking point at an auction in Hong Kong at which the most precious artifacts are offered for sale; soon after, Hulan and David are fighting for their lives in dark, slimy-walled caves alongside the Yangzi. The melodramatic conclusion has none of the elegance of the prologue, which casually but exquisitely notes the progress of the archeologist's decaying body along the river, through narrows and bays beyond the magnificent gorges. But See succeeds in widening the reader's knowledge about the politics and culture of contemporary China while racing along with an absorbing story. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (May 27) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her third mystery thriller featuring Chinese inspector Liu Hulan (after Flower Net and The Interior), See does for Chinese antiquities what Elizabeth Peters did for the Dead Sea Scrolls in The Dead Sea Cipher. Since the death of her daughter, Hulan has buried herself in her work at the Ministry of Public Security, obsessed with bringing in members of the All-Patriotic Society. Her husband, American attorney David Stark, has found solace in his own caseload. When the body of an American archaeologist is found in Yangzi River near the Three Rivers Dam, Hulan is sent to investigate. Since numerous antiquities seem to have also disappeared from the archaeological work site, David accompanies her. Soon there are more fatalities, all marked by ritualistic similarities. Hulan and David must overcome their estrangement and work together to solve the crimes. In a land where bribery and corruption are the norm, there are many suspects. The novel flows beautifully, engaging readers in the mystery while gently introducing them to China's rich cultural history. For all public libraries.-Nanci Milone Hill, Lucius Beebe Memorial Lib., Wakefield, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In their third outing, which can be read independently of Flower Net (1998) and The Interior (1999, both HarperCollins), Inspector Liu Hulan of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and her American husband, attorney David Stark, are sent from Beijing to the Three Gorges Dam construction site. The plot involves searching for a written record of 5000 years of continuous civilization in China, an ancient myth, the smuggling and sale of valuable artifacts in Hong Kong, the murder of several members of an international crew of archaeologists, and the increasing popularity of a Falun-Gong-like cult, all set against the backdrop of the largest engineering project ever. Some actions in the last 50 pages call for suspension of disbelief, but up to that point this is another good read, especially for Sinophiles. There is one caveat: all of the Chinese speak with double meanings and are smart and crafty, while almost all of the Americans are portrayed as naive, obvious, stupid, or all three until the very end of the book.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Chinese police inspector and her American lawyer husband venture up the Yangtze River to investigate murder and corruption. This is the third in See's series (Flower Net; The Interior, not reviewed) set in the Middle Kingdom, and it drags a fair amount of baggage forward. Heroine Liu Hulan is a tough cookie who makes things difficult for the criminals she goes after. But she also makes them tricky, to say the least, for her husband David Stark, American lawyer in private practice in Beijing and frequent investigative partner of Hulan's. At the outset here, Hulan is monitoring a Tiananmen Square demonstration of a Falun Gong-ish cult when one of the demonstrators pulls a knife and tries to kill her daughter in a sign of protest. Hulan shoots and kills the mother-the right thing to do, perhaps, but still not something her bosses are particularly happy about. Soon, Hulan and Stark are heading up the Yangtze, to the construction site of the massive Three Gorges Dam, to look into the death of an American archaeologist. While the two do what they can to ferret out the culprits behind the murder (soon to be murders) they've been sent to look into, and the theft of artifacts from nearby digs, the oppressive memory of their shared history (especially the tragic death of their child) keeps tripping up the forward momentum of their stalled relationship-and, unfortunately, of See's story as well, though for the first third or so, the author makes good suspense out of her nuanced integration of the Chinese and American cultures, and of the massive, Pharaonic (and real-life) Three Gorges Dam. Moderately engaging whodunit that becomes whocaresaboutit before the end. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra/SandraDijkstra Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345440310
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/2/2004
  • Series: Liu Hulan Series , #3
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 132,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa See
Lisa See
Lisa See may not appear to fit the standard conception of a Chinese-American woman, but her deep roots in her Chinese background have set her on a path leading her to being one of the most significant Asian-American voices in contemporary writing.

Biography

At first glance, Lisa See would not seem to be a likely candidate for literary voice of Chinese-American women. With her flaming red hair and freckled complexion, she hardly adheres to any stereotypical conceptions of what an Asian-American woman should look like, however, her familial background has given her roots in Chinese culture that have fueled her eloquent, elegant, and exciting body of work.

See grew up in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles. Although she is only 1/8 Chinese, her upbringing provided her with a powerful connection to that fraction of herself. "I really grew up in this very traditional, old Chinese family," she revealed in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "It was very traditional, but also quite magical in a lot of ways, because I really was in a very different culture then how I looked."

See's Chinese background was not the only aspect of her family that affected the course her life has taken. She also comes from a long line of writers and novelists. Her somewhat morose relatives initially led her to believe that writing must be the result of suffering and pain, which turned her off from literary pursuits at first. Ironically, despite her strong family roots, See only decided to try her hand at writing as a means of embarking on a lifestyle without roots. "I knew three things," See said, "I never wanted to get married, I never wanted to have children, and I only wanted to live out of a suitcase. How am I gonna do it? And I was really thinking about it, and then one morning, I woke up, and it was truly like a light bulb went off—‘Oh, I could be a writer!' Many, many years later, here I am, married, I have children, [and] I am a writer."

In the wake of this unexpected epiphany, Lisa See began work on her first book On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family. This highly detailed family history charted the events that led her great-grandfather Fong See to become the godfather of her Chinatown neighborhood and the 100-year-old patriarch of her family. See interviewed close to 100 of her relatives while researching the book that both gave her a clearer portrait of how her racially mixed family developed and broke her into the publishing business.

See then went on to explore other aspects of both Chinese and American culture via fiction. She followed her debut with a series of popular political thrillers set in China and featuring American attorney David Stark. Her novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan abandons Stark and his pursuit of justice for the time being with a tale that reaches much further back into Chinese culture, and more specifically, the subordinate role women have traditionally played in that culture. This more personal novel scored See accolades from The Washington Post, The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, and The School Library Journal, while also further solidifying her role as a significant Chinese-American writer. And See's Peony in Love (2007) is a jarring historical novel set against the backdrop of an early-17th-century Chinese opera

See's position in the Chinese-American community has also extended beyond her writing. She was honored by the Organization of Chinese American Women as National Woman of the Year in 2001 and is also responsible for designing a walking tour of her Chinatown home in L.A. Her devotion to that apparently-small, but actually-vast, 1/8 of her ethnicity proves that well-worn adage about never judging a book by looking at its cover.

Good To Know

In our interview, See shared lots of fun facts and anecdotes about herself, including:

"I asked my husband what he thought was an interesting fact about me, and he said that he always thought it was strange that when we first met I had to drink three cups of coffee before I got out of bed, but that after I got pregnant I never ever had another cup of coffee again. That didn't seem terribly exciting, so I asked my sister. She said that I take perverse pleasure in grossing people out, which I do. But this didn't seem very interesting either. I asked my mother and she remembered that I'd been a demon crawler and had once crawled away from the house, down to a busy boulevard, and was rescued by a couple of barbers. So I was a demon crawler and probably took ten years off my mother's life that day, but was it a fun fact? I've even asked some other people and they all have talked about my desire to travel and the scary places I have traveled alone. While I know that I'm a compulsive traveler, a lot of other people love to travel, so it still doesn't seem that unusual to me."

"I never wanted to be a writer. My mother and my grandfather were both writers. When I was a kid, they both took the position that writing was about suffering and pain, so you can see why I didn't want to be a writer. There came a time when I was about twenty and living in Greece, and I knew three things: I didn't want to get married, I didn't want to have children, and I only wanted to live out of a suitcase. But how was I going to support myself and how was this ever going to happen? One morning I woke up and it was like a light bulb went off: ‘Ah, I could be a writer.' Within twenty-four hours of returning back to the States I had my first two magazine assignments. But if you've been reading this at all closely, you know that I got married and had children. And thank God, because I would have been a pretty boring person and not a very good writer if I didn't have those three people in my life. But I still do love to live out of a suitcase and have been writing most of these answers on a plane from Shanghai to San Francisco."

"I think one of the strangest things about me is the way I read books. This dates back to when I started reading chapter books as a kid and continues to this day. I read the first 20 pages, then the last 20 pages. After that, the second 20 pages and the penultimate 20 pages. I read from front to back and from back to front until I meet in the middle. Why? I can't stand not knowing what happens to the characters. Will they be okay? Will they live? Will they get together? It doesn't take away from the suspense or ruin the story for me in any way. Not doing it would ruin the story because I would have to rush and I'd be so anxious that I wouldn't be able to do anything else until I was done."

"I'm a movie fanatic. I see more than 100 movies a year. Sometimes I'll see two or three movies in a day. Between this and reading books the way I do, I have a very good sense of plot. I can watch the first five minutes of any television show and the first ten minutes of just about any movie and tell you everything that will happen. It's very rare that I'm taken by complete surprise. But to me it isn't about the surprise. I'm just curious to see how things have been structured, if the right clues have been doled out, and if the right people will get together."

"I like to eat, but I don't like to cook. I'll eat anything and have—a low point would have to be the stir-fried pig penis in China—but there are only three things I won't eat: lima beans, brains, and kidneys. I hate exercise, but I love to play tennis, walk, and hike. I love stories in any form: film, books, song, and TV. Yes, I'm a real couch potato! I'm a nut for reality shows like ‘Survivor' and ‘American Idol.' My three favorite shows this season are ‘The OC,' ‘Lost,'and ‘Battlestar Gallactica.' And I'm a not-so-closet Trekkie. (Yes, I've even been to Star Trek conventions, but I blame that on my sons.) For so long I would say I hated sci-fi, and then I finally realized that it was one of my favorite genres. Go figure. My favorite way to unwind? That would have to be sleeping, hands down. I love to sleep and I take it very seriously. We recently got a Tempur-Pedic mattress and it's my favorite purchase ever. I long to go to bed and feel enveloped."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Paris, France
    1. Education:
      B.A., Loyola Marymount University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The sun still hadn't crested over the roofs of the stately buildings on the eastern edge of Tiananmen Square when Inspector Liu Hulan of the Ministry of Public Security gazed across a sea of people gathered in the huge cement expanse for the first public assembly of the All-Patriotic Society ever to be held in Beijing. Until today, the All-Patriotic Society's clandestine meetings had taken place mostly in the heart of the country, in towns and villages along the Yellow River. Although the cult had recently gained a foothold in the capital, no one had expected a show as brazen as this.

All religious cults were against the law in China, and it was part of Hulan's job to do what she could to eradicate them, but she had learned of this early-morning rally only fifteen hours ago from a man she'd arrested for stealing from his work unit so that he might make a more sizable donation to the Society. After several impromptu discussions at the ministry, it was decided to let the meeting go forward. If a high-ranking All-Patriotic Society member could be drawn out and identified, then Hulan could make a very public arrest, which might prove fruitful in many ways.

Hulan had arrived here at three this morning and had supervised the stationing of policemen and soldiers around the perimeter of the square. She had hoped that an official presence would serve as a deterrent to converts and help keep the numbers down, but as far as she could see no one had turned back. The adherents were orderly, polite, obedient, and simply paid no attention to the uniformed men and women with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders. If everyone remained peaceful during the promised qi gong exercises, chanting, and inspirational sermon, then there was no reason for anyone to get hurt. Sure, photos would be taken and a few people held for questioning, but the plain fact was that the Ministry of Public Security wasn't prepared on such short notice to detain more than a thousand people. There had been enough time, however, for the government to request that a camera crew from a state-run television station cover the event, and Hulan felt a certain amount of confusion about this.

Five years ago she had made a deal with some of the most powerful men in her country, who secretly guided China from a compound situated across the lake from where Hulan lived. She had been brought before them at the conclusion of the Knight International case, in which more than 150 women had lost their lives in a horrible fire in an American-owned toy factory operating deep in China's interior. The "men across the lake," as Hulan referred to them, told her they would let her marry the American attorney David Stark and give birth to her half-breed daughter-both of which were questionable actions under Chinese law and custom. They told her they would keep her name out of the media for good or bad. In exchange, Hulan had to promise she would follow the party line, obey orders without question, eliminate her eccentric methods, and keep the pact a secret among her, the men across the lake, and her mentor and superior, Vice Minister Zai. Hulan had agreed to the conditions, hoping they would allow her to have the private life she'd always longed for. But of course the game had changed. Her daughter had died and her marriage to David . . .

She forced herself not to think of that right now. Instead she turned her attention back to the television crew. They had a good vantage point on the steps of the Great Hall of the People, from which they could survey the entire square. Hulan recognized one of the reporters-a woman with a shrill voice who for many years had been the eager mouthpiece of the government. Her words carried on the humid air like rotting garbage, insisting that the government was not instigating a crackdown against the All-Patriotic Society but showing its tolerance by letting the group meet here today.

Hulan sighed. She would need to take extra care as she moved through the crowd, because she didn't want to be noticed by the camera crew. Still, Liu Hulan was easy to spot amid the other Beijingers here this morning. It wasn't that she dressed in a colorful way, for these days Beijing's residents embraced the most vibrant colors they could find. It wasn't that she wore designer clothes, although she certainly could afford to shop at any of the foreign-designer boutiques now in the city. Rather, she dressed in the most exquisite clothes of the finest silks, all of which had once belonged to her mother, her grandmother, or her other colorful ancestors. Hulan's outfits spoke to the people about her money, taste, social position, and culture; not only did she work for the Ministry of Public Security-perhaps the most feared of China's law enforcement agencies-but she also had to be a Red Princess, the wealthy daughter or granddaughter of someone who had gone on the Long March with Mao Zedong.

Hulan had been born in Beijing and had the happy and privileged upbringing befitting the child of two of China's most esteemed personages. At the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, when Hulan was twelve, she'd been sent to the countryside to "learn from the peasants." She had been brought back to Beijing two years later to denounce her father as part of an ill-conceived effort to save her mother's life. Hulan's father had been sent to labor camp, and Hulan, at age fourteen, had been sent abroad to the United States. After boarding school, college, and law school, Hulan had become an associate at Phillips & MacKenzie, where she met David. They'd fallen in love, had lived together, and then twelve years ago she'd come back to China. Seven years later, Hulan and David had been brought together here in Beijing to work on two difficult and heartbreaking cases. In the first, Hulan's father-who had been fully rehabilitated and had become a high-ranking cadre-had died and the nation had held her responsible. The second was the Knight International case, which had begun as an investigation into suspicious working conditions and had ended in the deadly conflagration. Hulan herself had nearly died that day, and for a long time there was great concern for the well-being of her unborn child. The men across the lake successfully controlled the story of Hulan's role in that case. But although Hulan had been spared another round of public criticism, she'd blamed herself for the many deaths. She had been named for a martyr of the revolution, she told David at the time. She should have done more.

Now Hulan paced along the edges of the crowd, searching for the faces of known troublemakers who could be rounded up later. At one point she caught sight of Neighborhood Committee Director Zhang, the old woman who kept track of all the comings and goings in Hulan's hutong neighborhood. Madame Zhang had to know that this group was banned, but she was here now with her eyes closed and her wizened face rapt with spiritual feeling. Hulan should have suspected she might show up. Madame Zhang, who had been on the cutting edge of the yang ge dance craze a few years ago, would have to be up to the minute with the All-Patriotic Society and its appealingly accessible rituals.

In a country where aphorisms and slogans had forever been used to teach, influence, and coerce, the members of the All-Patriotic Society assembled here today were already well-versed in a variety of seemingly innocuous phrases, which they began chanting. "Be reverent," they intoned again and again before they switched to "The river brings us life." No one seemed frightened or anxious. Why should they be? They were not members of the Falun Gong, which was not permitted to use the square under any circumstances. They were reverent, and as such they felt righteous and safe.

Hulan circulated until she spotted a woman with a little girl about four years old. They looked poor-perhaps the woman had come from the countryside to the capital to look for work. If so, her presence in the city was against the law, which may have accounted for the anxious way she kept looking around. But there was something else about her that was troubling. Her hair was unkempt, and not only were her clothes dirty but the buttons on her blouse were all off by one. Still, the daughter was impeccably clean and beautifully turned out given their circumstances. The woman squatted on the ground so that she was eye-level with her daughter. Her hands worried over every inch of the girl, tweaking the neckline of her T-shirt, pulling at the hems of her shorts, and retying her red tennis shoes. All the while the little girl-her cheeks shiny and pink-chattered nonstop about nothing important, just Mama this and Mama that. A bag lay next to them. Hulan imagined what was

inside-perhaps an orange for the girl, maybe another change of clothes, a toy if they had enough money. An ache began in Hulan's chest, and she looked away.

At 6:15, a man jumped up on a small wooden platform and held up his hands for silence. He looked to be about thirty, but he could have been much older. He was ruggedly handsome, and his hair was a bit longer than the custom. As the crowd quieted, he dropped one hand and held himself in a posture reminiscent of Mao as a young revolutionary. "I am Tang Wenting, a lieutenant of the All-Patriotic Society."

Hulan could have arrested him right then, but she wanted to hear what he had to say. She'd use his speech against him later, during interrogations.

"We meet in the light of Xiao Da's grace," Tang Wenting announced.

"Xiao Da, Xiao Da, Xiao Da," the followers murmured, and the sound echoed beautifully through the square.

As the lieutenant let the name wash over him, Hulan wondered not for the first time about the mysterious Xiao Da, the self-proclaimed leader of the All-Patriotic Society, who'd pulled off a semi-miracle in keeping his true identity a secret in a nation where there were no secrets. The fact that Xiao Da had been able to move through the countryside holding underground meetings for the last three years not only increased his legend but also exasperated the government. Numerous arrests had been made and many people sentenced to labor camp. On several occasions Hulan had tried to negotiate lesser sentences in exchange for the identity of Xiao Da, knowing that once he was gone the group would collapse. But either no one knew Xiao Da's identity or they weren't yet ready to give him up. It was all very annoying. Even his name irritated Hulan. Xiao Da-Little Big-what was that supposed to mean anyway?

Hulan's eyes sought out the little girl she'd seen before. The mother was holding her daughter tightly by the waist, forcing her to watch the lieutenant. The woman had her lips to one of the girl's ears and was whispering intensely. The child's eyes were wide not with excitement but with fear, though Hulan couldn't understand why. The girl stayed quiet, refusing to say a word against the whispered barrage and remaining still within her mother's grip, which seemed to tighten as the All-Patriotic Society lieutenant droned on. It occurred to Hulan that maybe the woman wasn't a country bumpkin or even a true Society follower at all, just a mother who had lost her connection to the real world.

"Our political leaders tell us to give up the old ways," Tang Wenting lectured. "They tell us, 'To get rich is glorious!' But Xiao Da says we must say no to these new ways. We must repudiate technology and social progress, and go back to honoring old traditions and old values. . . ."

Fifteen minutes later, the sun broke across the square and Hulan could see its instantaneous effect on the religious adherents. Beijing languished in the midst of Fu Tian, that debilitating period of Give-Up Weather between July and August, when the heat and humidity were at their most ominous and oppressive. Unprotected as it was, Tiananmen was not a place to be during the heat of the day. It was time to head home or to work.

The lieutenant caught the subtle change in the crowd. "Before you go, I have a few words from Xiao Da's own lips that he asked me to impart to you. Soon Xiao Da will step out of the darkness and into the light. When he does, he will bring with him an object that will unite all of the Chinese people. With it in his hand, evil will be punished. Those who are reverent will triumph. Together we will follow Xiao Da."

This kind of rhetoric was exactly why the government perceived the All-Patriotic Society to be a threat.

The young man bent his head piously as voices throughout the square sang out, "Xiao Da, Xiao Da, Xiao Da."

He looked up and said, "Now is the time to remember our tributes. Nine Virtues, Nine Grades, Nine Tributes."

The All-Patriotic Society had grown quickly in three years. Although the group counted fewer members than the Falun Gong, the Ministry of Public Security had internal estimates of 20 million followers, nearly all of whom lived in the countryside. Once initiated, they donated their hard-earned salaries and sometimes their savings to the sect, based on a secret tithing scale involving nine grades. A lot of money was ending up in Xiao Da's pocket, and Hulan didn't want that custom to take hold in Beijing. She turned to signal to the policemen to round up anyone holding a collection basket.

Suddenly she heard a woman's voice scream, "For Xiao Da!"

Hulan spun around. The mother who moments before had been whispering into her daughter's ear now stood fully erect, her neck stretched so she could see above the crowd to the lieutenant. In one hand she held on to the back of her daughter's T-shirt; in the other she held a cleaver, which she must have brought with her in her bag. The blade was a good ten centimeters wide.

Everyone here was Chinese; all knew from experience when something bad was going to happen. People started to edge away and push each other to get out of there. For a moment Hulan lost sight of the mother and daughter altogether. She heard Tang Wenting's voice shout out: "Be calm! Xiao Da would want you all to be calm!"

Miraculously, the crowd responded to his words, slowing down, quieting.

"We need to help our sister," he went on. "Tell me, sister! What do you want to tell Xiao Da? Have you come to renounce alcohol, tobacco, and fornication? We are all with you!"

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 25, 2010

    Not as bad as The Interior, not as good as her others

    Lisa See is a great author but book #2 and #3 of her Liu Hulan series are not the greatest efforts. But I still love her as an author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2007

    Great book

    I had read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and loved it so I picked Dragon Bones up off a bargain shelf. I loved it. It weaves China's political and cultural history in with the story seamlessly so that you're learning something and don't realize it. Lisa See has become one of my favorite writers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    ngo seung jung gwok syu

    This is the first book by Lisa See that I read. I liked it so well that I sought others at once. I'm quite interested in China, and the book is well-written, so I couldn't help but enjoy it. I recommend it to anyone who likes suspense novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Ssee' See's dragon

    An interesting tale!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Jade

    Thanks Soren.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Kyle

    Sure by :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    Violet

    Ummmmmm hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    I highly recommend - A must Read

    All 3 in this series were great. Her knowledge of China is the best, The history the geography - you feel you are there w/ the characters. Character development at its Best

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 18, 2011

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    Posted November 30, 2010

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    Posted November 18, 2011

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    Posted May 27, 2009

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    Posted July 18, 2011

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    Posted July 31, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2011

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    Posted September 9, 2013

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    Posted October 29, 2010

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    Posted May 8, 2011

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    Posted December 13, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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