Flower Net (Liu Hulan Series #1)

( 61 )

Overview

“Lisa See begins to do for Beijing what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for turn-of-the-century London or Dashiell Hammett did for 1920s San Francisco: She discerns the hidden city lurking beneath the public facade.”
–The Washington Post Book World

In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping’s reign, the U.S. ambassador’s son is found dead–his body entombed in a frozen lake. Around the same time, aboard a ship adrift off the coast of Southern ...

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Flower Net (Liu Hulan Series #1)

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Overview

“Lisa See begins to do for Beijing what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for turn-of-the-century London or Dashiell Hammett did for 1920s San Francisco: She discerns the hidden city lurking beneath the public facade.”
–The Washington Post Book World

In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping’s reign, the U.S. ambassador’s son is found dead–his body entombed in a frozen lake. Around the same time, aboard a ship adrift off the coast of Southern California, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark makes a startling discovery: the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China’s political elite.

The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected and, in an unprecedented move, they join forces to see justice done. In Beijing, David teams up with the unorthodox police detective Liu Hulan. In an investigation that brings them to every corner of China and sparks an intense attraction between the two, David and Hulan discover a web linking human trafficking to the drug trade to governmental treachery–a web reaching from the Forbidden City to the heart of Los Angeles and, like the wide flower net used by Chinese fishermen, threatening to ensnare all within its reach.

“A graceful rendering of two different and complex cultures, within a highly intricate plot . . . The starkly beautiful landscapes of Beijing and its surrounding countryside are depicted with a lyrical precision.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Murder and intrigue splash across the canvas of modern Chinese life. . . . A vivid portrait of a vast Communist nation in the painful throes of a sea change.”
–People

“Fascinating . . . that rare thriller that enlightens as well as it entertains.”
–San Diego Union-Tribune

A Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Set in Beijing and billed as a "Gorky Park for our time," this first novel draws together a Chinese cop and an American D.A. intent on solving a string of murders. Expect lots of publicity for See's new work, following her evocative memoir, On Gold Mountain (LJ 8/95).
School Library Journal
The tranquil setting of a Chinese ice-skating pond is shattered when Wing Yun and his granddaughter discover the body of a young white man frozen in the ice. An ocean away, off the coast of Southern California, the body of a young Chinese man is found decomposing in the drinking water for a shipload of illegal immigrants. When it is found that both of the deceased have connections to a Chinese gang, the Rising Phoenix, Chinese Inspector Liu Hulan and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark are teamed to locate the killer. Liu and David, who had been linked romantically years before, realize their case is being run like the flower net used by Chinese fishermen who throw the mesh wide to trap everything within its reach. American and Chinese cultures are naturally juxtaposed as Liu and David move from one side of the Pacific to the other, offering a richness in background beyond the usual espionage tale. The writing is crisp and the story moves at a fast clip with flashbacks adding background fibers to the webbing. This top-quality novel will be enjoyed by teens who like romance, adventure, or just a great story.Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
From The Critics
On a January morning in Beijing, a child skating on a frozen lake finds the corpse of a white man under the ice. Liu Hulan, a female detective, is assigned to head what will be a delicate investigation, for the murder victim is the son of the American Ambassador. Thousands of miles away, David Stark, an assistant U.S. attorney, boards the China Peony, a barely seaworthy freighter carrying hundreds of illegal immigrants to America. On board he finds the badly decomposed body of a "Red Prince", the son of one of China's top officials. The murders appear to be unconnected until rare plant fibers are found coating the respiratory tracts of both victims and the Chinese and Americans agree to work together. The Flower Net is a superbly crafted mystery and in this fulllength, thirteen hour, unabridged, audio cassette format with flawless production values and a wonderfully gifted narrator, offers the listener a true "theatre of the mind" experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812978681
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/31/2007
  • Series: Liu Hulan Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 133,694
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.18 (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:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Wonderful escape to modern China for those who love to travel by mystery!

    It is no surprise that Flower Net was singled out as a best first mystery novel -- it is a wonderful read for any mystery lover. I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to the rest of the series. Lisa See has created characters we can care about, placed them in fascinating circumstances, and brought it all to a resolution that leaves one wanting to know what happens to Liu Hulan next. Brew up a pot of tea and get ready to follow the twists and turns of Beijing's hutangs and L.A.'s back alleys!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Revealing Red Princess

    This book combines, romance, history, mystery and the exotic east. Lee is a good writer who has done extensive research to give us a book full of detail and interest.
    Sometimes the information seem like a list but most often I was intrigued by the characters as the romance developed and definitely captivated by the information on Chinese culture, government and everyday life.
    The juxtaposition between American every day life and the life of city and country Chinese is startling and eye opening. I had no idea the higher government officials had deteriorated into allowing their children to be princes and princesses of extreme wealth while regulating everyday Chinese to virtual poverty. The disclosure of the factory conditions is even more substandard than I had ever thought.
    Book two is even more revealing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2009

    good read

    great story, well written, a view into asian culture

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Josh

    This is our book. Ill c u then and have fun! Remember: always tell the truth :) good night :)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    Collin

    Lays on a bed, nu.de

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Maddy

    Hi Josh! R u there or r u busy? Just got home from camp:)

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Lisa See

    Really enjoyed this first one. Hope the next is as good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Answer

    CCCAB what clan?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    What Clan are you in?

    You are shown five types of prey. What one will you choose. A. Fish! B. Frog! C. Mouse! D. Bird! E. Rabbit!. You see a kit. What would be happening to it. A. Drowning. B. Fox attack. C trapped in fox trap. D. Stuck up a tree. E. Being blown away. You are fighting another clan. You would. A. Pull them under the river. B. Lure them into the shadows. C. Run around them to confuse them. D. Trap them in tight spaces. E. Drop from above. You are training. What are you training in. A. Stalking. B. Fighting. C. Swiming. D. Running. E. Tree climbing. Last bur not lest. You are ale to choose a last name based in youf clan. You are[Gray is your name]. A. Grayshadow. B. Grayriver. C. Graythorn. D. Graywind. E. Graywing. Reults! AACAB=you are RiverClan. BBBBA= you are ShadowClan. CCBAC=you are ThunderClan. DDDEE=you are SkyClan. ECDDE=your WindClan!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Bok grabs you from the start

    Author draws you in, keeps you intrigued throughout thevwhole book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    TRAINING AREA

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    highly recommended

    good charecters,good plot.book clubs may enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Great choice- you keep on reading it - highly recommend it

    Ending is unsuspected/ great choice / oriental setting / can't wait to get the next book on this series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

    different for lisa see, but well worth a read.

    a mystery, travel log, and historical fiction all wrapped into one great book. i bought the #2 in the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I was hoping for

    I bought this after having read "Shanghai Girls." Totally different. Also, it seemed very slow to me, and I couldn't develop any connection with the story or the characters. I struggled to read it for a couple of weeks, and finally gave it up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2010

    Great great great!

    This is a great book about loyalty, history, and courage. It's a great read, interlaced with the histories of China. It's a keeper!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    Red Princess mysteries

    all 3 volumes of the series are terrific page-turners, especially if you're interested in modern China. I wish the author had continued the series, I don't care as much for her other novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2000

    A touch of everything

    I thought it was an excellent thriller. Never one dull moment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews

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