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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
The haunting image of a young protester in Tiananmen Square refusing to yield to a row of tanks "struck a chord" in Terrence Cheng. An Asian American "comfortably living the American Dream," Cheng was stirred by the young Chinese men and women "fighting and dying for that same dream: freedom and democracy" and wondered what he would do, faced with the same choices. His ruminations, lasting more than a decade, served as the impetus for his gripping first novel.
In Sons of Heaven, two estranged brothers, one an American-educated dissident, the other a soldier in the People's Liberation Army, find themselves polarized by their life choices and forced to confront each other as enemies. But Cheng doesn't stop with their stories, spinning his tale in not two but three distinct voices -- the third is that of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader at the time of the uprising. The three stories are braided inexorably together as the military's violent response to the student protest builds to a crescendo and its aftermath engulfs all.
In ancient Chinese lore, warlords "fought for land, for power, the honor of kings, the sanctity of their promises," and emperors were "chosen by the gods to lead the people to prosperity and grand light." Cheng tackles the disintegration of these ideals with masterful results. Sweeping from the city of Beijing to the countryside, Sons of Heaven explores the enduring nature of an ancient people and shines a piercing spotlight on a day when a few brave voices decided it was time to be heard. (Summer 2002 Selection)