In this action-packed adventure and coming-of-age story that finely weaves fact and fiction, thirteen-year-old Ming lives in a small village in Maoist China in the 1970s. His father is convinced that Emperor Qin’s tomband the life-size terra-cottaarmy created to serve and protect the emperor in the afterlifelies hidden in the hills around them. But if Ming’s father doesn’t prove it soon, the town’s Political Officer willcondemn him to the brutal labor camps. From the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, Ming learns the history of Emperor Qin, known for building the Great Wall of China, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be. As their unlikely friendship develops, Ming experiences the mysterious tomb firsthand, braving deadly traps and witnessing the terra-cotta army in action. Most importantly, he comes to see how he can save both the terra-cotta soldiers and his father from the corrupt Political Officer and his Communist cronies.
The book is illustrated with photographs of Communist Chinese village life in the 1970s, the Great Wall, and, of course, the excavated tomb with its many terra-cotta soldiers.It also features a special recipe from the story.
Praise for Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier
"Historical photos and Indiana Jones–style adventure enrich this tale of an unusual meeting between the Qin Dynasty and the 20th century."
"Despite the hardships, both courageous characters work to uphold their respective duties: Shi to protect the tomb and Ming to protect the cultural legacy of China’s people. With archival art, recipes, and end notes, this title is sure to be a hit in the classroom."
About the Author
Ying Chang Compestine grew up in China and now lives in Lafayette, California. She is a popular author of children’s books, cookbooks, and novels. Ying’s son, Vinson Compestine, is a National Merit Scholar currently studying at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
It is around 1974, and thirteen-year-old Ming, whose mother has died, lives in the small, remote Maoist Chinese village of Red Star. His father Chen, an intellectual who has been demoted by Mao, is an archaeologist with the museum in Xi’an. Chen believes that the tomb of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang who built the Great Wall, with its life-size terra-cotta army created to serve and protect the emperor in the afterlife, lies hidden in the hills around them, though he has no actual evidence. In fact, while the father is away pleading for more time, the Gee brothers bring in one of the soldiers for Chen to examine. While Ming awaits his father’s return, the soldier miraculously comes to life and begins telling Ming all about the history of Emperor Qin, the Great Wall, and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be. However, the town’s Political Officer finds out about it and hatches a plan to raid the tomb, sell the artifacts on the black market, blame Ming and his father, and condemn them to the brutal labor camps. Ming and the soldier, named Shi, escape to the mysterious tomb where Ming experiences the tomb firsthand, braves deadly traps, and witnesses the terra-cotta army in action. But will he be able to save both the terra-cotta soldiers and his father from the corrupt Political Officer and his Communist cronies? The book is illustrated with photographs of the excavated tomb with its many terra-cotta soldiers and the Great Wall, as well as of Communist Chinese village life in the 1970s during the Cultural Revolution. There are some instances of praying “to gods known and unknown,” including the kitchen god, and a few references to drinking wine. However, the action-packed adventure story contains a lot of history not only about the reign of Emperor Qin but also about small village life in 1970s China woven into the fictional narrative. The authors are a mother-and-son team. Ying Chang Compestine grew up in Communist China but now lives in the United States and is a popular author of children’s books who made herself known to the young adult literature community through her 2007 novel Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party based upon her childhood. Vinson Compestine is a National Merit Scholar. Intermediate readers will likely find Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier interesting both for its excitement and for its historical information about these fascinating time periods. Also included are Chinese words, such as Ba Ba for father, that are written out in Chinese characters and accompanied by their translations as well.