Monday, September 05, 2005

Bass, L.A. SIgn of Qin

Bass, L.A. Sign of Qin [Outlaws of Moonshadow Marsh #1] Thorndike Press, 2004 [0-7862-6772-0] (Large print -- oops)
Here is an extensive fantasy based on Chinese legend and mythology. When the son of the current Emperor is born he a birthmark in the shape of the sign of Qin (mark of the outlaws.) The Emperor immediately exiles the mother. Meanwhile a mythical monkey kidnaps the baby heir to the throne. The lord of the underworld also releases demons though a terrible volcanic eruption. So.. right off we have three stories going.. the travels of the fast-growing heir, the travels the First Consort (his mother) and the tales demons. It took me almost the first half of the book to get into the story. The author uses a great many pronouns and that combined with unfamiliar (to me) Chinese names had me confused even though there is a listing of characters and their relationships in the front of the book. One of the characters is an immortal monk covered with tatoos which change according to what he is thinking about (cool idea.) This 526 page book is almost a complete story in what is called a trilogy. It would be a good book for your high fantasy readers but may lose others.