The “Da Mo” and a “Concubine”

November 25, 2010

Late one recent afternoon, I checked an e-mail account I haven’t visited for weeks. To my surprise, I discovered good news—which in this case adds truth to better late than never.

On October 25, 2010, The National Best Books 2010 Awards sent me an e-mail letting me know that my second novel, Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, was one of eight Finalists in Fiction & Literature: Historical Fiction.

The winner was A Sudden Dawn, YMAA Publication Center, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-594391989

A Sudden Dawn must be an incredible book. When I checked, it had 32 customer reviews on Amazon with an average of five stars.

I learned that the winning author was Goran Powell, 4th dan, GojuRyu Karate.

He is author of two martial arts books, a freelance writer in London and recipient of numerous advertising awards.

Powell is a regular contributor to martial arts magazines and has twice appeared on the cover of Traditional Karate magazine. This is his first novel. Powell resides in London with his wife and three children.

A Sudden Dawn is an epic historical fiction novel that opens with a young man named Sardili born of the Indian warrior caste in 507 AD.

Sardili realizes that he would rather seek enlightenment than follow his family’s military legacy and sets out on a life-long quest for truth and wisdom.

Sardili becomes the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, known as Da Mo in China.
He travels throughout India, brings Buddhism to China, and establishes the Shaolin Temple as the birthplace of Zen and the Martial Arts.

It’s ironic that the winning novel was set in India then China but centuries apart from the China where Robert Hart lived and worked for more than five decades.

Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, is the sequel to My Splendid Concubine, and continues the love story that Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

The woman was Hart’s concubine, Ayaou. She remained a mystery for more than a century.

Hart arrived in China in 1854. By 1908, he was the godfather of China’s modernization. The Qing Dynasty royalty called him “Our Hart”.

Both Powell’s novel and Our Hart are based on the lives of real men who had an impact on the history of China.

Then there is Ayaou, Hart’s Chinese concubine. Hart once wrote to a friend in England that Ayaou was the most sensible person he’d ever known and he was a fool.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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