Daughter of Xanadu – Part 3/4

April 19, 2011


A review (guest post) by Tom Carter of Daughter of Xanadu by
Dori Jones Yang

Authoress Dori Jones Yang is a Caucasian American, yet she is no stranger to writing from the perspective of conflicted adolescent Chinese girls, as evinced in her previous, award-winning novel, The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang.

In Daughter of Xanadu, she hones in even deeper into the physiological confusion and emotional conflictions that make youth such a joy, turning Emmajin into such a hormonal wreck that this male reviewer often found himself gritting his teeth in frustration at such contradictive revelations as, “if he had pursued me, I would have rebuffed him. By holding himself aloof, he challenged me to win back his esteem.”

Daughter of Xanadu is not all-teenage angst.  As our protagonist matures, so does the content of the story.

Emmajin eventually persuades Khubilai Khan to allow her to train for war against the Burmese at the Battle of Vochan (present-day Yunnan province), where the embarrassment of getting her period in front of the all-male troops is a bloody omen for what’s to come.

Upon seeing her cousin slain, innocent Emmajin is transformed into a “mindless killer.”

  Bloodlust unleashed, the young princess swings her sword indiscriminately (“the hatred pounded in my ears…killing him felt good”), resulting in hundreds of men dead by her hand alone.

One can only imagine all the Mulan vs. Emmajin fan fiction that this novel will inspire!

Continued on April 20, 2011 in Daughter of Xanadu – Part 4 or return to Daughter of Xanadu – Part 2

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Travel photographer Tom Carter is the author of China: Portrait of a People (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review), a 600-page China photography book, which may be found at Amazon.com.

Discover more “Guest Posts” from Tom Carter with Is Hong Kong Any Place for a Poor American?

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The Mongol Empire & Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 AD) – Part 5/5

October 22, 2010

Most of the kingdoms of Asia paid tribute to Kublai Khan. They knew there was nothing to gain to fight the massive Mongol empire and army.

However, Kublai did not control one country — Japan.  He sent emissaries to ask Japan to accept him as their emperor.

Every offer was met with the execution of his envoys.

He enlisted Koreans to crew the Song navy to carry his army to an island off Japan’s coast where the Japanese forced stationed there were defeated.

However, a storm destroyed Kublai’s fleet.

This did not stop Kublai and in 1281, a second invasion was launched.

This time the Japanese were better prepared and for two months the armies fought. Then another storm hit and destroyed the second fleet.

The Japanese armies soon overwhelmed what was left of the Mongol army.

Kublai Khan wanted to ready another invasion force, but his advisors talked him out of it.

Kublai then abandoned his military campaigns and turned to court life.

A few years later, his most loved wife died then his son and heir. This broke his heart and he became depressed.

All of his trusted advisors died and were replaced with corrupt officials while Kublai Khan becomes more isolated from the public and his government.

He died alone in his palace at 80.

Soon after he was gone, rebellions broke out and the Ming Dynasty replaced the Mongols.

Return to The Yuan Dynasty – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Mongol Empire & Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 AD) – Part 1/5

October 19, 2010

Kublai Khan was the first significant non-Chinese to rule over the entire Chinese empire. He also had a goal to rule the entire world.

Like his grandfather, Genghis Khan, he defeated and crushed his enemies with brutal force.

However, after the conquest, he ruled his empire peacefully setting up governments and creating systems of taxation while promoting culture and commerce.

He also made Beijing the capital of the biggest empire the world has ever seen.

Kublai Khan’s empire stretched from the East China Sea to the Danube River in Europe – more than five thousand miles or eight thousand kilometers from east to west.

His military career started late in his life but his skills as a conqueror were the best.

In addition, throughout his reign, he courted the most sophisticated, intellectual, scientific and artistic minds of the day.

The Mongols were a nomadic people and Kublai Khan’s skills as a military leader would eventually lead to the conquest of the Song Dynasty of Southern China.

One of greatest influences over Kublai Khan while he was a child was his mother.  Mongol women often fought beside their men and ruled tribes and territories. She insisted that he be educated in Chinese culture.

Continued in the Yuan Dynasty – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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