CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 6 . . . .November 9, 2007
Ray Conlogue's colorfully written first novel for young readers is set in Ancient China and is based on a long forgotten Chinese adventure that took place over 600 years ago. A giant fleet of wooden ships is believed to have been built using advanced designs for the times and sailed under Admiral Zheng He. Supposedly, these boats travelled to the far edges of the earth 100 years before the known European explorers.
It is 1403, and civil war has erupted. The Emperor Hui Di's uncle, Zhu Di, claims he is the rightful heir to the throne, and he sends his army to attack the capital city of Nanjing. Shen, Chang, and their mother Lu Ting must flee before the city is captured. Their father, Captain Fei Lee, who is a personal guardsman to Emperor Hui Di, must stay to defend him. Captain Fei hires Lan Yi, the owner of an acrobatic troupe, to smuggle his children and wife out of Nanjing. The adventure continues with the arrest of their mother by an old flame, Lord Yang. Shen vows to rescue his mother and find his father who reportedly died in battle, but Shen still believes to be alive. The troupe gains passage on a ship of the famous Treasure Fleet. An explosive struggle breaks out between Zhen He and government officials who oppose his exploration. Shen and Chang become caught in the middle of blackmail, betrayal, murder and piracy.
The costumes and pageantry are well described, as well as exciting battle scenes.
Deborah Pethrick works in a K-9 library in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.