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Kuan's Wonderland [Kindle Edition]

Henry Tam
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

A political fable for the 21st century. A tale of power, deceit, and defiance, revolving around an abducted child’s struggle to escape from a surreal world where nothing is quite what it seems. Vonnegut meets Orwell in a dark wonderland.

“Dark, twisted, sardonic – 'Kuan’s Wonderland' is an unmissable page-turner.”
– President, the Independent Publishers Guild (UK)

“It is fast-paced while containing beautifully written and memorable passages. And the ending is tense, unexpected and powerful.”
– Ben Chu, 'The Independent' newspaper

“'Kuan’s Wonderland' is simply a tour de force. It is powerfully imaginative, with a cinematic feel sustained by strong imagery throughout. It is also full of plot surprises and layers of deeper meaning.”
– Ann Walker, Director for Education, WEA

“… a mesmerizing novel. It makes the imagination spring to life with amazing visions of strange beings and places.”
– Nicolette Burford, Director, Documentary Film-Makers Cooperative

“The fast-moving adventure in a new world sparkles with visually captivating creatures and imaginative technology … [The ending is] astonishing.”
– Trish Burns, Fantasy Book Review

“A didactic novel that doesn’t hesitate to entertain the reader.”
– Kate Pickett, Director, the Equality Trust

“We highly recommend it.”
– Julie Thorpe, Head of School & Youth Programmes, the Cooperative College

The mystery begins when Kuan is taken by force to the curious world of Shiyan. Although the ten-year old has flashes of exceptional intelligence, he hasn’t a clue why he is being held captive.

Kuan hopes his reclusive father will come to his rescue, not suspecting that both father and son may be the target of a nefarious conspiracy.

It transpires that the secret he is supposed to be harbouring is liable to put him at the centre of a deadly conflict between those in control of Shiyan and their sworn enemies.

In his attempt to escape from this bizarre realm, where the lower order routinely pledge to give more of their time to do the bidding of the ruling elite, Kuan encounters a kaleidoscope of enigmatic characters, from the menacing Curator to sphinx-like Dr Erica Lee, to whom the motherless boy develops a deep attachment.

Eventually, Kuan is persuaded to take charge of his own fortune by seeking to rise through the Circles of Challenge. It may offer him his last chance to reunite with his father, or so he believes.

Yet the more trials he endures, the more he learns the real reason why he was snatched from his home.

What Kuan does next will determine not only the future of Shiyan, but his own world. In the end he has to face up to a painful secret from his past and fight for more than just his life. But can he survive uncovering the truth about his father?


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1632 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481032461
  • Publisher: QTP (6 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008144G9I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #274,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Henry Benedict Tam is a writer and educator, whose published books include 'Communitarianism' (nominated by New York University Press for the 2000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order); 'Against Power Inequalities' (described by Professor Charles Derber as "an intellectual tour de force, an erudite romp through the history of civilization"); and widely acclaimed novels such as 'Whitehall through the Looking Glass', and 'Kuan's Wonderland' (praised by the President of the Independent Publishers Guild as "an unmissable page-turner...a fantasy universe unlike any that has come before.")

He is a passionate advocate for the development of inclusive communities; and blogs on 'Question the Powerful'. He has been a senior advisor to the UK Government (2000-2010); guest speaker on democratic and communitarian issues at events held around the world from Washington to Warsaw; and lecturer at Cambridge University & visiting professor at Birkbeck, University of London.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Helen M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kuan's Wonderland has a lavish plot but an accessible style.

I was 16 when I first read 1984. I loved it. As I grew older, each time I re-read Orwell's book, I saw a story that was subtly altered. I drew different comparisons, based on the way my life was changing, and my new experiences.

Although Kuan's Wonderland has a less straightforward narrative arc than 1984, it's the same kind of book: there are so many layers of meaning, intertextuality, and interwoven themes, that a reader will be able to return again and again, and see fresh details each time. As soon as I'd finished Tam's novel, I had a huge urge to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

Although this book may on cursory inspection seem like a science fiction novel, it's a lot more than that. Even if you don't usually like the genre, if you're interested in society and politics, you're likely to be hooked right up until the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A many-layered masterpiece 2 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great story you can enjoy at a number of different levels. You can follow Kuan and his collaborators as they move breathlessly through an ever-changing worldscape of technological and psychological challenges. You can enjoy the characters, well-drawn despite their constantly changing external form. You can be intrigued by the religious references in the chapter headings and some of the locations through which Kuan moves. You can reflect on the underlying political analysis, which is evident but not pushy. And you can read to the end (which you must do) and (in my case, at least) still have an intriguing question mark in your mind as you close the book.
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Format:Kindle Edition
This gripped me from the start and whenever I picked it up, I was straight back in the story with Kuan as a force for good, fearless and challenging to the different powers trying to crush him. Kuan moved swiftly between different worlds, their rules and his dilemmas becoming clear in each place. Shape changing characters and high-speed action kept me curious throughout about the complexities of Kuan's quest. The echoes of our own political world, where cruel power priorities fight with altruism and equality, were portrayed with both horror and a wry humour, making it an enjoyable read, full of political and human depth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 2 Sept. 2012
By Anton
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I found the beginning of the book a bit slow to engage me, it wasn't long before I was gripped by it. Tam has created an extraordinary world and a story line which makes the book a delight to read. The plot is full of action and constant surprise. But more than that, there is a depth to the book and a clear moral and political challenge for each of us to consider.

In short a very enjoyable, stimulating and worthwhile read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fasinating. 12 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is not what I expected, its fast pace and adventurous. Thinking I would be reading something of a dystopia fantasy novel, which I must say this has many elements of, its also has a good mix of fantasy in there but with thought provoking reflections on society. The only thing I think you could compare it too would be the 'His dark materials' series be Philip Pullman.
defiantly worth a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating book 3 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A dark and worrying fantasy tale - perhaps a bit long winded but very allegorical and thought provoking.- more suited to adults than children
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