I read Mr Edwards' other book, ' Black Dragon Black Cat' before I read this one and really enoyed it. I read a sample of this one first as I didn't think it could be as good as the first book -though this is a prequel to Black Dragon for me it was better read after it . I enjoyed it just as much as it it follows many of the same characters at a much younger age. It would be just as good as a stand-alone book, though I'm sure anyone reading it would want to read the other book too. It is the story of Jai-tien who is left on the doorstep of a monastery as a baby and because he was left on the day the old Grand Master died, the new Master was sure it was the destiny of this child to be a great kung fu master and a great leader. The lad is much more interested in his art and gardening than in kung fu, which he hates. Eventually, at about 9 years old, he runs away and fetches up in a small village where he is found and taken in by Lu-chen a mysterious woman who sets about teaching the child that he is the master of his own happiness and she teaches him to think for himself and not believe all he was taught at the monastery, without question. The story follows the pair through the years and shows the gradual blossoming of the lad as he becomes a man. Lu chen becomes his much-loved 'mother'. I don't want to tell any more of the story but it is a gentle , thought-provoking book which kept me reading well into the early hours and I couldn't wait to get back to it. I hope others read and enjoy this book as much as I did. It should appeal to most readers and gives much to think about on the subject of the pursuit of happiness. The setting in ancient China is evocative and restful and makes one wistful for the simple lives lead by the characters and way of life ordered by the changing seasons and nature.