White Moon, Red Dragon (Chung Kuo) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 1996
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Mass Market Paperback
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The first 400 pages are the usual thrilling page turners and then it just starts falling apart. The development, which is normally harmonich and logical suddenly fails details and reasons are missing. Persons reacts illogical and against their established personallity. Plots are build and suddenly abandoned. Other are suddenly pulled in from the left without any plausable explanation. Psychic powers and supernatual phenomenas suddenly enters the game.
You constantly ask yourself; "But why?" and the answers never comes.
The books "climax" completes this trend; a sea is drained just so that an invinsable army can be landed by a space amada on the opposite side and marched through the now empty basin and (surprise, surprise) 8 indians from Mars without really doing anything creates a flood, saving the world while a 9th indian talks in tongues. How and why the book as so many other things completly fails to explain.
Maybe this is just a very clever plot, building to the ultimative climax in book 7... or the book is just bad. I tend to conclude the second.
I'm likely gona get no. 7 in the seris just to see if Wingrove gets his act together.
"White Moon, Red Dragon" departs somewhat from that formula, however, in its greater reliance on technology to progress plot and to solve problems, almost deus ex machina. But the masterpiece of the previous five books encourages me to expect a sublime and profound climax in Book 7, followed by an audible denouement that will bring Wingrove's vast vision to fruition.
This book is but a preliminary step to that greatness. Though paler than its predecessors, it nonetheless reflects their glory and brilliance.
Here, Wingrove weaves a series of interrelated story lines taking place in the not-too-distant future, when China has become the sole ruler of the Earth, and a highly populated and strictly enforced caste system leaves billions dwelling in an artificial series of levels covering the entire surface of the planet.
Despite the autocratic (and invasive) oversight of the rulers, individuals with talent and ambition seem to be able to rise.
Having read this series when it first appears in the 80's, I decided to recollect used copies of the original so that I could re-read the entire series. In doing so, I discovered that there is a plan to republish the original 8 (with some new material which explains the time gap between the present and the first book), and publish the remainder in shorter segments, for a total of 20. The project is scheduled to start in 2011, and probably run over a period of years.
Another caution: the 8th and final book in the original series is extremely hard to find; most used book sites are asking $50 and up (if they have it at all).
But this is a wonderful, memorable series well worth reading.