Friday, July 19, 2013

Forgotten Books: Bridge of Birds -- Barry Hughart

Reading about Rick Robinson's recent interest in the Judge Dee novels reminded me of this post from August 2008. I decided that now would be a good time to reprint it and remind everybody about my favorite series of books set in ancient China.

Bridge of Birds is likely to have been overlooked by mystery readers because it's a fantasy novel set in "an Ancient China that never was." But it's a lot more than that. It's also an adventure, a quest, and a mystery. Its narrator, Number 10 Ox, is the Watson to Master Li's Holmes. Li is a master of deduction, albeit with "a slight flaw in his character."

Love, death, myth, monsters, mayhem (lots), and wonderful writing all combine to make this book, for me, unforgettable. I was reminded of it recently because I received an e-mail from Subterranean Press, which is about to release an omnibus volume that will include all three novels about Master Li and Number 10 Ox (Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen). While the latter two aren't quite as wonderful as the first, they're still well worth your time.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't know it. I'm not sure it's for me but it sounds fascinating.


Jeff

George said...

I love BRIDGE OF BIRDS, too! Hughart is a great writer who deserves more attention.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Not read it yet but I have a copy of my shelves as it's my sister-in-law's favourite book of all time. Will definitely crack it open now - cheers.

Bill Crider said...

You sister-in-law knows how to pick a good book as her fave!

Richard R. said...

Thanks for the plug. I had this paperback and liked the book enough to by the Sub Press volume you mention. Good stuff.