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Three Kingdoms: A Hist...
 
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Luo Guanzhong
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Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel (彩繪中國經典名著)

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,958 ratings  ·  165 reviews
One of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature:
Published (first published 1360)
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Jim Peterson At almost 2.5k pages, it had better be! But yes, I believe so. I'm reading it now and the introduction says that it is. The translator used the two…moreAt almost 2.5k pages, it had better be! But yes, I believe so. I'm reading it now and the introduction says that it is. The translator used the two most popular versions of the text and added footnotes where the two versions differ.

Apparently, many versions have appeared in Chinese that can be quite different from one another. So you still might find someone who says this version is missing some particular aspect of a story, because there is so much variation among the Chinese versions.(less)
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Hadrian
The world's affairs rush on, an endless stream;
A sky-told fate, infinite in reach, dooms all.
The kingdoms three are now the stuff of dream,
For men to ponder, past all praise or blame.


The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a book which attempts to cover the sweep and drama of history. The sheer scale and scope of the book makes it a clear 'epic' in the traditional sense. This is a book written in the same century as the The Decameron. To give a scale of its scope, the book starts in 168 AD and ends
...more
Dan Schwent
Around the time the earth cooled and life spread across the continents, I was a huge fan of the game Destiny of an Emperor for the NES. Chinese generals with names I couldn't pronounce duking it out for the fate of China enthralled me.

Years later, I was thinking fondly of the game and decided to investigate the source, Three Kingdoms. Three Kingdoms is one of the four great classics of Chinese literature.

Imagine my surprise while on my 2300+ page journey that the story of the game wasn't very mu
...more
Moey
I love this book. All the characters, despite the fact that there are so many, are unique, and every character plays a part. When I started reading this book in March (I finished in June) I was studying China in my sixth grade class (If you are in sixth grade you should probably only read it if you have an intense interest in Chinese history) and it really helped me know a lot more about dynasties in general, how empires function, and how war is fought throughout Chinese history. It even influen ...more
Leonard
The historical novel recounts the kingdoms of Wu, Wei and Shu vying to dominate China proper after the fall of the Eastern Han dynasty.

description
Approximate Territories of the Three Kingdoms (Image from Yu Ninjie)

Not only are the heroic deeds memorable but the strategic up-onemanship among the kingdom reads like Machiavelli's The Prince. You can find many of the strategies from Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Recommended for all historical novel lovers.

description
A Portrait of Cao Cao, the Chancellor of the Kingdom of W
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Norman
Romance Of The Three Kingdoms (三国演义) is a book written by Luo Guan Zhong (罗贯中) in the Chinese Qing Dynasty (清朝). It is a historical fiction based on the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history, which as the name suggests, was a period where three kingdoms contended for domination of China.

What makes this book one of the Four Classics (四大名著) is its extensive - but not excessive - attention to detail. Never has a book had its storyline threaded so finely before; the main storyline can be said to
...more
Helmut
Difficult to begin, but...

This novel, one of the great classic Chinese novels, is one of the more difficult texts for readers. While some others, like Journey to the West or The Marshes of Mount Liang, are much more easily accessible and entertaining right from the beginning, a feeling of disorientation is common for first readers of "Three Kingdoms". The story starts without introduction with the appearance of dozens of protagonists, and it's hard to keep track of all of them. At the end you wi
...more
Hans
Three Kingdoms is a book I feel like writing 20 pages about, but I'll throttle my enthusiasm and keep to the gist of it.
At first glance the book is a semi-fictional account of a period in Chinese history, but in fact it's much more than that. Incorporating Chinese philosophy, the theme revolves largely around the Heaven's Mandate and the cause and effect of history. Due to the betrayal of some of his officers by Liu Bang, the founder of the Han, the Later Han splits (though it takes quite a lot
...more
Brennan Lowe
In a word: sprawling. This is certainly not a quick read; Guanzhong's epic contains hundreds of characters, battles, and events that need to be properly stored in memory for the reader to understand the novel. The book is roughly 70% historically accurate, which allows for a mostly-solid basis for the author to expand upon. This is not an unbiased record of the Three Kingdoms Era, as the Shu-Han faction, and Liu Bei in particular, is lionized while Cao Cao's Wei is often put in a negative light. ...more
Kione
Holyshit.
That was nuts.

Beyond Epic.
Try to keep up.
I had to read this series a few time to figure it all out.

You gotta have a little patience with this one.
It was written about 500 years ago, so the way the story is delivered is very different.
Sometimes like kung fu master or a great wine. Subtle yet powerful. Dynamic yet poignant. Rich and and complex, yet not pretentious or overly flamboyant.
Steven
Whew! I finally finished it! This book has 120 chapters, more than 200 characters, and 300 place names, all in Chinese. It's like reading the Iliad, Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur, and War and Peace all rolled into one and served with a Chinese sauce.

The scope of this Chinese national epic is astonishing. By three-quarters of the way through, all but one of the main characters had died and the story followed their sons and grandsons. The story follows 113 years of Chinese history from the decline o
...more
Colin Hinde
Volume I: This book is awesome. I'll fill in the review once I've read the other three volumes.

Volume II: The stuff of legends. Battle, intrigue, strategy, poetry, honor ..

Volume III: I almost lost interest in the first half, but was well-rewarded by the developments that followed.

Volume IV: "The empire long divided, must unite; long united, must divide." The conclusion kept me guessing up to the end. In this volume it was sad that Kongming died without reaching his goal, and sadder that the chi
...more
Longbearded
There can be no equal. This is the book that makes all others pale in comparison.

I'm forced to compare this book to Game of Thrones due to the popularity of the TV series, as its all my friends ask about when talking about this book.

"How does it compare to Game of Thrones?"

It doesn't. This is not high fantasy.

To say it's a story about the fall of the Han dynasty and the various warlords scramble to fill the void does not due the book justice.

If you are looking for all the political maneuvering
...more
Jonathan
Really long, really good.

And what follows is a somewhat tedious review, so don't read it.

It's my first read-through and I'm not sure I can offer much in review. But my favorite characters were Zhao Zilong (for his bravery, honor, and integrity), Zhang Fei (for his heroic appetite), and Kongming (for his wisdom, but not so much for his pragmatism). Liu Bei, as portrayed, seemed to become less of the figure near the end, and this was a letdown, at least for my emotional attachment to him. Deng Ai
...more
Paul
I didn't get around to reading this book until after college, though I knew the basic story. One day, I will translate this whole book and give it the literary style it deserves. The current translations are all wretchedly dated, but the characters are incredible: 100's of them and all well-developed with their own quirks. It really puts the snooze-fest that is War and Peace to shame.
Mel
I started reading "The Three Kingdoms" a few weeks ago. I finished volume 1 this weekend. I'm reading the Moss Roberts translation as my Chinese is nowhere near good enough to tackle reading it in the original. I have to say I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I have to say I think having played Dynasty Warriors 4 first really helped. With the cast of 100's having played the video game and been able to put faces to people helped keep them all straight a lot easier. I also think hav ...more
Kimizono
This book is interesting and the stories are very nice. As it is one of the four best novel in the Chinese history, I am amazed by how Moss Roberts translate and made the sentences look really nice. This whole book is about at the end of the Han dynasty, China had enter a chaos status, all the people with military forces wanted to take control. And the in the first volume, there is the three main character, Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei joining the military and fighting against the rebellion. T ...more
hay man
i read this in high school and got beat up every day
Justin
At four volumes, this is a lot of book. I decided to read it around the time that Beijing was making news for their Olympic preparations, as Three Kingdoms is a beloved classic there and reputedly informs much of Chinese culture. After making my way through this epic, I can certainly see why, though I personally felt that it was a little more military history than novel.

Trying to pay attention to the particulars of Three Kingdoms can be a daunting task; there are literally hundreds of characters
...more
Matt Kelland
Only two stars for this great work of literature? Surely you jest, Matt?

Nope. I couldn't finish it and gave up half-way through volume 1. It was interesting for a while, but the writing style was really stilted, not at all helped by a mediocre translation, bad typesetting, and poor proofreading. I couldn't keep track of all the characters with such similar names: there's Zhang Bao, Zang Bao, Zhiang Bao, Xiang Bao, Xian Bao, and so on. Given they keep switching sides, I ended up with no idea who
...more
Chris
Epic is the only word that can be used to describe this.

I have just finished the third volume, and am looking forward to the fourth and final volume. I have only one complaint, and that is the lack of female characters. With only one exception, all the women are treated either as property or objects of veneration, if she married well and managed to reach old age. How do women survive at all in a man's world?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


At this point, I have finished reading the whole thing, and I have to s
...more
Ryan
I played the video games that were based on this book when I was a kid. It was so much fun to finally read the book, and see why the video games went the direction they did. I kept laughing at myself as I'd stop and think, "No way, this character's stats should've been way higher/lower!!" It was also interesting to read through to the beginning of the Jin dynasty. The video games (the ones I played at least) only got to the end of Kongming's time. So for the last 15 chapters or so, I had no idea ...more
Aaron Frank
Aug 04, 2007 Aaron Frank rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Chinese Literature or culture.
The Three Kingdoms is a novel, attributed to Luo Guanzhong (Moss Roberts is the translator), which details the collapse of the Han dynasty in China and its ensuing dissolution into warlord states, eventually leading to a three-state balance of power. It's a very long read and can be repetitive at times, but the insight it provides into developing Chinese culture is worth struggling to get.

The characters are richly developed, especially given the sheer volume of them, and the stories are grippin
...more
Mark
One time I decided that I would look into the story that inspired the Dynasty Warriors video games, which at the time I spent a significant amount of time playing. I read an edition that was available entirely online and free, so I guess I might question the translation, but it was cool to immerse in a period of history that they don't exactly teach you about in your high school world history class. Trying to write these thoughts five years later it's tough to describe what I liked about it. It' ...more
Jony
Writing style is odd and repetitive but lacks too much waffle. The book is insanely long and unfocused but still kept me interested. Not sure if I only enjoyed this because of my obsession with Dynasty Warriors.
Nick
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is one of the four classics of Chinese literature (and the other two I don't own are on my Amazon wishlist, hint hint). At first it appears pretty intimidating: There's over 2000 pages of text in four volumes here, and everyone, of course, has Chinese names. On top of that, some of the more important figures also have nicknames in addition to their given names. Luckily, the superb translation ensures a minimum of confusion - partly via the simple expedient of pickin ...more
George
I bought this book for two reasons ;due to the great reviews and I love a book that is set in the past, with Kings, armies, wars and romance etc.
For me this was not an easy book to read. It introduces about 10 new characters every few paragraphs, all with names that are incredibly similar (e.g. Zhang Liu, Zhang Leu, Leu Zhang etc. sometimes it appears that the main characters have more than one name), and the vast majority either get beheaded for some insane reason or die in battle, leaving you
...more
Brian Lewis
This series, quite possibly, will be one of my top 5 picks for one of the most impressive and enjoyable reads of my lifetime. There are not very many works of fiction that have the power to change how the reader thinks, but this is one of them. Something about the tale has the power to transform the reader, just a bit. Also, it's simply a fun read.

It's difficult to condense what the series does so well. I guess I would say that the author is talented enough to express all of the kinds of persona
...more
Tony Wang
I want to recommend a special book named Three Kingdoms of Romance to everybody,if you like reading books,I am pretty sure you will like this.Doubt my mind?Just read it,you will find I am right.This book – part historical, part legend, and part mythical – romanticists and dramatics the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han dynasty or restore it. While the novel follows hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged f ...more
Thomas Smith
Not exactly a recent read on my part. I've owned this series for around 6 years now and read it two or three times. I say two or three given the rather impenetrable length of all four volumes - I've read Volume 1 four times but Volume 4 only twice.
However, it is my favourite of the four great classic Chinese novels. A piece of beautifully embellished history. I cannot recommend this book enough if you are interested in history, warfare, politics or human relations (especially in the context of
...more
Atlas Can
Jun 28, 2015 Atlas Can marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My idea of fun is to spend best years of my life and its summers by reading ancient chinese history, especially about the fateful last reign of the Han dynasty. On a beach, preferably with 2400 page leather grimoire edition.



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5847865
Luo Ben (c. 1330–1400), better known by his style name Luo Guanzhong (罗贯中) (Mandarin pronunciation: [lwɔ kwantʂʊŋ]), was a Chinese writer who lived during the Yuan Dynasty. He was also known by his pseudonym Huhai Sanren (Chinese: 湖海散人; pinyin: Húhǎi Sǎnrén; literally "Leisure Man of Lakes and Seas"). Luo was attributed with writing Romance of the Three Kingdoms and editing Water Margin, two of th ...more
More about Luo Guanzhong...

Other Books in the Series

彩繪中國經典名著 (3 books)
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Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1 Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 2 Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel. Abridged Edition Sam Kok 1 Outlaws of the Marsh

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“The world under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide. This has been so since antiquity. ” 15 likes
“You may return and tell Sun Quan to wash his neck: the executioner is coming.” 6 likes
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