Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dragon's Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #3)” as Want to Read:
Dragon's Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dragon's Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles #3)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,523 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
In 1867, Otter travels from Three Willows Village in China to California -- the Land of the Golden Mountain. There he will join his father and uncle.

In spite of the presence of family, Otter is a stranger among the other Chinese in this new land. And where he expected to see a land of goldfields, he sees only vast, cold whiteness. But Otter's dream is to learn all he can,
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by HarperCollins (first published October 7th 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dragon's Gate, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Firsty Blocker
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Benjamin Thomas
Jun 11, 2016 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
I chose to read this YA historical novel because it was part of my kid’s school curriculum but I hadn’t realized it was the third novel in a 10-book series. No matter; this read as a complete story in itself with a beginning, a middle, and an end and I was quite satisfied to read it as a stand-alone novel (although, it’s quality will likely result in my seeking out the other books in the series).

As I understand it, the series as a whole relates the lengthy tale of the Youngs family of Three Will
Donna Davis
This is my all time favorite book for young adults, and is also a great tie between literature and fiction. Yep is the only author of children's fiction I know of who includes a bibliography at the end of his book, to show he is informed and well-researched, even though he has chosen the vehicle of fiction.

Chinese Americans came toward the end of the gold rush. A few got lucky, but most were too late. China was on the brink of civil war; the Manchu Dynasty was on the throne, with the help of the
Jan 25, 2009 Lynne rated it really liked it
Dragon’s Gate is a wonderful historical fiction book that engages the reader at the start. Laurence Yep created exceptional characters that are well-rounded and intriguing, but what stayed with me were the surprising twists in the plot line. The story line is tightly plotted with each event leading to the next. Yep uses foreshadowing to suggest what will happen in the story. In addition, Yep builds tension throughout the story as Otter witnesses and is part of numerous moments of cruel treatment ...more
Jeremy X
Nov 20, 2014 Jeremy X rated it really liked it
Dragon's Gate is a great book that is not only interesting, but also informative. Most people know about the transcontinental railroad, and they might know that it was built by the Chinese and Irish, but only a handful of people know about the harsh conditions and lack of pay and food that these workers faced. Being historical fiction, Dragon's Gate tells the tale of Otter and his journey to America - the "Golden Mountain." Dragon's Gate is well-written and Lawrence Yep, the author, has won two ...more
C. McKenzie
Mar 28, 2016 C. McKenzie rated it it was amazing
I'm a Yep fan, and Dragon's Gate only increased my appreciation for his ability as a storyteller. Since I'm also always interested in the 1850s during the Gold Rush and the building of the Trans-Continental Railroad, this was a perfect story for me.

Yep paints a cold picture of how the Chinese labored under wicked condition--little food, severe weather, grueling back-breaking labor and discrimination. A proud man from China was treated as less than human, paid less than his Anglo co-workers, and
Nov 10, 2008 vivian rated it it was amazing
book i was told to read at age 6 by my school teacher to learn about asian america since it wasnt important enough to be in the curriculum... and I met Laurence Yep a few weeks ago and we had an interesting conversation about it!
Jan 15, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
Fascinating fiction that depicts the brutal working conditions and discrimination suffered by the Chinese immigrants who helped build the transcontinental railroad through the Sierra Nevadas, 1865-69. As the railroad companies raced to finish the construction of the railroad, the hardworking but naive Chinese workers endured whippings by their bosses, avalanches, long 12-hour work days, and low pay compared with that of their western counterparts.
Aug 13, 2016 Sasha rated it really liked it
Title: Dragon's Gate: Part of the Golden' Mountain Chronicle.
Author: Laurence Yep
Date of Publication: 1993
Award: Newberry Honor Book
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary: A young boy who lives in China acidentllly kills a Muanchu official and has to flee to America to join his father, uncle and other Chinese workeer in building a tuunnel for the transcontinental railroad through the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1867. Although Otter was eager to venture into the unknon, he
Jan 04, 2010 Josiah rated it liked it
"You can learn to change the world or go on being changed by it."

Dragon's Gate, p. 35

When I think of the nationwide railroad that was built in America during the nineteenth century, I tend to picture a young Abraham Lincoln driving in railway spikes, tough young guys hardening their muscles and working at all hours and through the night, and a spirit of general camaraderie that united our country in its fledgling days. I did not, prior to reading this book, think of thousands of imported Chi
Oct 31, 2013 Jill rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-honor
Timely read considering I'll be visiting San Francisco for the first time in December. I have to admit I knew very little about the history of Chinese Americans other than how instrumental they were, and poorly treated, in the building of the railroads. This book drives that point home. The author was successful in making me feel like a prisoner in the time-altered interior of a cold, dark mountain. It felt downright claustrophobic at times. Uncomfortable--and I think that was Laurence Yep's int ...more
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here.

I rated this novel WARTY!

This novel was about a Chinese kid emigrating to the USA to escape the Fu Manchu who were after him in his native land. He thought he was heading for a life of riches, but he was so wrong.

He figured he'd have the easy ti
Dragon's Gate takes place from 1865 to 1869. Otter's father and uncle are welcomed home as heroes anytime they return from living and working in the "Land of the Golden Mountain" (also known as California). Otter especially admires his Uncle Foxfire and wants to go with him to work in the U.S. What Otter doesn't know until an accident forces him to join them in California, is that their work is the back-breaking labor of tunneling through the Sierras for the transcontinental railroad. Not only i ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Teresa rated it it was amazing
The book, Dragon's Gate by Laurence Yep was based on the true story of the Chinese immigrants coming to America in the 1860's. The Chinese immigrant in this story is Otter. When he went to America, he is a Stranger among everyone else. He dosen't know anybody until he met Sean. Sean is really different from everyone else. Sean is white, not asian. He have green eyes instead of brown. He is the only boy who had freckles in the group. That part I felt that Otter is having more confidence because h ...more
Nov 15, 2010 Jack rated it really liked it
Dragon's Gate is about a character who's name is called Otter who was adopted in china to two parents from the Three Willows Village. And how they are experiencing in the Opium War between China and the European countries and the Manchus who are invading there village and china . In the story,Otter wanted to help the village by going to America,California and getting new technology for there village, but Otters Mom did not accept him to go to America, because she believed that it might of been t ...more
youj HO
Jan 22, 2014 youj HO rated it really liked it
I find Dragon's Gate a very well written book that includes varying sensations that range from love to hate and from frustration to pride. This book gives you a clear understanding of the hardships and discrimination faced by Chinese workers whilst building the railroad. Dragons gate was an overall great book. It had some really important lessons, like learning to stand up for yourself, the definition of being brave, and how to fight as a team. This book is great for learning more about the hist ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Liz rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, 2015
I read this because it was a choice on my son's required-reading list. I can't say I enjoyed it much or could really recommend it but it was informative. The main character is Otter, who lives in the mid-1800s in China. His father and uncle have emigrated to America to work on the railroads, and are the richest men in the village, treated like kings when they come home occasionally to visit. However, when events conspire to send Otter to America, he find that conditions for Chinese working on th ...more
Thomas Bell
May 30, 2016 Thomas Bell rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-honors
The book is definitely okay. It's a historical fiction. that tells the story of the Central Pacific Railroad's Chinese workers as they cut through the Summit Tunnel in Donner Pass. It tells the background of the strike in 1865.

There was a strong side-line about trying to gain knowledge and technology to bring it back to China to help drive out the Manchus as well as the English and their opium. However, that didn't work so well for me as did the story in the mountains. I think they should have b
Jun 10, 2016 Sienna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a well-written, very realistic and believable historical fiction. Another example of racial injustices which, unfortunately, have been very prevalent in many time periods of our country's history. This example of such unfair treatment was one I had never heard about - Asians in the Sierra Mountains laboring in harsh conditions to pave the way for the revolutionary transcontinental railroad in America. From a historical point of view, it was well-written and obviously well-researched wit ...more
Dec 01, 2016 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
This is the story of Otter, a Chinese boy who joins his father and uncle in America to work on the railroad. It's part of the Golden Mountain Chronicles. The books stand alone, though, or at least this one does. I just picked out a couple from the series that sounded the most interesting (this one and one about the 1903 SF earthquake) to try it. The writing's pretty good, though, so I may eventually try to get the rest.[return][return]Sadly, I didn't actually know much about this particular bit ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Luisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-teens
In the 1860s the Manchu governed China allowing the British to continue peddling opium creating addicts even in Otter's remote village. When his father and uncle return to after finding Gold in California, they're treated like kings. Uncle Foxfire insists they return the US to learn more about technology including how to create huge locomotives run on steam to help rebels opposed to the Manchu. Otter resents being left behind but an argument with a Manshu results in his sudden departure for Cali ...more
1994 Newbery Honor Book

This is one of two Laurence Yep books on the Newbery list. According to the author's note, it was started around the same time as Dragonwings but was not completed until much later. It is also historically accurate. Yep did extensive research on the working conditions in the railroad labor camps which are accurately portrayed in the book.

Otter is a teenage Chinese boy who comes to America after he kills a man in China. His father and uncle are already working for the railr
Sep 28, 2009 Jimmy rated it really liked it
This is a Chinese cultured book, but i'm telling you guys. It's not boring! It's the time when chinese people just started to open their minds and attention to the world and the American people always keeping their eyes on Gold rushes. The main character accidentally kills a chinese soldier who was trying to hurt his friends so he migrates to America's golden mountain nearby the Rocky mountains where his dad works. He suffers pain from frost and brutal cruel from other people because he's the yo ...more
Trinity Torella
Mar 10, 2015 Trinity Torella rated it really liked it
I thought that this book wasn't very interesting at first, but as i kept reading it got better. The further i read on, the more I liked the book. The main character, Otter, went through a lot of troubles. I enjoyed being able to read it from his point of view. It gave me a different perspective on the situations. I even felt a little bad after some of the events, such as the death of a character. Otter learns so much from his journey to America. If you want to learn a little more about the olden ...more
Story Revolution

In 1867, Otter travels from Three Willows Village in China to California -- the Land of the Golden Mountain. There he will join his father and uncle.

In spite of the presence of family, Otter is a stranger among the other Chinese in this new land. And where he expected to see a land of goldfields, he sees only vast, cold whiteness. But Otter's dream is to learn all he can, take the technology back to the Middle Kingdom, and free China from the Manchu invaders.

Otter and the others board a machine

Dec 16, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
Maybe not quite 4 stars for me -- it wasn't a book I couldn't put down, but a good solid 3.5 so I'll round up. This is not something I would have normally picked up, but I'm glad I did. The writing was very well done...the author got me interested and involved from the beginning and I never felt bored. This story is based on real events of Chinese workers building the Transcontinental Railroad. It was fascinating (and heart breaking) to read about their story. I was kind of bummed to learn that ...more
Oct 28, 2010 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens looking for a book that interests them on Historical Fiction about the America and China.
Recommended to William by: N/A
The Dragon's Gate was a book that I chose because of reading the title I knew it was something about the life of the Chinese. Actually in this book, it was life as a worker for the Westerners(Americans). Working to build the Transcontinental Railroad System that runs from the western part of United States to the east ern part of the United States. What surprised me was that it was not that interesting in the beginning of the story but more in the middle/end of the story when it really got more d ...more
Nov 14, 2008 Carol rated it liked it
This was about the Chinese that worked on the transcontinental railroad. It started out in China so I could better see the attitude of the Chinese people about America and about their own people who came over to work. Also I got a little education about the historical setting of the people's condition under the Manchu dynasty. The working condition for the Chinese were at least as bad as antebellum slavery and sometimes even worse. This book was fairly heavy for juvenile fiction. I found the boo ...more
Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
From cover:

"In 1867, Otter travels from Three Willows Village in China to California - the Land of the Golden Mountain. There he will join his father and uncle.

In spite of the presence of family, Otter is a stranger among the other Chinese in this new land. And where he expected to see a land of goldfields, he sees only vast, cold whiteness. But Otter's dream is to learn all he can, take the technology back to the Middle Kingdom, and free China from the Manchu invaders.

Otter and the others board
I've been meaning to read more of Laurence Yep and then when my uncle Alan handed this to me last week in Seattle, I felt there was no better time. I really enjoyed Yep's 1867 in the Sierras as a privileged teen from Toisan meets up with his uncle and father to work in on the railroad. This is a multilayered story that would be a great companion text to Hatchet. Lots of internal and external conflicts to analyze. I like how Yep explores and complicates the ideas of family and honor. I also love ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: school-reading

Dragon's Gate, written by Laurence Yep, is a well written book about the Chinese railroad workers in America and the bravery they had. It begins with Otter, a Chinese boy, who wishes to travel with his Father and Uncle Foxfire to the Land of the Golden Mountain. But when he actually gets there he discovers that it is nothing like the tales his Uncle Foxfire told of the place. Will he find a way to bring America's technology to the Middle Kingdom? While it wasn't my favorite novel, it was very in
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane
  • What Hearts
  • In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World
  • Frontier Living: An Illustrated Guide to Pioneer Life in America
  • Belling The Tiger
  • Bright Island
  • The Horsecatcher
  • Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time
  • Sugaring Time
  • Like Jake and Me
  • Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland
  • The Slopes of War
  • Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
  • Black Fox of Lorne
  • Journey Outside
  • Annie and the Old One
  • The Blue Cat of Castle Town
  • Crazy Lady!
Born June 14, 1948 in San Francisco, California, Yep was the son of Thomas Gim Yep and Franche Lee Yep. Franche Lee, her family's youngest child, was born in Ohio and raised in West Virginia where her family owned a Chinese laundry. Yep's father, Thomas, was born in China and came to America at the age of ten where he lived, not in Chinatown, but with an Irish friend in a white neighborhood. After ...more
More about Laurence Yep...

Other Books in the Series

Golden Mountain Chronicles (10 books)
  • The Serpent's Children (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #1)
  • Mountain Light (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #2)
  • The Traitor (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #4)
  • Dragonwings (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #5)
  • Dragon Road (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #6)
  • Child of the Owl (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #7)
  • Sea Glass (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #8)
  • Thief of Hearts (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #9)
  • Dragons of Silk (Golden Mountain Chronicles, #10)

Share This Book

“You can learn to change the world or go on being changed by it.” 21 likes
“Just because there's tarnish on the copper, doesn't mean there's not a shine beneath.” 14 likes
More quotes…