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Taming Poison Dragons (China Trilogy #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Western China, 1196: Yun Cai, an adored poet in his youth, is now an old man, exiled to his family estates, full of regret and feelings futility. But the "poison dragons" of misfortune shatter his orderly existence. First,when his village is threatened by a vicious civil war, his family stabilityis threatened by his second son, a brutal rebel officer. Meanwhile, Yun Cai st ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Myrmidon Books
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Catherine Street
May 22, 2009 Catherine Street rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eclectic tastes, lovers of historical fiction and poetry
Recommended to Catherine by: a friend
Taming Poison Dragons is set in 12th century China, not a place I thought I would necessarily want to be taken to. But taken to it I was. I felt as if I inhabited this amazing world and the images created.
It is a beautifully written novel, epic in scope (500 odd pages)and is a fascinating tale of life in this seemingly far removed time and place. It certainly shed new light for me on a world I knew nothing about.

The novel is centered around an old man who relives his youth as a striving young ma
Chris LaHatte
This was a surprising find at the library, which I enjoyed a lot. He has gone to some trouble to make this very historically accurate, but characters are sympathetic, even the Second Son. The writer must have researched this period very thoroughly because his evocation of Chinese culture and beliefs rings very true. When this combined with a well crafted story, it makes for a gripping and satisfying read. there are no gimmicks or deus ex machina interventions, but just a progression of the story ...more
Tasha Mellins-Cohen
Fabulous book. The way Murgatroyd plays with time, using Yun Cai's memories to flit backwards into the past, is masterful. Yun Cai himself is a warm and engaging character despite being a grumbling old drunk - quite a feat! - and the depictions of Yun Cai's family and friends are equally lively. For some reason, the style brings to mind The Secrets of Jin-shei which was my introduction to the (sort of) world of medieval China.

The big surprise of the book for me was how much I enjoyed the poetry
Kate Allan
Taming Poison Dragons is one of those books you will remember vivid bits of even years after you've read it. The setting is amazingly described and the characters are great. I would have liked a different ending but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
Bryn Hammond
I liked this: it has a faulty hero and a messy society. It was uneven, though, and too often dropped beneath its best.
Joel Mcinally
I recently met Tim Murgatroyd at a local book store where he was promoting his books. After deciding to read them due to my own fascination with the Mongolian Empire. Despite the comparative lack of violence and action in this novel, I became captivated with the life of the humble poet Yun Cai. Murgatroyd presents a realistic and relatable protagonist,who leads a far from perfect life, filled with both joy and sorrow. I would recommend this novel to anyone with a passion for Imperial China or si ...more
Corey Dutson
I've got a distinct weakness for books that take place in Old China or Japan. There's just so much culture there, and when a good author can take that culture and weave a compelling story into the fabric? Well that's just swell.

Tim Murgatroyd has become an author I'll be watching closely. His writing style, while slightly long-winded at times, works perfectly for the genre and style of book that Taming Poison Dragons happens to be. It sucks you in and takes you along a brilliant story of a strai
Mysterious Bunny
I read this last year, and wanted to love it. The characters and description in the first half of the novel were engrossing, but I found its resolution strangely detached.

I believe this was a question of pacing. The use of two narratives was a great device in the first half of the book, but towards the end of it, I felt it was perhaps clunky.

The descriptions in the first half of the novel struck me as far more vivid than the ones towards the climax. Perhaps he skimped on description in the latt
Overall pretty good look at Chinese culture in the 12th century. The narrative is split into the present and his past experience. The first half is certainly stronger but overall it is a good read.
To say I found this book at a tiny little library in a tiny little village, AMAZING!
Mike Currie
Very interesting slice of history
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A great read 1 14 May 22, 2009 03:40PM  
Tim Murgatroyd lives in York with his wife and two sons, where he works as an English teacher alongside his writing career.
Tim has been fascinated by ancient China since his teens, when he discovered a slim volume of Chinese poetry in a secondhand bookshop.
The sequel to TAMING POISON DRAGONS, entitled BREAKING BAMBOO was published in early Autumn 2010. The third book of his China Trilogy, which
More about Tim Murgatroyd...
Breaking Bamboo (China Trilogy #2) The mandate of heaven (China Trilogy, #3)

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