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Son Of Heaven (Chung Kuo Recast, #1)
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Son Of Heaven (Chung Kuo Recast #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  748 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
The year is 2085, two decades after the great economic collapse that destroyed Western civilization. With its power broken and its cities ruined, life in the West continues in scattered communities. In rural Dorset Jake Reed lives with his 14-year-old son and memories of the great collapse. Back in '43, Jake was a rich, young futures broker, immersed in the datascape of th ...more
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Corvus (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 02, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Originally reviewed on Otherwhere Gazette)

If you were reading science fiction in the 1990s, you might remember the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove. I do, and I remember it as a magnificent masterpiece of worldbuilding and characterization, where the good guys and the bad guys weren’t all white or black, but shades of grey. The problem is, the series ended very poorly, which is probably explained by the publisher pushing Wingrove to finish before he was ready, so he had to cram the ending int
Jan 27, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
This book is a reimagining of an old series first seen in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Originally a series of eight novels, it is now ambitiously proposed as a rewritten series of twenty.
David’s Chung Kuo series was first published in 1989 with The Middle Kingdom, and finished (rather ignobly) in 1996 with The Marriage of the Living Dark. The series told of an Earth and Mars dominated by China, living in a tiered hierarchical series of global cities, and how their world collapsed. Touted as ‘Shog
May 24, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it
So this is actually a prequel book (one of two) which was published when David Wingrove managed to republish this series. It was originally an 8 book series and yet it was planned to be re-released and revised with two added prequels and two sequels and each of the original 8 being split in half. This would have meant that there would be a grand total of 20 books, however unfortunately the series has currently only got 8 of the recast books released and it was dropped after not having enough int ...more
Rebecca Huston
Mar 20, 2014 Rebecca Huston rated it really liked it
In the last couple of decades I have become fascinated with Asia, reading whatever I can and hoping that one day I can go there. In the meantime, I read, watch what I can get, and even picking up a smattering of languages. Yep, it's that well-known method of scattershot study for me!

One series that caught my eye back in the 1980's was David Wingrove's series call Chung Kup, a science fiction series of books that envisions an Earth dominated by China, ruled by what are known as the Seven T'angs.
Mar 12, 2011 David rated it did not like it
Does not stand on its own - its just a very long introduction that has no story of its own. Very unrealistic depiction of a post-crash rural society. I find it hard to believe Mr Wingrove has every lived on a non-mechanized farm - particularly in a place completely isolated by 20 years from industrial resupply. The main character, who was a born in a dense urban ultra-tech rich society and lived as basically a financial manager, immediately transforms to James Bond during the week of the crash, ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Asferdinand rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
If I could give this book negative a million stars, I would. I never even finished it, but I'm pretty sure it's the worst book in the world. Between the racism (Yellow Peril, hooray!) and rampant sexism, I'm really only adding it to remind myself to NEVER READ ANYTHING BY THIS AUTHOR AGAIN.
Lianne Burwell
Mar 31, 2012 Lianne Burwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Back in the late eighties, I picked up a book that was the first in a series called Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdom. It was a science fiction series about a world controlled by the Chinese, where many races have been wiped out, and the majority of humanity live in a giant, world-spanning city of many layers, where the level you live in indicates your position.

I followed the series, but mid-way through, the book releases became erratic, and more difficult to find. And apparently the author was push
A dystopian look at a possible future Earth about fifty years hence, this book is the first in a planned series of twenty. I absolutely devoured this huge book because once I started I just hated to put it aside, even for short periods. I got so wrapped up in Jake’s story and the lives of people struggling to survive twenty some odd years after the total collapse of the world economy and infrastructure. Told in a very easy to read, straight-forward, yet positively mesmerizing style I felt as if ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

I guess I was up for a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, because I devoured this one. Was it really that good? Actually, it was that good.

The scene of the action shifts between two times set twenty years apart: post-collapse England, where survivors of the rioting and war that consumed the western world after the markets and all online systems failed live in small country villages, wary of roaming strangers and bandits; pre-collapse London, where Jake Reed works in
Guy Haley
Nov 25, 2015 Guy Haley rated it really liked it
Heard of Chung Kuo? Released over a decade, the series span a complicated future history where China rules a vast multi-levelled plastic city covering the Earth, and the ideological struggle between dynamism and stability that shook it. Cut short, the final volume, the Marriage of the Living Dark (1999) was not the ending the writer wanted. Now he’s back, with more understanding publishers, and Chung Kuo returns as a 20-book epic, with 500,000 new words of material, including a new finale, and t ...more
Hans Vannister
May 31, 2015 Hans Vannister rated it did not like it
This book is terribly written, neh? I believe the "brutal oriental" style is to blame when it comes to it. However, props for building characters that I can totally relate to, especially very recently widowed women who cannot stop their loins from burning as if they were teenagers under Viagra. All this seems deeply anchored in a sense of realism that is definitely required to identify to the characters, neh?

Seriously though, I opened this book with an eagerness to discover the world and the cha
Matthew Dowd
Feb 11, 2012 Matthew Dowd rated it did not like it
This was a novel that ventures so close to being racist, sexist, and fear-mongering that I absolutely could not enjoy it at all. You could say that it goes over the line, and I wouldn't necessarily argue. Surely, Mr. Wingrove himself is not necessarily a person who can be described in those ways: I've never met him. Perhaps he is of the most liberal character. He still wrote a novel with a featureless protagonist and a premise that is fairly ridiculous, plus the aforementioned issues. The rest o ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Graham rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I've put this on the science-fiction shelf, but is it? Cyber warfare, world collapse, limited reconstruction are at its heart so perhaps it it.
China takes over the world and sets about indoctrinating all of the countries which it takes control. I really enjoyed reading it and read it very quickly whilst on holiday without realising it is the first of a series and therefore is incomplete. (I sometimes feel that there should be a very large warning on the front of novels like this especially for r
Derek Allen
Dec 30, 2016 Derek Allen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, epics
I have read the Chung Kuo series the entire eight books on its original release. In fact I remember waiting for months for the last two installments to come out. Wingrove's last book "Marriage of the Living Dark" was, as many have said, a disappointment to many readers including myself. Yet I have been doing some research on the new re-release of this Epic series. It seems that not only are they releasing these two prequels, and making the volumes a bit more digestible (the original series had 8 ...more
Graham Crawford
Dec 09, 2012 Graham Crawford rated it it was ok
Wingrove is an extremely inconsistent writer. Some parts of this book are chilling and other sections are puerile. I didn't know how this was going to work as a prequel because we all know it ends so badly, but the feeling of doom worked quite well for me as time ran out for all the little people. I also liked the most of the structure of this book with the cyberpunk flashback. Such a pity he couldn't keep it going till the end - and what a terribly dumb ending it is. Perhaps the worst final sce ...more
Peter Bugaj
Sep 02, 2014 Peter Bugaj rated it it was ok
Not the best science fiction book I have read. The plot ended up being very predictable.
Also the author's explanation of how the previous world collapses due to market failure did not sound very plausible. A failed market could be the start of destruction leading to greater economic problems, which is turn can lead to the current world to fail. I did not however agree with the author's sense of simplicity in this regard.

The scenarios also did not seem real enough. After the current world collaps
Balthazar Lawson
I read this because it was a free book on iTunes. I had no idea what it was about, except that it was a book set in the near future, and, therefore, was pleasantly surprised by this novel. At the beginning, anyway. It however went down hill a bit as the main character was too self questioning about everything and soon became just plain repetitive and dull. Then, it picked up again in the second part, but soon lead to the self questioning by the characters. It all got too dull, but I was left won ...more
Feb 13, 2011 Doug rated it it was amazing
This book is a prequel to the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove. It provides back story to the cities in the series and explains how the Chinese came to be in control of the Earth. This book stands on it's own as an excellent read, well worth the readers time spent on it. Great storyline and the pace of the book moves well. It is set in our close future.
Feb 13, 2011 Gary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
A simply magnificent novel with plot, world-building and characters which many authors can only dream of.
My favourite sci-fi novel since Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon (2002).
This is the first of an extensive series which I look forward to immensely.
Zeke Chase
Jan 28, 2013 Zeke Chase rated it it was amazing
Rating: 8.8 / 10

David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series is a rather unique situation wherein it's actually two series, the second a “recast” of the first, divided separately with different endings and a new prequel. This confused the hell out of me when I first stumbled across this series, so let me clarify things for everyone right off the hop. From 1989 through 1999, Wingrove released Chung Kuo as a series of long, roughly 500-800 page (a piece) novels chronicling the rise of a neofeudal dynastic gl
Nov 20, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written

Well written and kind of an eerie read right now after the 2016 US election. I think I'll be reading the series
doug spencer
Nov 02, 2016 doug spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the new version of the story.

I loved the original and still own the collection of all eight books. This new version is exactly what I had hoped it would be!
Jul 15, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
If you read the original Chung Kuo series and liked it, then you will surely enjoy this prequel. It goes a long way to explaining the background to the situation in the original series, which was generally just alluded to fairly obliquely (which is fair enough when the whole point was history was being covered up and bulldozed under - but it did leave the reader often wondering 'How?').

If you have not read the original series, then that is no problem, as this then functions as the first part in
Nov 26, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it
The story is simple yet frighteningly haunting: it's the future and China has taken over the entire world. I'm sure anyone who pays attention to the news recently has got to know the state our world is in. To many people, they no longer feel that the United States possess the power they once did in the past. The balance of powers is shifting and guess whose right on the heels to take over? Yups, China. The Chung Kuo (literally translates to "China" in Mandarin) series hauntingly tells the tale o ...more
Ulysses Ai
May 05, 2014 Ulysses Ai rated it it was ok
This is the first book in a planned series of 20 volumes. Set in England, it tells of a world where modern society has collapsed and been reduced to a medieval society, with some surviving remnants of technology. 20 years after the fall England is invaded by the Chinese using advanced technology, aiming to establish a global empire.
I like stories about post-apocalyptic scenarios, and the idea of a Chinese empire conquering the world is an interesting idea. The main problem is a disparity between
Apr 01, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo originally appeared spread over eight large volumes between 1989 and 1997. Now he is revising and recasting the series into twenty not quite so large volumes, with publication scheduled to be completed during 2015. The first two of the new books, Son of Heaven and Daylight on Iron Mountain, form a sort of prologue to the main sequence, setting the scene and introducing characters.

In basic terms Chung Kuo depicts a near-future Earth (with its Solar System colonies) fall
May 25, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Chung Kuo was first released in the 90s, as an 8-part series. I remember often holding the books in my hands at the book store, because the covers looked intriguing. I have a love of Asian-flavored fantasy, and so a China-centric SF series seemed interesting. I didn't read a lot of SF at the time though, and never picked it up. Apparently, the end was rushed based on publisher demands and now almost 25 years later, the author decided to re-write the series, in TWENTY short novels. Ambitious. Pos ...more
Roddy Williams
Wingrove's original eight volume epic of 'Chung Kuo' was planned as a nine volume work but it appears that the publishers - for no clear reason - requested Wingrove to round everything off in volume eight, a book that was indeed unsatisfactory as the denouement to a masterly piece of work, both in scope and execution, by anyone's standards.
Wingrove has now revised and expanded his magnum opus with a proposed radically different ending. This, the first of a posited twenty volume series (each, I w
Nov 02, 2014 Dakeyras rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed away from this series when it was originally published because I wasn't overly aware of it. It's only years after the...disaster...of the 8th book that I really noticed it. Then I decided that the finale was so derided that I wouldn't bother.

With the announcement a few years back about the revision/expansion/whatever you want to call it, I decided I'd give it a go. Still, I waited until it was reasonably far along in the re-publication to start. I'm hopeful that books 9-20 will still be
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I suppose I must start by saying that I enjoyed this book but I must also add that I found it strangely old-fashioned. I wouldn't have been surprised to find that it was really written by John Christopher - it had that sort of feel about it. The book is the first in a long series (which I'm not sure I'm going to actually chase up) but can stand alone. The series appears to be a more modern rewrite of the originals produced in the 80s.
The story is in three parts; the ruralistic, slightly dangerou
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The Sword and Laser: The return of Chung Kuo 11 102 Jan 18, 2012 04:42PM  
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David Wingrove (born September 1954 in North Battersea, London) is a British science fiction writer. He is well-known as the author of the "Chung Kuo" novels (eight in total). He is also the co-author (with Rand and Robyn Miller) of the three "Myst" novels.

Wingrove worked in the banking industry for 7 years until he became fed up with it. He then attended the University of Kent, Canterbury, where
More about David Wingrove...

Other Books in the Series

Chung Kuo Recast (9 books)
  • Daylight On Iron Mountain (Chung Kuo Recast, #2)
  • The Middle Kingdom (Chung Kuo Recast, #3)
  • Ice and Fire (Chung Kuo Recast, #4)
  • The Art Of War (Chung Kuo Recast, #5)
  • An Inch of Ashes (Chung Kuo Recast, #6)
  • The Broken Wheel  (Chung Kuo, #2)
  • The White Mountain (Chung Kuo Recast, #8)
  • Monsters of the Deep (Chung Kuo Recast, #9)

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