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The First Excellence ~ Fa-ling's Map

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  130 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
What happens when East bleeds into West? Join Fa-ling on an incredible journey into the heart of mainland China. Searching for her lost heritage, Fa-ling encounters murder, kidnapping, political intrigue and organ theft. With Detective Wang Yong-qi and his brilliant but uncouth partner Cheng Minsheng, Fa-ling must uncover a high-stakes kidnapping plot – before another chil ...more
Nook, 0 pages
Published April 17th 2010 by Donna Carrick (first published September 26th 2009)
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Feb 05, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, travel
I obtained this book via Smashwords some time ago and only recently got around to reading it. Unfortunately, the author has removed it from Smashwords and I am unable to review it at the source.

This is the story of Fa-ling, a Chinese adoptee who has gone back to the land of her birth to try to learn more about her birth family. She is part of a tour of couples who are adopting Chinese infants and toddlers. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, the group finds itself at the center of polit
J.L. Campbell
Jun 04, 2011 J.L. Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If stories to do with communist states, personal quests, and plain intrigue are your thing, then the First Excellence is for you. (I got this book on Kindle for 99 cents, but the story is way above that dollar value) There were two major external plots are work in this novel, one to do with the state clamping down on something (in this case a religious sect) they didn’t understand, but saw as a threat, and the other detailed the lengths to which someone will go when faced with ruin.

The plot was
Aug 04, 2010 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The First Excellence is a layered and complicated story that touches on international adoption, child abuse and the politics of communist China. Yet, author Donna Carrick makes it an easy read.

The First Excellence needs to be on the NY Best Seller List! This is truly an intriguing story with many facets and layers of plot and sub-plot. The characters jump right into you heart and take you on an emotional and fast-paced ride through the streets of China.
Donna Carrick's creativity really shines wi
B.L. Newport
Nov 08, 2010 B.L. Newport rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book!
I don't know what was best about The First Excellence. Was it the multi-faceted characters? The mystery? The adventure? Or was it the way each chapter was an important thread woven into the tapestry that turned out to be a beautiful story? I can't say for sure; but what I can say is that this book will definitely be added to the shelves that hold the 'books I will read again' books.
Morgan Linden
Sep 12, 2011 Morgan Linden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fa-Ling's Map is a fascinating trip through a very alien world through a series of interlocked lives that weave in and out of each other without feeling forced, the coincidences simply meant to be, rather than deus ex machina. Each of the tales woven into the other-arching story is interesting in and of itself, from the desperate and neurotic wife to the police duo, the shady savagery of government operatives to Fa-Ling herself, and you are engaged in each so when focus switches there is no desi ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I have to say this book is wonderful. There is so much detail it's as if I am right there every step with the characters. I fell in love with Fa-ling and was so entrenched in her journeys that I couldn't put the book down. The Author Donna Carrick not only did her research, very well, she made me feel every heart breaking turn that Fa-Ling was experiencing. Even trying to write this review I find myself wanting to go into detail the highs and lows of each experience Fa-Ling found herself in ...more
Jul 11, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Carrick has crafted a wonderfully entertaining and moving novel. The story is rich with intrigue, all the characters are well developed and quite complex, and the pacing is excellent.

This story took me on a journey both deep into a young woman's heart and outward where the exotic setting, the history, and the culture of China felt real, as did the vivid imagery.

The First Excellence doesn't shy away from tough topics or the emotions they evoke; in fact, it exposes them, but does so realisti
Fran Riedemann
Dec 03, 2011 Fran Riedemann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is layered and rich, with the added benefit of walking away feeling like you were somehow expanded. My only critique was being able to get a handle on the characters by name thereby having to go back and reread portions to reestablish who the character was. But, that aside, the story was captivating, descriptive, and full of the kind of intrigue that keeps the reader curious. My compliments to the Author who did a great job illuminating a culture that is so dif ...more
Meredith Stoddard
May 05, 2011 Meredith Stoddard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent. The characters are clearly drawn and interesting. The story is heart rending and compelling. It's full of fascinating cultural insights that can only come with first hand knowledge. I was drawn in immediately and remained engrossed.

A lot of independent authors publish before their stories are ready and the result is often a book sorely in need of editing and proofreading. I'm happy to say that is NOT the case with this book. Ms. Carrick's work is very polished and well-
Derek Haines
May 18, 2011 Derek Haines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donna Carrick's The First Excellence is a wonderfully deep and elaborate story that gave me a little of a James Clavell feeling right from the very first page. Perhaps it was how easily I connected with Fa-Ling, or maybe it was the setting. In any event I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the twists and turns in the plot. A terrific read.
Jun 24, 2011 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book, well written and exciting I even liked the ending. I feel strongly that most writers don’t really know how to end a book without leaving me feeling I needed more this one left feeling ok I like more but I do not feel cheated.
Jan 03, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of many "freebies" for kindle downloaded over Christmas, this one outshines most of the others. I look forward to the next instalment in Fa-ling's adventures.
Renda Dodge
Jul 19, 2010 Renda Dodge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read by a very talented story teller. I recommended it to anyone who loves a well crafted story and lots of intrigue.
Jun 01, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the edge of your seat kind of book; held my attention. Murder, intrigue and mystery in China about international adoptions.
Alison Bruce
Nov 02, 2011 Alison Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just started but I love the way Donna sets the scene.
Joan Adamak
Jul 05, 2013 Joan Adamak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aspects of China as a modern culture

This is an excellent book, well written with good character development. However, it opens with a young Chinese mother birthing a new baby girl, who takes her and her four-year old daughter out of their small village, and leaves them with bottles for the baby, telling the older child, Li, to watch out for them until someone comes along and don’t say who they are. The mother has done this because her mother-in-law, “The Good Mother” intends to kill both childre
Jun 08, 2013 Buchdoktor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age, china
Li Fa-Ling ist die Adoptivtochter kanadischer Eltern. Anders als ihre jüngere Schwester hat sie nicht gegen den Vorsatz ihrer Eltern revoltiert, den Töchtern durch zusätzlichen Chinesisch-Unterricht den Kontakt zu deren Herkunftsland zu erhalten. Mit Anfang 20 sieht Fa-Ling sich an einem Wendepunkt in ihrem Leben und unternimmt eine Reise nach China, u. a. an den Li-Fluss, dessen Name den Mädchen als Kindern kurz vor der Begegnung mit den adoptierenden Eltern als Familienname gegeben wurde. Fa-L ...more
The characters are a little one dimensional, a little too black or white. The ending seemed a little rushed and that after a slow start, but then, on the good side, it was an interesting story and thats why we read them.
Gayle Beveridge
Sep 15, 2013 Gayle Beveridge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What to say about the First Excellence other than oh my goodness! It is a story of a young girl's journey of self discovery, a story of murder, of political intrigue, of kidnap, of love and betrayal - it's a bit of everything and it will keep you on your toes. Fa-ling, an adoptee, returns to China, seeking answers in the country of her birth. She makes the trip with a group of couples on their way to adopt Chinese orphans. The story weaves around Fa-ling, the group of adoptive parents, a young j ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
has an small adoption theme to it, but is also a mystery. It was a pretty good read and moved along at a good pace.
Jan 14, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book - a glimpse into China and the mind of a Chinese adoptee.
Sep 16, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'll admit that I'm no expert on China, so I can't really speak to the truth of the setting or believability of many of the characters in this story. That said, I really, really enjoyed the book. It was well-paced, well-written, the characters were well-developed, and even though I saw most of the "twists" coming, that was ok- as it's really laid out more as a "crime novel" than a "mystery." I would definitely read more from this author!
Dona Matthews
Mar 12, 2013 Dona Matthews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story, set in China. Interesting characters, well-drawn settings, a fast and complex plot, and meaningful themes, this book has a lot going for it, and I look forward to reading more by Donna Carrick. It's a cautionary tale for self-published authors, though--a good editor would've caught the problems with word usage (their/they're/there, etc.), hyphenation, and other technicalities that jar the reading fluency.
May 30, 2011 Marcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fast read, filled with intrigue! Fa-ling visits China with a group of couples who will be adopting Chinese babies. She travels with this group so that she can go back to her birthplace and make peace with her past. Her story, alone, would have made this novel compelling. There are too many coincidences in this story, but they do tie in together nicely to make this story interesting.
Apr 11, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is set in China. An adoption group travels to China to collect their new babies. Travelling with them is a young woman who was born in China but was adopted and grew up in Toronto, Canada. I enjoyed this book. Taking place in a country so different to my own made it an interesting read also. The story travelled along quickly and was an easy and entertaining read.
Feb 19, 2013 Nae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one Julie had posted as to be read :) I read it. What a thoroughly interesting book. The emotions and ambiguities that surround adopting children from another country play a truly interesting counterpoint to the rigidity of modern China in this one. It is a very good read and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Sep 05, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the entertaining twists and turns in this novel based on the author's own experience of adopting a baby in China. This novel contains "who-done-it" elements but also has a serious message about Confucius's instrustion to find one's "Five Excellences". The book provides a good look at contemporary Chinese life.
Dana Sahm
I really loved this book...almost. I was caught up immediately in the story and the characters. I would love to give this book four or even five stars, but towards the end there were just too many story lines that were left hanging.
Aug 09, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully crafted mystery set against the backdrop of a group of Canadian couples travelling to China to adopt babies.
Apr 10, 2013 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
I really enjoyed this book. Well-written and well-researched with a plot that has good momentum.
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An Air Force Brat, Donna grew up in locations all over Canada. Her primary influences came from small town Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, the mining towns of Cape Breton, Northern Quebec and her birth province of New Brunswick.

Her interest in creative writing was established early and developed into a passion for fiction that continues to this day. She studied both Literature and Psychology at th
More about Donna Carrick...

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