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Dragon Bones

(Red Princess #3)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  4,351 ratings  ·  444 reviews
In a magnificent land where myth mixes treacherously with truth, one woman is in charge of telling them apart. Liu Hulan is the Inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security whose tough style rousts wrongdoers and rubs her superiors the wrong way. Now her latest case finds her trapped between her country’s distant past and her own recent history.

The case starts at a ral
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2002)
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Terri Gav I didn't read the first two books and I didn't have a problem reading this one. It was a really good read, if a little gruesome for my taste…moreI didn't read the first two books and I didn't have a problem reading this one. It was a really good read, if a little gruesome for my taste(less)
Terri Gav I thought it was a really good read but it was a little gruesome for me.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  4,351 ratings  ·  444 reviews

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Tara Lynn
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've always loved early Chinese culture, and adore many of the more popular "current" novels. (The Good Earth Trilogy, Amy Tan's books,) but I've just discovered Lisa See, and I have to say that her books are phenomenal. I
ve been doing a lot of in depth study on the practice of footbinding, and it's development as a perception of beauty in Chinese tradition. You can actually find current photos of footbound women, since the practice continued despite government protest, in the mountainous region
May 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Read it for a book group.

It is third in a series -- maybe I should have read the first 2? What did I miss? I'll never know as I won't read the first 2.

I like the characterization, and I loved reading about the Gorges and the dam and all the Chinese stuff I know nothing about. Issues are with plotting and pacing and ending. Too many weird things that require willing suspension of disbelief (think tunnels and caves and people showing up in the nick of time)

I'd like to know more about the dam and
A complex and detailed story, the writing was dry and I struggled to finish it. The mysteries were layered and kept me guessing. It was a good story but not gripping and it didn't engage me emotionally. ...more
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: gio
Shelves: mystery
The back cover promsies "an extraordinarily rich novel" in which "myth mixes treacherously with truth." And, indeed, this is what See delivers. As a reader, you really feel the setting. See avoids easy political shots, taking a more nuanced (and interesting) approach than some might. The murder & mayhem got nasty, but the details are presented as they must be to move the story along, without sliding into the pornography of violence that is common in many thrillers/mysteries; this was a welcome t ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As with every single book of hers that I have read this is a compelling and exciting one to read. Lisa See's gift for painting indelible pictures of a country and people of such mystery to me is a true talent. "On Gold Mountain" was the first of her books I ever read and from the first page she had me hooked. I think I have now finally read everything of hers that is published and just cannot wait for what she writes next. ...more
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Archaeological mystery that I could not put down. Race to save the ancient Chinese artifacts before flooding the Chinese landscape. One more time, Lisa See's research is thorough and accurate. I became even more fascinated when I looked up the dig site on line. ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this third Red Princess book even more than the first two in the series. I'll certainly miss the gutsy, stubborn Liu Hulan and her lovely husband David! Unique and very interesting trilogy; more novels than murder mysteries and I learned much about China, its culture and history. ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated by the orient since 1967, when I met a college classmate from Hong Kong. I met his father in HK in 1975, and my (Navy) visit to HK that year reaffirmed my fascination and interest in all things Chinese. But life had taken me in different directions since then.

So I picked up this book by Lisa See, not from any recommendation but from that long ago interest. This book was very enjoyable to read. Lisa See captures the sense and scenes of life in China through intrigue, murde
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was really more like 3.5 stars. After reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I was not expecting a detective/mystery story. That is what Dragon Bones is--a mystery book with Chinese history, politics, and legends woven in. At times, it was a bit boring, but at other times, it flew right through interesting sections without going into enough detail. Although some of the book was predictable, I think the rest was written well enough where you weren't 100% sure which way things would go. ...more
Aug 05, 2007 rated it liked it
This book is written by an author I really admire. It is the third book in a series that involves Liu Hulan. It is set in China and Liu is sent to investigate the deaths of some people at an archaeological dig site. I really had to think while reading this book as many things that the author describes were not familiar to me.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in a set of mysteries that Lisa See wrote. Every book I have read of hers has been excellent. This follows Liu Hulan in China as an Inspector solving a murder case. This also follows Hulan's personal life with her marriage to an American attorney. I learn so much about China from See's books. ...more
Marcy Heller
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book because I thought my daughter, an archaeologist, had put it in our Kindle library. I was at first put off by the title (why do authors insist on writing series when their books can stand alone), but I was hooked from page one. I hadn't realized at first that 'Dragon Bones' was written by the same Lisa See whose books (Shanghai Girls, Gold Mountain, Dreams of Joy, Peony in Love) I had enjoyed reading about the Chinese-American experience.

Dragon Bones is a crime mystery
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the last Red Princess book, it takes Hulan and David to the three gorges, each with different assignments. She is investigating the death of a young archaeologist and he is trying to follow up on some lost artifacts. Early on they see a relationship between these crimes. They are also trying to recover the relationship they have lost since the death of their daughter. This was an exciting book with several twists and also presented some Chinese history. It helped me to relate to some of ...more
Martha Wood
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first two. It was a bit too gruesome for me. Lisa See is still one of my favorite authors but this one was a miss for me. ...more
There was a lot of culture in this story as well as marital angst and lifetime regrets wrapped up within this mystery. I prefer my mysteries to be more about the mystery :D
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to enjoy books by this author ... but this one took me a while to get through.
Kyla Mosienko
Nov 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to get into at first but by the end I was hooked. When I bought it I didn't realize it was a series but plan on reading the first 2 books. ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have previously read the first of the Red Princess Mysteries, and was not overly thrilled. Somehow, I’ve missed book two. So I started this third book with misgiving which were quickly blown away. Set in the early 2000’s, the book followed the building of the world’s largest dam in China which would also destroy cultural geographical landmarks and archeology digs. Well worth reading for the history and for the mystery.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel really captured and held on to my interest. The action didn't cease and the plot line moved along fluidly. I thought the cultural and political tie ins were fascinating. Even the description of the setting was done well.
The only thing that might have been improved upon would be to have an appendix. As I am a "gap" reader, each time I came back to this book I had to remind myself what some of the items and concepts were that were discussed among the characters and used in the book.
Oct 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
This book is a mystery, a contemporary analysis of China, and a love story all in one. Sadly, sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts and that is the case with this book. It is almost painful to watch how the author attempts to tie these elements into one story. I wanted it to work, because I like intelligent mysteries, but it couldn't provide intellectual engagement OR mindless escapism. ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2017
As much as it pains me to say it, I didn't like this one much. The last third of the book helped a lot, though. I absolutely adore Lisa See, but this was her weakest book. Even though I love mysteries, I just wasn't feeling the trilogy. I will certainly continue to devour her historical fiction, though! ...more
Sharon Apple
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thrilling!! Gives more Insight into the world's largest dam, as well as enticingly scratches the surface of: the origin of Chinese language; Chinese thought on domestic control and global political dominance; and, among other things, archeological treasures. ...more
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
I didn't realize this was an ongoing saga of Liu Hulan; I read this one out of order. I may have enjoyed it more if I started with the first book. ...more
Sudha Bellamkonda
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-world
Like all Lisa See novels, this novel is hugely informative about China - both past and present. I also love her characters. The plot though is a little too fantastic. Enjoyable read nevertheless.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Critical reviews of See's books do not represent common readers. Her stories are vibrant, historical, and intriguing. Avid readers of China and it's history and mystery will like this book. ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am not usually a fan of mysteries but this was excellent.
Kevin Kim
Fairly interesting, but tad too long and meandering, without much escalating effect of thrills, is my overall impression of this whodunit centred in China. Didn't realize that this was the third installment of so-called "Red Princesss Mysteries," but had no problem figuring out who's who, and what relationships that matter.

When the body of an American archaeologiest is found floating in the Yangzi River, Ministry of Public Security - perhaps Chinese version of FBI? - agent Liu Hulan, a.k.a. "Re
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to this audiobook. This is the 3rd Red Princess book. Liu Hulan is an investigator for China's police. She is married but estranged from her American lawyer husband, David Stark. They are struggling with their relationship since the death of their little girl from a sudden illness. In this story they are teamed up to look into the death of an American archeologist at a dig site where a giant dam is being built over the Three Gorges. Artifacts have gone missing from this Site 518. Hula ...more
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: astronaut, mystery, 2020, 100, pet, china
Dragon Bones is the third and final book of the Red Princess trilogy, preceded by Flower Net and The Interior.

The Chinese government sends Hulan, an inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security, along with her husband, David Stark, an American lawyer practicing law in China to an archaeological site near the construction of the massive Three Gorges Dam project to investigate a suspicious death. Hulan and David's marriage has been damaged by events that occurred since Book Two, The Interior,
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Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

Other books in the series

Red Princess (3 books)
  • Flower Net (Red Princess, #1)
  • The Interior (Red Princess, #2)

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