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Le Colonial

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A "richly satisfying" ("Newsday") epic of Asian history in the tradition of James Clavell, from the bestselling author of "The Tapestries."
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 24th 2004 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2004)
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3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I appreciated the historical intro to colonial Vietnam. It was an easy nod to historical fiction, without a lot of depth. Perfect for a long plane ride where you might not be at your sharpest.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author reaches back into Vietnamese history. I have always been fascinated with the country since America's involvement there. In this case, the novel depicts the beginning of France's involvement in the country's affairs. Here, Vietnam is called Annam and it is the 1770s and 1780s. Three French missionaries witness and influence to some extent the violent power struggle that is happening. An intriguing epic of ethical, moral, and spiritual conflicts which made me look up this period of the ...more
David Steece, Jr.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vietnam, fiction
So conflicted. Breathtaking in its scope and ambition, unique in its setting and characters, it somehow felt hollow and formulaic as I read it. The author does a decent job of getting inside the priest's heads, and he does a really amazing job of portraying De Behaine as more than just a historical figure—as a real, living breathing human being. Still...

The prose was weak and obvious, and the characterizations were often peppered with soap opera-level insights. Not every character in every novel
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This is a very good, though very dark, sometimes very violent, story of two French priests who go as missionaries in the 1770s & 80s to the divided Kingdom of Annam in Southeast Asia (what we know as Vietnam). One of the priests is doctrinally inflexible but skillfully manipulative & determined to form an alliance with the royal family that will make it possible to turn the kingdom into a French Christian colony; the other, his rebellious protege, after a crisis early in his ministry the ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-general
A disappointing portrayal of three French missionaries who travel to Vietnam in the late 1700s. The novel was a quick read, with some insight into the time period and the portrayal of France and Vietnam. However, the characters seemed poorly defined, their stories unsatisfactorily resolved and the flow of events plodding and a bit comic bookish.

Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Good history of Vietnam. The usual unsavory influence of the clergy and politics.
Laura Lally
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldnt-get-into
read his other two books, totally awesome! hope this one compaires
Jennifer Miera
Apr 19, 2008 rated it liked it
French Missionaries; Vietnam; 1773.
Interesting and entertaining. Left a few loose ends. Rather dissatisfying ending.
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Kien Nguyen was born to a Vietnamese mother from a once wealthy family and her American civil engineer lover. His mother's family, who had lost their wealth when the French left Vietnam, lived among neighbors who treated them as pariahs because of their colonialist background. Kien, a child of mixed race, was especially ostracized from the community.

He left Vietnam in 1985 through the United Natio
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