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China: The Novel

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  772 ratings  ·  113 reviews
The internationally bestselling author of Paris and New York takes on an exhilarating new world with his trademark epic style in China: The Novel

Edward Rutherfurd has enthralled millions of readers with his grand, sweeping historical sagas that tell the history of a famous place over multiple generations. Now, in China: The Novel, Rutherfurd takes readers into the rich
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Hardcover, 764 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Doubleday Books (first published May 13th 2021)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Em Lost In Books
What an emotive and informative tale of China and its people in 18th Century. Constant attacks by British, the opium trade effect, internal strife in royal court are described in detail. And the characters through which all this was told were also well coined. For someone who don't know much about China's history, this was an enlightening and a satisfying journey. ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I anxiously awaited this new novel by one of the best current historical fiction authors, and while it did not disappoint me, it did not quite hit the 5***** book that I had hoped.
When dealing with China, we are talking about a country that has such a long history that Rutherfurd needed to find a memorable period upon which to focus. Here we begin with the run-up to the two Opium Wars and get as far as the Boxer Rebellion, while in between there is the Taiping Rebellion. It is an eventful perio
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Jenn
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author does not disappoint! Mr. Rutherford thank you so much for the enjoyment!!!!
Lou
May 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having enthralled millions of readers with his grand, sweeping historical sagas that tell the history of a famous place over multiple generations, Rutherfurd has excelled once again. Now, in China: The Novel, he takes readers into the rich and fascinating milieu of the Middle Kingdom. This seventy-year family saga starts in the nineteenth century, during the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria. Through the human stories of British, American and Chinese families, the novel tells the sweeping and dr ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
After having read, and immensely enjoyed many of Rutherfurd's other books, I am absolutely stoked to see what he will do with this novel, as I absolutely love his writing style and am eager to see how he illustrates Asian/Chinese history.

BRING IT ON.
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Steven Z.
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
For years I read the panoramic novels of James A. Michener. His multi-generational plots, historical knowledge, all-encompassing detail, and character development were very satisfying, and I always looked forward to his latest release. When he passed a void resulted in my reading agenda until I discovered Edward Rutherfurd. In 1987 I read Rutherfurd’s first novel, SARUM which immediately sparked my interest because of his approach to writing, history, lineage of different generations, and an ass ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘You must always remember that the emperor of China sits at the centre of the world, and he rules by the Mandate of Heaven.’

The novel opens in 1839, at the beginning of the First Opium War between the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty and the west and unfolds over the remainder of the Qing Dynasty, closing with mention of Dr Sun Yat-sen, General Yuan and Edmund Backhouse in the early twentieth century.

We follow the fortunes of members of different Chinese, British and American families over this period. I w
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Sally Kanan
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
have read several books by Edward Rutherfurd and liked all of them. This book, like the others, gives you a lesson in history but in fiction form. This book is a history of China from the Opium Wars up to and including the Boxer Uprising - a period of roughly 70 years. The author follows several fictitious families, both Chinese and British, throughout this period. It charts the ever changing relationships between both the people and the governments.

The more I read, the more I was drawn into th
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Mary Ann
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been waiting eight years for a new Rutherfurd! I have the hardcover to take it's place on the shelf with the first eight I've bought since 1987 as well as the Kindle edition so I can put it in my purse.

05/20/2021
Review to follow. I finished it in the wee hours of this morning and need to think about it.

05/23/2021
There is no question that Rutherfurd is a wonderful storyteller and thoroughly accurate and painstaking researcher of history. I certainly enjoyed this very much. Unlike his first
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Darien McCormack
Magnificent. Kept trying to read slower, to make it last longer. Trailed a little at the end, but was an extremely good read. To the standard of his first two books; Sarum and The New Forest.
Shay Byrne
Dec 17, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have read all Edward rutherfurd books still waiting for China the book what is holding this book up.james byrne
A Man Called Ove
Jun 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Set in 19th century China, this is the ideal historical fiction - lucid, detailed and engrossing. It picks off from the first Opium War and ends with the Boxer rebellion. On the way, we follow events intertwined around the lives of a few characters - Chinese and foreign. The author stays largely non-judgemental and the book is a fine example of “show not tell” and that too from multiple POVs. And unlike other Rutherfurd novels, there is a greater continuity as the time period covered is short.
Ch
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Peter Baran
I've not read any other Rutherfurd books, but have seen them like bricks in bookshops, 800 pages of research threaded through with some made up characters. This is a big book about China, in particular the China from the Opium Wars to Boxer Rebellion, and has a broad and large cast of people - Chinese and British - who interact with but don't significantly effect history. This is what happened, Rutherfurd is saying, and the lives and story woven through show us what it was like to live with that ...more
Jan
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful historical fiction of China from 1839 to 1901, Edward Rutherfurd's book is well researched, and the characters are an interesting mixture of players: from a eunuch in the court of the emperor, to an English opium trader; from a Chinese civil servant to an English missionary, and many more.

The book begins with the Opium War, which consisted of military engagements between England and the Qin Dynasty (often referred to as the Manchurian dynasty.) This was fascinating to me inasmuch as m
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Paula
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding
Randal White
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
I absolutely loved this book! Covering the period from the Opium Wars through the Boxer Rebellion, the author made me feel like I was there. A wide variety of richly developed characters allow the reader to experience the events from multiple perspectives. The author follows history closely, using a mix of actual and fictional people. Some of the characters you will love, some you will despise, but they all add to the story.
As with all of the author's books, this is a LONG book. Well over 800 p
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Randal White
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! Covering the period from the Opium Wars through the Boxer Rebellion, the author made me feel like I was there. A wide variety of richly developed characters allow the reader to experience the events from multiple perspectives. The author follows history closely, using a mix of actual and fictional people. Some of the characters you will love, some you will despise, but they all add to the story.
As with all of the author's books, this is a LONG book. Well over 800 p
...more
Laura Hill
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on May 11th, 2021.

Writing: 5/5 Plot: 5/5 Characters: 5/5

A sweeping novel of China from 1839 - 1900, from the Opium Wars through China’s Century of Humiliation to the suppression of the Boxer rebellion. It’s the story of the conflicts surrounding the forced opening of China to Western trade, customs, and religion. The story is told through a variety of
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J.R.
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Voltaire described history as a register of crimes and misfortunes.
As he's done with other places, Edward Rutherfurd skillfully records crimes and misfortunes which have contributed to making it the place it is today in his remarkable novel China.
Unlike some of his previous works which spanned thousands of years in the history of a particular place or country, this one covers a relatively short period of time. It traces the history of the country from the Opium Wars of 1839 to the revolution of
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Sarah Faichney
Jun 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Edward Rutherfurd's "China" is epic in every sense of the word. It's a brilliantly fictionalised account of the history and culture of the country. I particularly enjoyed the insight into rural and Palace life. Rutherfurd pulls no punches and effectively conveys the brutality of war. He also shines a light on how truly awful, self-serving and exploitative the British are. This is the first book I've read from this author and I look forward to reading more.  ...more
Lady Fancifull
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Consummate storytelling in place and time

I have read previous books by Rutherfurd, mainly those set in this country, around smaller locations, but over a much longer period of history – indeed even encompassing pre-history (London) This writer is a wonderful, in many ways, old fashioned teller of story – and I mean this without criticism. In telling history across millennia with necessarily a huge cast of characters the last thing to do is to overcomplicate with stylistic fol-de-rols, when plot
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Ellie
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I saw that this book, CHINA, by Edward Rutherfurd, was available on Netgalley, I was so excited. He is one of my top 5 authors! And this book did not disappoint! He has written about the most wonderfully developed characters, Trader, Laquer Nail, Empress Dowager Cixi! in a novel that includes foot binding!, The Opium Wars, The Taiping Rebellion, The Boxer Rebellion, the Forbidden City and so much more of Chinese history, all of it with the beautiful landscape of the country of China in the ...more
Helen
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this! It’s been a long time since Edward Rutherfurd’s last novel was published (Paris in 2013), but China is so good I think it’s definitely been worth the wait. It’s slightly different from his earlier novels – all of which I have read and enjoyed – because whereas those previous books follow the history of a country, city or region over a period of many centuries, this one covers a much shorter period, telling the story of China in the 19th century. At nearly 800 pages, that decision t ...more
Lora Milton
Jun 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've read several books by Edward Rutherfurd and always enjoy them immensely. He has a special talent for capturing the atmosphere of a culture and drawing the reader into that world.

China isn't as generational as the previous books I've read, though it does follow the progression of one generation. It focuses on the Victorian era opium trade, a period that particularly interests me, and goes on to depict the progression of China and its relationship with the rest of the world up to the end of t
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James Scheid
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the 6th Ruthefurd novel I have read (Sarum, London, New York, Paris and Russka are the others) and I really enjoyed this novel. The tone is different and the time period more concentrated than his other novels.( 1839- the early 1900's). I am less familiar with the history of China and thus this may be the reason I found this less compelling than the other novels. However there are parts of the book that were page turning because either the action is tense or just fascinating. One of the ...more
Jessica
I have to say I was disappointed in this book. Maybe I’d have liked it more if I hadn’t read any of his other books and my expectations were different. New York is in my top 10 favorite books. I wanted the whole story of China from the beginning of time. I like the interweaving of generations and stories. This is what I was looking forward to and anticipating and I was prepared to read about the same people over a 70ish year time period. Yes, I know it was dated. I don’t remember the exact time ...more
Alexander
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very different endeavour from his usual style, in that the book focuses on a single generation. If I had to criticise, I would say that Rutherfurd has a light hand when designing characters, which works well when they are only around for a chapter or two, but makes the characters here feel a little flat.
But who cares, this book was wonderful, full of insight and the meticulous historical work Rutherfurd is routinely admired for. He has a fantastic ability to be utterly even-handed, impressive
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Sarah Burton
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic story covering the period that the controversial Empress Dowager Cixi came to prominence in the royal chinese household and eventually unofficially ruled China, but this isn't just a story about the Empress. Edward Rutherford introduces us to many characters , western opium traders, ordinary chinese people, warriors, officials, eunochs and pirates. At the start of the book the different stories seem completely seperate but as the book progresses they are cleverly woven together, each cha ...more
Izaz Haque
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading it. the writer has a fluent, absorbing style that draws you in right away. I've never finished a 600+ page book faster. A great way to discover recent Chinese history. A bit forgiving of the "barbarian" forces, given everything they were trying to do in China, uninvited, of course - the opium trade, colonial trading agreements enforced with superior military technology, occupation and settling of territories, the untold numbers of fortune seekers and sheer looters, gentrified and ...more
Dr. Been
Jun 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I can't say I loved it, but yes, I liked it, since I found so many treats within. The historical account of Chinese emperors, the war, the ancient customs are very well depicted. But the book could have been a little precise. At times, I felt like losing the track of events and connection of one character to another.

Audiobook was good, but again, it was distracting due to longevity of chapters.
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Francis Edward Wintle, best known under his pen name Edward Rutherfurd, was born in the cathedral city of Salisbury. Educated locally, and at the universities of Cambridge, and Stanford, California, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983, and returned to his childhood h ...more

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