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The Balance of Heaven and Earth

(Magistrate Zhu Mysteries #1)

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  19 reviews
I have been unable to write a judgement that does not seem to offend my conscience, or indeed Heaven, in some manner. Because I do not wish to influence your thinking unduly, I have destroyed all my personal papers and notes in regard to this dispute, preferring you to start afresh. Forgive me for this. All I ask is that you consider and examine Jade Moon most carefully be ...more
Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published September 30th 2018 by Shikra Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  17 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Fizah(Books tales by me)
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
Actual Rating 3.25
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is not the genre which I usually read, but as this year I am trying to read the diverse book so I decided to give it a chance. I got this book in January and finally, after two months of delaying it, I found myself in the right mood to read it.

It is a Chinese mystery of a village, where after the arrival of new magistrate things started to change. If I talk about writing, when I started this book I
...more
Nargis  Kalani
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finally, I found the time to review this book.

This book amazed me, literally. At, first I was so scared that I will be disappointed by it because I found it so boring in the beginning when I started reading it. I kept reading as I cannot leave a book unread. The book proved me so wrong. I have never read a story based in china and this book is a historical fiction/mystery containing depiction of Chinese culture, law and justice system. Mr. Laurence amalgamated all of this within the story in suc
...more
❤ Bibi ❤
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: author-copy
Usually I only read about ancient times, when its mythology related. But when Laurence Westwood contacted me and offered to send me a physical copy of his book, I thought why not give his ancient history crime fighting book a go. After all I did get really into CSI a few years ago - and I do enjoy a game of Cluedo, so who's to say I wouldn't get into crime fighting in ancient China? And the blurb, oh the seductive minx, lured me right in, and brought me to Tranquil Mountain - a town in China, in ...more
Noriko
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read many books set in Asian countries let alone stories set in ancient China despite being an Asian myself; I didn’t know what to expect from this book to be honest.
Much to my delight, I quite enjoyed this atmospheric, somewhat mystic story - the first book in the Magistrate Zhu Mystery, which centered on a young, competent Magistrate and an equally mysterious young girl, Jade Moon.

The story begins with a new Magistrate arriving in a small town called Tranquil Mountain followed by a
...more
Kat // Novels & Waffles
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh
I received an E-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

2.5 Stars. I am suffering from a serious case of “right book, wrong reader” syndrome right now, because in all honesty, this book was good, but just not for me.

Think of The Balance of Heaven and Earth as CSI: Ancient China. Magistrates and constables replace private detectives and policemen; the result is something similar to the tried-and-true formula of your standard TV crime show. There’s a seemingly unsolva
...more
Jessie Stevens
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
One might classify this book as an Ancient Chinese murder mystery, complete with a mysterious love interest, and, technically, it is.

Because the story does take place in ancient China (as in the year 1085 ancient) set in a remote border town of China near where the "barbarians" are still causing trouble.  And indeed the finding of a murderer is central to the plot line. And there is a handsome female of certain interest. However in reading it I would say it was much more about the new town's ma
...more
Xerxes
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is the reason I want to see big publishers such as Harpercollins, Canelo, Angry Robot, Orbit do more settings in China, be it historical, or sci-fi, or alternate history. Or more historical fiction. Here I am, as a reader that wants to see more locations in historical fiction, thinking of a novel being written about maybe the Han Dynasty. And here comes this novel based on the Song Dynasty.

This novel has a simplistic plot and I prefer it that way. Most Traditional Chinese stories are
...more
Jess Combs
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I begin???

I had no idea what to expect when I began reading this book. I know little about the time period in China during which The Balance of Heaven and Earth takes place, but part of what I LOVE about historical fiction is getting to learn about different places and times through fictionalized accounts of the past.

There was so much that I loved about this book, but the characters are what really pulled me in and had me both laughing and crying! Even the names of people and places mad
...more
Ronnie
This review was originally posted on my blog, Paradise Found.

This book became an innocent victim of my reading slump I'm afraid; it took me ages to read it, but let me tell you, it wasn't the book's fault at all *points at herself*. The Balance of Heaven and Earth is a historical small town mystery/crime novel well worthy of praise, so let me do just that.

This novel is unlike anything I've read before, mainly because I'm not very familiar with Chinese history, but I'm always happy to learn somet
...more
Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)
In 11th Century China, Tranquil Mountain has recently experienced the death of their Magistrate and have been waiting sometime for a new one to arrive. Magistrate Zhu arrives but within days there is a murder; an unsolved local dispute and then a kidnapping! As well as all of this, Magistrate Zhu has to get used to his band of constables…..questionably recruited by his predecessor and the unusual practices that happen in the town. As well as the towns very strange obsession with tea!

Jade Moon is
...more
KarenJo Custodio
I’ve been trying to be more open-minded about reading more books outside my comfort zone, so when the author contacted me and offered a copy of this book, I decided that this could be a fun and interesting story. I’ve actually been liking many mystery books in the past year and I love reading diverse books. And, being ¼ Chinese, I was curious to see what this book would be about. Oh and the cover looked amazing too! Well, I can’t say I loved The Balance of Heaven and Earth: A Magistrate Zhu Myst ...more
Laurie Dennis
A page-turner set in China's Song Dynasty (960-1279), this book is written in the traditional style of Chinese mysteries. That means the local magistrate is the all-powerful detective and judge, and he gets to juggle more than one crime at once. What is different here is that the constables are not dashing heroes (as is the case in, for example, the Judge Dee series)- instead they are badly dressed and inexperienced. But this just adds an enjoyable element of comedy.
The book begins with Magistr
...more
Helen Ward
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always loved historical mysteries, and am so happy to add this fantastic book to my list of favourites! The author has created a very special world here; Tranquil Mountain is a place that is wonderfully brought to life, and the people are full of both poignancy and humour. The style of writing is gentle and charming and perfect for re-creating a time that may seem lost in the mists...You will really feel the author’s love for China and its – to many of us ‒ mostly unknown history. But this ...more
Jocelyn Chatterton
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a most enjoyable read with a superb cast of supporting characters - for example - The Fast and Slow Dengs, Handsome Chen, Peach and Pearl, Tea Merchant Wen and Scary Face Fu and that is without mentioning our heroine Jade Moon and our male protagonist Magistrate Zhu. After years of reading academic scripts and serious literature on China this was a most refreshing read. I really enjoyed it. It is not often that I read a book and smile almost all the way through. I couldn't help it, ther ...more
Jenny Hutton
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from start to finish and really didn't want it to end, which is good as it makes me eager for the next book. The Author has managed to capture such a variety of emotions...feeling upset and protective for some of the characters and at the same feeling that justice is not served to others. The historic content is amazing...leaving you feeling amazed at what actually took place all those years ago in ancient China and the painful experiences some of the people suffered. I loved a ...more
Stephanie
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Balance of Heaven and Earth introduces us to Magistrate Zhu who is newly arrived at a remote border town named Tranquil Mountain to take over from the previous Magistrate.

As soon as Zhu arrives, he barely has time to adjust to his new surrounding when there is a mysterious murder, bandits, a kidnapping and even rumours of ghostly hauntings. On top of all that, he has to deal with Jade Moon, the local heroine.

One thing that really caught my attention as I started to get into this story is the
...more
Zoe
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am not sure where to begin. This book is beautifully written, I could tell instantly that the author was passionate about Chinese culture, and had done hours upon hours of research.

Sadly for me this wasn’t really a topic I was interested in, I think I agree with a reviewer who said “great book, wrong reviewer.” If you are after a mystery set in the heart of China, with detailed character development. Then I highly recommend this book!
Hina Tabassum Khatri
This book is just not for me.
Jéssica
[Review to come in 2019.]
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After a (probably ill-advised) degree in Theoretical Physics, Laurence commenced upon a varied career in law enforcement and information security consultancy.

He regularly lectures at the University of Warwick on computer law and IP enforcement.

He has had a long-standing fascination with the political, military, social and legal history of China.

He lives just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon, Englan
...more

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