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Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 3
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Past annual reads > July - September Chapters 51 - 75

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Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
Q3 Discussion


Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
1) How did you find this volume?
2) Are you looking forward to the final volume?
3) Favourite character/s?
4) Favourite scenes?
5) What is it with Black Whirlwind and why has nothing been done about him?
6) Amnesty good idea/bad idea?
7) Predictions for final volume?


Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
1) Boring, boring, boring and repetitive.
2) Yes and no, no because I expect more of the same and yes because it is the last one I will have to read LOL
3) Song Jiang he seems an honourable man caught in circumstances beyond his control.
4) The lantern festival and the chaos that follows.
5) I have no idea but someone needs to sort him out before he ruins everything again.
6) Amnesty with conditions was not fair I think a proper amnesty would be a good thing.
7) I suspect a real amnesty will eventually come about and the outlaws will assume responsible positions in society.


message 4: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1389 comments I love your answer to question #1
I have to confess I am not looking forward to picking up volume 3. I have enjoyed 1 and 2 while reading them but now it feels as if it will be just more of the same. However, we will see....


Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I love your answer to question #1
I have to confess I am not looking forward to picking up volume 3. I have enjoyed 1 and 2 while reading them but now it feels as if it will be just more of the sam..."


I am in no rush to get to volume 4 but I will have to force myself as I have it from the library....


message 6: by Dan (new)

Dan | 29 comments I too am on "Hold" after book 2, but ready to move ahead later in the year. I'll probably go back 5 chapters or so to remind me of what has been happening.

It is almost too easy to read


message 7: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1389 comments I had to travel this week and found the airport wait time perfect for tackling book 3.
It is very repetitive but also I almost got the feeling that the author was learning how to write. The descriptions have gotten more detailed and the characters are taking on more real personalities instead of the superpower comic book personality that they had in the beginning. One really comes to know Song Jiang and why he is always attempting to give the throne to someone else and why he wishes for amnesty. We see his temper, his courage, his loyalty and the fact that he gets depressed really easily. We see Wu Jong, over and over saving the day with his sensible advice and his command of military tactics. Li Kui, almost plays the role of the court jester in a Shakespeare play. He is consistently messing up in a murderous way and yet is forgiven again and again because Song views him as a brother. The early books are largely about individual battles with thieves or functionaries, but now the battles are huge and they involve a great deal of cunning not just "and they battled 40 rounds with no clear victor", although there is still plenty of that. I am beginning to see how the individual battles were a bit like ritualized jousting. One could prove ones bravery and determine the results while only jeopardizing one or two brave warriors per side. A clear winner could save 1000's of lives although with no winner, masses of people are involved.
It does become clearer how all the bureaucracy of the country could be seen as corrupt while the emperor could still be pure under heaven. It still is somewhat confusing how the gallant fraternity can be viewed as doing Heaven's work when they burn down whole towns of innocents. However, there is more and more mention of feeding the poor and making sure that some of the grain is left for the common people.
I agree that amnesty has to come under Song Jiang's conditions and not those of the government which is really not an amnesty at all, just a promise of no extreme punishment. Plus there is no reason to trust these officials. An amnesty today could be forgotten tomorrow.

Will Gail read book 4? Read our next chapter if you would know.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2042 comments 1) How did you find this volume?

A lot like the previous two, but I think it has become easier to identify the dominant characters to the story making it less complicated to read.

2) Are you looking forward to the final volume?

No, actually. It is mainly because I read this book before and I know what to expect. I liked this book a lot the first time I read it, but that was before I read the other three Chinese classics (that are all somewhat similar, in my opinion). The plot and action didn't seem nearly as tired as they do for me during this re-read. I will try hard to finish since I am 3/4 of the way in, but it is tempting to stop here since I have already read it.

3) Favourite character/s?

Definitely Song Jiang and Li Kui. Song Jiang is a very likable and noble character. Li Kui is a loose cannon and adds some comic relief to the story.

4) Favourite scenes?

Li Kui's antics at the Lantern festival and the wrestling match.

5) What is it with Black Whirlwind and why has nothing been done about him?

Li Kui (Black Whirlwind) is somewhat of a liability to the others due to his hot temper and impulsiveness. He infuriates Song Jiang to no end. I think he keeps getting spared because Song Jiang and many of the others feel a sense of obligation to him and view him as a brother. Despite his many flaws, he has been important to their cause and is ranked as a Heavenly Spirit. I am glad he hasn't been beheaded since he adds entertainment to the story.

6) Amnesty good idea/bad idea?

I think it is a good idea if the conditions are acceptable and fair to all involved. There seems to be a lot of corruption involved that might make it unfair.>/i>

7) Predictions for final volume?

I will decline from answering since I have already read this and know what happens.



message 9: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1410 comments 1. I was really stuck with the chapters in the early 50's, and would only read a short while before diverting to something more interesting. As the year's end loomed and it became more urgent to read this volume I stuck at it and found it a more interesting read. Towards the 70's the stories became more varied and I imagine that the writing became more vivid. I was particularly intrigued about whether the Imperial pardon would succeed.
2. I really am. I can see the end in sight and want to say I have read the whole thing.
3. Li Kui is everyone's favourite because he is such a character: completely ill disciplined, inclined to massacre the innocents when his temper is up and the reader is left wondering how many times the others decide to trust him to keep quiet when he never manages to achieve that goal. My other favourite was Hu Sannliang, Ten Feet of Steel, because she was female, but especially because that fact was not commented on, as though female warriors were unremarkable.
4. I found the battle scene when Zhang Qin was fighting for the local constabulary with his throwing of stones, hence his name The Featherless Arrow my favourite. He managed to knock off 15 of the outlaws without actually killing any, but it was a welcome change from all the earlier battles. I also noted that Ten Feet of Steel became in charge of Cavalry Liaisons among the Three Armies with Wang Ying, the Stumpy Tiger, although the other two women, Mistress Gu the Tigress and Sun Erniang the Witch had more traditional jobs of New-Arrival Welcoming.
5. I have already mentioned him. He is the type of chacter to add spice to a story and his foibles seem to be forgivable. In one scene he had already killed someone incidentally, a bandit called Han Bo-Long, but he said that he hadn't killed anyone yet because he hadn't reached his quarry. Blood lust extraordinaire!
6. There has been talk of an amnesty for quite a while, in fact one advisor lost his head because he suggested it to the Emperor, but it seems that it will be inevitable.
7. I predict many more battles where the outlaws win and the defeated suddenly are overcome by the magnanimity of Song Jiang's leadership and join the rebels in the marches. I predict more ordinary people will laud the way the outlaws conduct themselves despite the appalling amount of collateral damage. I predict that Li Kui, the Black Whirlwind will continue to create havoc and somehow remain in favour.


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