Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Contemporary China

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

Dragon Bones

by Lisa See

We include this novel because of the way it weaves ancient myths and the Chinese sense of history into a telling of timely contemporary events. The book is the latest in Lisa See’s series featuring her fascinating sleuth Liu Hulan, an inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security. In this story, Hulan must deal with enduring beliefs about Yu the Great, thought to be the first person to regulate the China’s rivers, and with problems surrounding China’s ambitious Three Gorges Dam project. Hulan’s haunting memories of her childhood during the Cultural Revolution and her uncertainties about her future with husband David, an American attorney working in China, serve as distractions as she investigates the murder of an American who worked at an archeological site next to the Yangzi. Surly peasants, bureaucratic obfuscation and corruption, the illegal selling of ancient artifacts, and the power of a semi-religious cult further add to Hulan’s troubles. There are nice descriptions of the Yangzi in full flood, and of the millennia-old labor of the peasants.

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