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Wow I really enjoyed this book It took me about a week to read even though I had not had lots of reading time available at the time This book is a little well, quite massive It made it harder to get it started since the size was so daunting And honestly, the first chapter is dull However, by Chapter 2 I was interested.This is quite the romance action adventure historical fiction novel I would say of all the historical fiction I have ever read, I liked this one best The writing is wel Wow I really enjoyed this book It took me about a week to read even though I had not had lots of reading time available at the time This book is a little well, quite massive It made it harder to get it started since the size was so daunting And honestly, the first chapter is dull However, by Chapter 2 I was interested.This is quite the romance action adventure historical fiction novel I would say of all the historical fiction I have ever read, I liked this one best The writing is well done There is a rolling, meandering way to it The bit with letters broke up the writing I see why he included it for story telling and also because he wanted to borrow from his friend s family, but I think it should have been written another way Or letters should have been included from the beginning One of my favourite books Oh what a monumental book If you re finding it hard to get into why not jump about 100 pages in and start from there oh how dare i say it but hey just do it it is a bit slow to start, and the beginning pages makesense when read in hindsight meanwhile GOSH Adam has nothing against being bloodthirsty if you think the sweet and innocent will get away with it think again It s a massive book with huge scope covering not just a historical adventure and raunchy romance, but also themes Oh what a monumental book If you re finding it hard to get into why not jump about 100 pages in and start from there oh how dare i say it but hey just do it it is a bit slow to start, and the beginning pages makesense when read in hindsight meanwhile GOSH Adam has nothing against being bloodthirsty if you think the sweet and innocent will get away with it think again It s a massive book with huge scope covering not just a historical adventure and raunchy romance, but also themes like ethics, values, religion and how they change or don t according to our circumstances And the cross cultural divide of Brits abroad is a theme I will never tire of, and in this book it is tackled brilliantly Can t wait to start the others in the series.Once I got into it which took a good while I have to say I read the remaining 600 odd pages in about 2 days and got nothing else done I learned a lot about the Boxer Rebellion from this book very interesting cast of characters too. WHOA I mean, before getting into this book you realize it s meant to be a very dramatic historical fiction account, a romance of epic proportions But Williams took it far.NO ONE is safe, very Game of Thrones esque in its gore, violence, blood, sex, no details spared It can be hard to read at times, in the way that you re cringing and or crying and want to throw the book across the room BUT.YOU.JUST.CAN T.PUT.IT.DOWN.Overall, besides those previous details, I loved it It s an epic story th WHOA I mean, before getting into this book you realize it s meant to be a very dramatic historical fiction account, a romance of epic proportions But Williams took it far.NO ONE is safe, very Game of Thrones esque in its gore, violence, blood, sex, no details spared It can be hard to read at times, in the way that you re cringing and or crying and want to throw the book across the room BUT.YOU.JUST.CAN T.PUT.IT.DOWN.Overall, besides those previous details, I loved it It s an epic story that jumps from one catastrophe and character to the next, in the exotic location of the imaginary Shishan town of northeast China It s a little slow going to start but once you get into it, you ll probably finish the 600 odd pages in a day and it will disrupt your schedule and peace of mind completely The characters are BRILLIANT, favorite part of the writing Each of the many with their own arc and journey throughout the story, and the book jumps from one perspective to another without it seeming confusing except at the beginning I have to admit some things are a little cheesy and over the top in the plot, and some characters are too evil for no reasonbut most of the characters are shown in an interesting light that reveals the flaws and moral failings of even the most good characters In that way, there aren t any truly good or bad characters, which makes the story realistic despite taking place in a fictional town and the occasional mumbo jumbo like who the hell is actually the blind priest Was he necessary except to add drama and suspense Adam Williams has very intimate knowledge about China and Chinese people, and it was really interesting to hear that his own family s history in China was part of his inspiration to write the novel I learned a lot about this crazy time in Chinese history terrifying, being a foreigner in China myself while becoming completely immersed and emotionally attached to all the characters It s great how his story, although focused on a group of foreigners, seeks to describe what drove the peasants of northern china to develop such radical thinking and revolt in the way they did.If you re not squeamish would definitely recommend IMHO Williams was very good at Chinese characterization which makes sense seeing how long he has lived there plus the fact he has a Chinese wife.For the history I had never even heard of the Boxer Revolution , the portrayal of Chinese culture, the seemingly accurate portrayal of life in the early 1900s all 4 stars I particularly liked how there was a deeper side to the Mandrin and all the different layers of all the Chinese characters Very dead on Truly well done.I am not a blood and gu IMHO Williams was very good at Chinese characterization which makes sense seeing how long he has lived there plus the fact he has a Chinese wife.For the history I had never even heard of the Boxer Revolution , the portrayal of Chinese culture, the seemingly accurate portrayal of life in the early 1900s all 4 stars I particularly liked how there was a deeper side to the Mandrin and all the different layers of all the Chinese characters Very dead on Truly well done.I am not a blood and guts girl, though I can stomach it when appropriate as it was here , but, even knowing my own proclivities, they were still breached Too much As several have mentioned, the darker side of whore dom and man s nature took upwords than I ever care to read again The mob murders of foreigners were brutal, vicious, and described in excruciating detail though I can see the reason for that, a little less eye witness sensation would have suited me better I can only assume on the murders that Williams did not want to hide the horrifying truth And he succeeded Man as base, worse than any animal could ever be It was sickening As it was sickening in real life So I don t fault Williams his descriptions He was as gut wrenching as television news coverage Just not sure of any benefit from having read how horrible it was.As for the brothel scenes again, entirely plausible, no doubt accurate, sadly But also again, why eye witness the trauma Dark literature I don t see it s purpose Allusion suits me better and Ithan get the gist Although I will admit, If you are wanting to create revulsion in an effort to keep such behavior from ever rising again, this is an effective way to do it My argument against that sentiment is I don t think you ever will horror continues to exist I don t see the point in muddying my own sensibilities when no change for the good will come of it.In regard to the Brits, for all the complexities, there was a one dimensionality to all the British characters This was particularly acute in the case of Henry and Helen Francis HF Tom s character pulled through in the end, and the doctor and his wife were passable, but there was a disjointedness to Manners and HF that never jived They were ghosts of themselves, lived too much in their minds, had no true connection to either themselves or others Consequently their characters the MAIN characters never drew me in In some books I want to shake a character I didn t even want that I basically wanted to put them on the shelf But the other aspects of the story held me Even so, I skimmed from Mongolia to the end I didn t miss much, as those parts werecharacter driven and I don t think that is where Williams shows his spark Picking up this book I had high expectations Adam Williams does not only have a background in business, but his family also has a history that is deeply entwined with China since the 1880ths That he is on top married to one of my favorite Chinese literates did not lower my anticipation either.In my most optimistic expectations, I hoped for a read in the ballpark of James Clavell s Taipan saga.I think Adam Williams had similar ambitions with this book, he definitely aimed at creating an epic T Picking up this book I had high expectations Adam Williams does not only have a background in business, but his family also has a history that is deeply entwined with China since the 1880ths That he is on top married to one of my favorite Chinese literates did not lower my anticipation either.In my most optimistic expectations, I hoped for a read in the ballpark of James Clavell s Taipan saga.I think Adam Williams had similar ambitions with this book, he definitely aimed at creating an epic The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure is not a terrible read, else I would not have made it through the 640 pages The overall plot is not bad despite the rather anticlimactic end and the period of the Boxer Uprising makes for a fascinating backdrop for an adventure epic What I take issue with, though, is the stereotypical character design that borderlines to racism and the totally unnecessarily detailed display of sexual and physical violence The character s, especially the Chinese ones, could have definitely benefited from a bitgenerosity With the exception of a few Christian convertites, the Chinese characters in the book are pretty uniformly nasty And some of the sex scenes in The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure read as if they are taken straight out of Marquis de Sade s Justine, which not necessarily has to be a bad thing in itself, it s just not terribly helpful to the story At the end stands a two star rating, as the ambitious book, in my opinion, just as too many flaws to be anywhere near the classics of the genre English review below Ik heb van dit boek genoten Het was heel spannend, en dit was zeker een geval waarin dingen eerst slecht heel erg slecht moeten worden voordat ze weer beter worden De tijdsperiode en locatie waren erg interessant, en ik vond de meeste personages goed Het duurde tot zo n beetje het einde van het boek voordat ik Henry Manners mocht, maar Helen Frances heb ik het hele boek een hekel aan gehad, doordat ze zo weinig zelfbeheersing had Het duidelijk beschreven seksuele g English review below Ik heb van dit boek genoten Het was heel spannend, en dit was zeker een geval waarin dingen eerst slecht heel erg slecht moeten worden voordat ze weer beter worden De tijdsperiode en locatie waren erg interessant, en ik vond de meeste personages goed Het duurde tot zo n beetje het einde van het boek voordat ik Henry Manners mocht, maar Helen Frances heb ik het hele boek een hekel aan gehad, doordat ze zo weinig zelfbeheersing had Het duidelijk beschreven seksuele geweld was schokkend en ik vond het te veel, maar ik vind het knap hoe de auteur het in zich heeft geliefde personages te doden Ondanks dat het meer dan 600 pagina s zijn, zorgde het spannende plot met hartverscheurende wendingen dat ik het snel uit had Alles bij elkaar was dit een plezierig, spannend boek over een erg interessante tijd in de Chinese geschiedenis I enjoyed this book It was very exciting, and this was definitely a case in which things had to get worse a lot worse before they got better The time period and location were very interesting, and I enjoyed most of the characters Henry Manners grew on me, but I disliked Helen Frances because of her lack of self control The graphic sexual violence threw me off and I felt it was too much, though I do like how the author was not afraid to kill off beloved characters Despite that s over 600 pages, the exciting plot with its heart wrenching twists and turns made me finish it quickly All in all, an enjoyable, exciting read about a very interesting time in Chinese history My friend and I found this book in the big BookOff store in Shibuya and the title made me laugh, but when I saw that it was the name of a brothel, I had to have it It was 200 yen only So, it turned out to be as cheesy as we expected, but it wasn t bad, it held my attention forthan 600 pages It s a historical romance which takes place in a fictitious town of Shishan in 1899, during the Boxer Rebellion The author was born in China in a missionary family, so he knows his stuff, and his s My friend and I found this book in the big BookOff store in Shibuya and the title made me laugh, but when I saw that it was the name of a brothel, I had to have it It was 200 yen only So, it turned out to be as cheesy as we expected, but it wasn t bad, it held my attention forthan 600 pages It s a historical romance which takes place in a fictitious town of Shishan in 1899, during the Boxer Rebellion The author was born in China in a missionary family, so he knows his stuff, and his sympathy towards the culture and people is obvious BUT, the characters are painfully stereotypical a beautiful and passionate middle class girl, her lover the dashing spy, her boorish and naive fiance, a bunch of altruistic missionaries, a cruel brothel madam and her psychopathic son, a prostitute with heart of gold, an evil Japanese officer, a wise Chinese mandarin, a wiser still Mongolian shepherd They all resemble marionettes taken out of a dusty box which has the letters Oriental drama on it some of them must have been used by Clavell half a century ago.The only interesting people are the crazy, fanatical Millward family especially their eldest son Hiram and Major Lin who has a shameful secret to hide BUT the author has a penchant for distorting his characters, both minor and major, and making them act against their nature and their initial motivations When I read what ultimately happened to Hiram after the rebellion broke out in Shishan, I kind of lost half of my interest in the story, but read on for Major Lin then as his character got assassinated as well in a writerly way I mean , I finished the book just because I didn t have much left I didn t care about Helen Frances and her lover they were just unrealistic, and the good doctor Airton, well, he was so stupid and whiny I just hoped to see him killed, but alas, the idiot lived to the last page.As to the brothel, this was the most ridiculous thing of all The madam who was supposed to be so cunning, together with her son kept torturing the girls and boys randomly Why What for What do they gain out of this How is it good for business How does it affect the atmosphere Does it make the prostitutes work harder Does it contribute to their skill, effectiveness, or the satisfaction of customers I have this dim suspicion that it s got something to do with the author s personal preferences, and that he enjoys writing about sexual sadism, and that s all there is to it Now don t get me wrong, I think it s totally okay to fantasize about this stuff, or any stuff, that s what imagination is for but when it comes to putting one s fantasies on paper, it should be done in a plausible, believable, reasonable way Why Because the book is for the reader first, and for the author second The author must seduce the reader, not only pleasure himself ^Download Kindle ⇚ The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure ☘ Northern China,As the Boxer Rebellion erupts, a cast of innocents, fanatics, sinners, and lovers are drawn to the Palace of Heavenly Pleasure an infamous brothel that overlooks an execution ground where the fury of the East will meet the ideals of the West and all will face their destiny Adam Williams s first novel is a historical tour de force and a triumphant return to traditional storytelling on a truly grand scale