The Dragon From Guangzhou


Fiction - Historical - Personage
270 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2021
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

It was the beginning of the nineteenth century and ruthless pirates ruled the seas surrounding China and South East Asia. Just as Europeans were trying to exert their naval and cultural power on the Chinese and others in the region, one group was determined to fight and defeat them. Perhaps the most notorious pirate of them all was, surprisingly, a woman, Mógū. In DW Plato’s The Dragon From Guangzhou, we track Mógū’s life from when she was given up by her mother to the orphanage nuns, through her sale to a brothel on the infamous “flower boats” until the notorious pirate, Zheng Yi, falls in love with her and kidnaps her to make her his bride. Discovering a life of unparalleled luxury as the wife of a famous and wealthy pirate, Mógū soon becomes bored with being a pampered lady and seeks to accompany her husband and their “adopted” son on raiding missions and battles against the accursed foreigners, not to mention the navy of the Imperial Chinese Empire. Based on what would later become the British island of Hong Kong, Zheng Yi and his pirates would strike fear into anyone who dared to cross their path all over the South China Sea.

The Dragon From Guangzhou was definitely one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. As a historical fiction fan, it was right in my wheelhouse. However, author DW Plato’s narrative and characters were what lifted this book out of the ordinary and into something special. There was great pleasure in watching a strong, independent female character rise to greatness and power at a time when females were dismissed, out of hand and especially daughters were shunned and unwanted by the intensely patriarchal society of the time. A highlight for me was the fascinating interaction between Mógū and her husband’s lover and adopted son, Po Tsai. A more complicated love triangle would have been difficult to imagine. I particularly enjoyed seeing the moral side of Mógū, despite her clear penchant for violence and readiness to fight. Like all good leaders, she put the needs of the men, women, and children of her protectorate before her own, more often than not. The writing is flowing and seamless with the action fast and furious, allowing me to complete the read essentially in one sitting – I never wanted to put it down! This book has everything lovers of battles, heroism, relationships, and history could ever want. When a book teaches me about a period in time and a culture I have not read of before, it succeeds in its mission. The Dragon From Guangzhou succeeds, big-time.

Jennifer Ibiam

Mógū had just finished her twelve-hour shift as a hooker on the flower boat when it was rocked with chaos. The next minute, she was kidnapped with a sack over her head. Mógū found herself in the magnificent home of her best client, Zheng Yi. He was the most notorious pirate at sea, and he proposed marriage to her. Would Mógū want to marry a man as unscrupulous as Zheng Yi? Mógū was a child, unwanted and abandoned by her mother, who was sold into prostitution. Zheng Yi was a powerful man who had her life in his hand. Follow Mógū as she took on everyone in a game of wit, will, and deceit in The Dragon from Guangzhou by DW Plato.

The Dragon from Guangzhou by DW Plato is a masterpiece that I can't get enough of. It will appeal to lovers of historical novels. I loved the plot because it was unique and unpredictably one of a kind! The development was superb as all the features were historically accurate. Plato did an awesome job with the character development, especially Mógū's. I was enthralled by her growth from an abandoned and unsure child into the formidable and ruthless, yet kind and protective matriarch that she became. It just goes to say that no one is a write-off. I enjoyed the suspense, intrigue, and sprinkle of humor, which helped ease the tension. The dialogues were also engaging and free-flowing, keeping me locked in. This book is epic movie-worthy material! I loved it.

Joanie Chevalier

The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a riveting story set in the early 1800s in South China. Mogu, a prostitute working on a floating brothel, was kidnapped and then forced to marry the infamous and successful pirate Zheng Yi. Although she resists at first, she comes to terms with her situation and eventually falls in love with Zheng Yi. Soon after, Mogu was determined that she’d be the greatest pirate in history to ever sail the South Seas. When she happens to meet her best friend from childhood who she thought was dead, she invites Chuntao to go back with her which allows Mogu to succeed in her pirate business as Chuntao takes care of the household and later, the children. Throughout the next several decades, Mogu proves her point by overtaking ships transporting goods, along with her husband and then after his death. She was ruthless in her missions, fighting fearlessly alongside her crew. Mogu rose from being a prostitute on a floating brothel to a ruthless leader, growing to love her kidnapper-husband, and having several children.

The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a fast-paced adventure story for those who love reading about the life of pirates. While The Dragon from Guangzhou is a story about pirate adventures, it also has moments of tenderness and includes a love story between husband and wife, a lifetime friendship, a mother’s love for her children, and humanitarian efforts on the part of Mogu towards her people. The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a must-read for those who love adventure with surprises along the way. Readers will eagerly turn the pages of this novel as exciting adventures unfold, and as Mogu lives her life to the fullest on the South Seas. After reading this exciting story, I wanted to learn more about that era.

Hayley Haun

Time to strap on your boots and eye-patch, folks; pirates are coming to town. We aren’t talking about the British East India Company chasing down a notorious Captain Jack (not to worry though, the Brits do tend to show up from time to time), but privateers from the eastern part of the world. The Dragon from Guangzhou by DW Plato showcases one woman’s leadership in commanding a fleet and providing for their families. Mógū, or mushroom, has lived and worked on the prostitute flower boats from a young age. When her regular client, Zheng Yi, kidnaps her from this life and proposes marriage as well as freedom, Mógū says yes. Mógū’s head for business and deal-making helps her to become part of her husband’s business, even as far as convincing him to allow her aboard the ships. At times, things tend to go south. Loss is inevitable in the piracy game. But one thing is for sure, life as a pirate is thrilling to the end.

DW Plato introduces a female character not entirely unknown to history. There is a Mulan vibe. She may not be saving China or hiding her identity, but she becomes a woman warrior fighting for her family. Who doesn’t like to see a character that defies social constructs? The Dragon from Guangzhou is fast-paced from the first to the last page. It flows and transitions well, especially when dates change throughout the story. Readers aren’t left wondering what happened, because Plato naturally fills in the storyline. Nothing is left out and the ending is satisfying.

Rabia Tanveer

The Dragon From Guangzhou by DW Plato is the story of a smart woman who was dealt a bad hand in life, but she decided to turn it around. Mógū was born down on her luck. She was left at the Buddhist temple when she was young where the nuns took care of her. However, the moment she reached puberty, she was on her own in the streets. Turning to prostitution was not the best option, but she didn’t have any other choice. When her favorite client, the pirate Zheng Yi, kidnapped her and made her his wife, she accepted her fate. Life on a pirate ship had its challenges, and Mógū was ready to make it work. She embraced life on the ship, and when the opportunity arrived, she took it to make the pirate ship her throne. Unapologetic, smart, and cunning, Mógū was ready to take what she wanted!

This novel was heavily based (with fictional liberties taken here and there) on the life of China’s most notorious yet highly successful female pirate called Ching Shih. Mógū was all business in the beginning. She thrived on the chaos around her and took her strength from the things happening on the ship. She was a great negotiator (something that surprised me), and she was not afraid of going after something she wanted. However, as the story progressed, she realized that her aspirations were bigger than the ocean and she could do so much better. The drama and the action in the story were phenomenal. It gave me the push to keep reading while Mógū’s progress made sure I was hooked to the story. DW Plato depicted Mógū exceptionally well. The author never hid Mógū's intentions from readers and showed what she was capable of from the very beginning. The situations were believable, the development was amazing, and the atmosphere was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better story to captivate me like this! The Dragon From Guangzhou is fantastic and entertaining.