This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Stacie Haas for Readers' Favorite
The emperor and founder of the Ming Dynasty isn’t fond of the way his history is recalled on the Imperial Tomb Tablet, as The Lacquered Talisman by Laurie Dennis opens. It says nothing of the despair and misfortune that befell his family, nothing of how hot it was the summer his parents perished, nothing of what it was like to eat tree bark so he didn’t starve. And so, the emperor decided, the tablet should be destroyed and his history re-written by his own hand. Fortune, as he was then known, was the youngest son of a bean curd maker. A sickly baby, he survived only after his father promised him to the temple if Buddha spared him. He did survive and with only a pockmarked face as a lasting effect. The plague took most of his family away and put Fortune on a path to become a monk at Tiger Empress Temple and to be called Vessel. As Vessel, he studied the stars and the politics of the day, including uprisings against the Mongol rulers. When he finds himself at the top of a mountain with Daoists, Vessel finally learns of about the markings on his family talisman and asks the heavens for guidance about his future—and it isn’t as a monk. What comes next is a story for volume two.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Lacquered Talisman by Laurie Dennis. It was painstakingly researched and presented as a classic work of literary fiction with a beautifully flowing narrative. It is simply superb from beginning to end. Certainly, the history of Zhu Yuanzhang, emperor of the Ming Dynasty, is an interesting one to tell, but Laurie Dennis brought it to life. The writing is lyrical like poetry and accessible like a contemporary novel. I found it engrossing and dramatic against the backdrop of fourteenth-century China. What a wonderful peek into the prevailing culture and traditions of the Chinese people at the time. I greatly appreciated the historical notes at the end and the wonderful map. I highly recommend The Lacquered Talisman for lovers of history and historical fiction, and indeed, all lovers of great books. I cannot wait for volume two to read the rest of the story.