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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Token Tales and Fragments: Recalling a Time of Heroes and Sages is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy genre. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by Billy Ironcrane. The book is a collection of stories based on the folklore and history of the Han dynasty, collected and retold in a format that allows for a deeper exploration of the culture and history of ancient China. Through the heroes of the age who blurred the line between mythology and fact, this book seeks to deepen understanding of the era and the people who lived through it.
History is a rich well from which to draw inspiration for stories, with cultures around the world each giving birth to myths and legends based on the truth of their cultural history. Billy Ironcrane demonstrates both a keen eye for the stories on the cusp of being lost to time and enormous skill in reconstructing those stories. The collection serves as something of a selection of parables, each telling the tale of a hero faced with some task or trial that, whilst fantastical in nature, serves as a metaphor for one of the tasks or trials in modern life. Perhaps that is what stands out most amongst these stories; that Token Tales and Fragments takes tales from ancient Chinese folklore and restores their timelessness, presenting them to a modern audience for the same reason that oral storytellers of the past shared such tales – to pass along the lessons learned by our predecessors so that we will never stop needing to learn even 2,000 years later.