THE LEGEND OF THE YELLOW RIVER by Somerset de Chair

THE LEGEND OF THE YELLOW RIVER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A buoyant, perambulating, amorous mock-Chinese adventure novel by a Britisher whose airy style sketches in historical detail (Han Dynasty) with unpedantic flavor. Wang-Lu, 19-year-old son of a fisherman, always lands on his feet--and when Emperor Wu Ti decides to make a concubine of Wang-Lu's exquisitely beautiful sister Lost-and-Found, Wang-Lu is invited to tag along; after all, he's a talented sculptor. But Wang-Lu gets separated from the Emperor's party during a storm--and he winds up at a Buddhist nunnery, where he becomes a happy, generous stud-in-residence. . . until he falls for lovely Li-Min and induces her to run off with him. They are taken in by a crew of fishermen with whom, alas, Li-Min lightly mingles and flowers (amorous activity here is always referred to with oriental delicacy); so Wang-Lu now falls for Peony, concubine of a marshal for whom Wang-Lu is sculpting a tomb statue. At last, however, the Emperor himself plucks Peony from Wang-Lu and assigns him the hopeless task of going on a vast expedition to Persia to bring back the ""blood-sweating"" horses of Alexander the Great, so that the Emperor can breed swift, huge steeds for repelling the Huns. Wang-Lu follows the Yellow River (Hwang Ho) for thousands of miles into Tibet--where it is revealed by monks that his sister's son by the Emperor is the next Dalai Lama. . . . Mountain horrors, desert disasters, playful eroticism, and philosophies of the East--a light, bouncy little entertainment for fanciers of the Orient.

Pub Date: June 6th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's