Ancient China literally comes alive to expose buried treasures in this novel co-written by Ying Chang Compestine (Crouching Tiger, 2011, etc.) and her son, Vinson.
Under Maoist rule, Ming lives in a village with b? ba, his father, an archaeologist who works for the museum in Xi’an and who is on the verge of losing his job. When reward-seeking farmers bring Ming newly unearthed head and limb fragments fashioned from clay, Ming discovers the artifacts have much to reveal. The clay head begins to speak, claiming to be Shí, one of thousands of terra-cotta soldiers created to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin, the ruthless leader who built the Great Wall of China. As Shí tells Ming stories of his life in battle, they become fast friends. They embark on a mission to save the tomb from corrupt government officials and to save Ming’s father from being sent to harsh labor camps. Shí’s brutal war stories tend to overshadow aspects of Ming’s personal story, like Ming’s relationship with his father, but they are compelling nonetheless. Although Ming’s acceptance of a talking statue feels swift, their friendship is believable. They hail from different eras, but they share a common desire: to keep their parents safe.
Historical photos and Indiana Jones–style adventure enrich this tale of an unusual meeting between the Qin Dynasty and the 20th century. (glossary, authors’ note, recipe, authors Q&A) (Fantasy. 10-12)