Bob’s Pick: The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice by Fred Yu
Sorry, no helpful tips on growing orchids are in this book. Think more about Ancient China, presumably about the third century A.D.. This period of time is often referred as the time of the three kingdoms and five “tiger” generals. It was a very tumultuous time in Chinese history and it is referred to often in Chinese history and literature. The book, “The Art of War” had already been written by the Chinese general named Sun Tsu and his principles on the strategy of warfare were readily adapted and applied by the Chinese military.
This book is about the son of a “fictitious” tiger general. The son’s name was Mu Feng (it is customary in China to use last names first, followed by first names). He was a very learned young man, who himself was preparing to become a general in his father’s army. He is very adept and quite familiar with the works of Sun Tsu. He demonstrates his skill throughout the book.
To begin the story, the son, father, family, friends, and their whole territory of the Chinese Uighur Border region come under surprise attack by another tiger general named Zheng. In the process, the son escapes but loses his sister and all his friends. Because he has a birthmark resembling a “Red Crest”, he is hunted by Zheng and others as there is a foreboding prophecy related to the Red Crest’s possessor.
He is captured by a gang of criminals known as the “Venom” sect. They have this name because they are skilled at making and using various poisons to defeat their enemies. They are led by a beautiful woman known as the “Red Scorpion”. Her real name is Ming and she is more talented with a whip than Indiana Jones. Feng is dazzled by her and falls in love.
The progress of the story in this book is very fast paced, about as fast paced as a graphic novel. Mu Feng starts as an apprentice to several of the main characters and in the process, he himself becomes a master practitioner of their skill sets. He is unintentionally being groomed to become what his enemies most fear, the bearer of the “Red Crest”.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book! This book is the first of a forthcoming trilogy. The ending of this first book is very suspenseful and makes one excited and impatient to read the next installment. It reminded me of a cross between many of the older Chinese martial arts movies and the newer action hero type movies. It gets the adrenalin pumping and is a real page turner. Wouldn’t be surprised if this book someday did make it to the big screen!