Dragon Bones: A Novel

Penguin Random House Audio

Narrated by Janet Song

10 hr 30 min
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When the body of an American archaeologist is found floating in the Yangzi River, Ministry of Public Security agent Liu Hulan and her husband, American attorney David Stark, are dispatched to Site 518 to investigate. As Hulan scrutinizes this death—or is it a murder?—David, on behalf of the National Relics Bureau, tries to discover who has stolen from the site an artifact that may prove to the world China’s claim that it is the oldest uninterrupted civilization on earth. This artifact is not only an object of great monetary value but one that is emblematic of the very soul of China. Everyone—from the Chinese government, to a religious cult, to an unscrupulous American art collector—wants this relic, and some, it seems, may be willing to kill to get it. At stake in this investigation is control of China’s history and national pride, and even stability between China and the United States.

The troubled Hulan must overcome her own fears of failure, while David tries desperately to break through the shell that has built up around his wife. As Hulan and David are enmeshed in international schemes for power and the turbulence of their own relationship, these hunters after the truth become the hunted—in a fast-driving narrative set against the backdrop of the building of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest and most expensive project China has undertaken since the Great Wall and the subject of great international debate. It is here, in the heart of the Three Gorges, that David and Hulan will battle their enemies and their own natures to see who will win China’s dragon bones.

Dragon Bones combines ancient myth with contemporary anxieties concerning religious fanaticism and terrorism to tell a story of love, betrayal, history, ecology, greed—and gory murder.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin Random House Audio
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Published on
Jul 13, 2010
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Duration
10h 30m 0s
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ISBN
9780307749802
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Flower Net, Lisa See gives us a China not often seen: An extraordinary nation that is at once admirable and frightening.

Here the veil is ripped away from modern China--its venerable culture, its teeming economy, its institutionalized cruelty--and the inextricable link between China's fortunes and America's  is underscored.

In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping's reign, the U.S. ambassador's son is found dead--his body entombed in a frozen lake.  Almost simultaneously, American officials find a ship adrift in the storm-churned waters off Southern California.  No one is surprised to find the fetid hold crammed with hundreds of undocumented Chinese immigrants--the latest cargo in the Chinese mafia's burgeoning smuggling trade.  What does surprise Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark is his discovery that among the hapless refugees lies the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China's political elite.

The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected, and in an unprecedented move they join forces to solve this cross-cultural crime.  Stark heads for Beijing to team up with police detective Liu Hulan, whose unorthodox methods are tolerated only because of her spectacular investigative abilities.  Their investigation carries them into virtually every corner of today's China, and leads them to Los Angeles's thriving Asian community--where their search turns up a bloodthirsty murderer at the apex of China's power structure.  Their work together also ignites their passion for each other--a passion forbidden by their respective governments, and one that plays right into the hands of a serial killer.



An accomplished stage actress, Elaina Davis performed in Hamlet, and in Richard II and Troilus & Cressida for the New York Shakespeare Festival.  She was a principal character on television's As The World Turns, and has appeared in the film Contact.


From the Cassette edition.
“See paints a fascinating portrait of a complex and enigmatic society, in which nothing is ever quite as it appears, and of the people, peasant and aristocrat alike, who are bound by its subtle strictures.”
–San Diego Union-Tribune

While David Stark is asked to open a law office in Beijing, his lover, detective Liu Hulan, receives an urgent message from an old friend imploring her to investigate the suspicious death of her daughter, who worked for a toy company about to be sold to David’s new client, Tartan Enterprises.

Despite David’s protests, Hulan goes undercover at the toy factory in the rural village of Da Shui, deep in the heart of China. It is a place that forces Hulan to face a past she has long been running from. Once there, rather than finding answers to the girl’s death, Hulan unearths more questions, all of which point to possible crimes committed by David’s client. Suddenly Hulan and David find themselves on opposing sides: One of them is trying to expose a company and unearth a killer, while the other is ethically bound to protect his client. As pressures mount and danger increases, Hulan and David uncover universal truths about good and evil, right and wrong–and the sometimes subtle lines that distinguish them.

“[See] illuminates tradition and change, Western and Eastern cultural differences. . . . All this in the middle of her thriller which is also about greed, corruption, abuse of the disadvantaged, the desperation of those on the bottom of the food chain, and love.”
–The Tennessean

“Sophisticated . . . graceful . . . See’s picture of contemporary China’s relationship with the United States is aptly played out through her characters.”
–Los Angeles Times

“Immediate, haunting and exquisitely rendered.”
–San Francisco Chronicle


From the Trade Paperback edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A gifted writer . . . explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience.”—USA Today

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, make impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are: Shanghai girls.

Praise for Shanghai Girls

“A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood.”–Booklist

“A rich work . . . as compulsively readable as it is an enlightening journey.”—Denver Post
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