Cover image for Eight skilled gentlemen
Title:
Eight skilled gentlemen
Author:
Hughart, Barry.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 1991.
General Note:
"A Master Li novel."

"A Foundation book."
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385417099

9780385417105
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The third book in the Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox series

When a resepcted mandarin is murdered in the heart of the Forbidden City, Master Li and his sidekick, Number Ten Ox, are called in to investigate. Thus begins a Sherlockian adventure that takes Master Li and Number Ten Ox--accompanied by a scarred puppeteer and his shamanka daughter--on a wild chase across China. With murder, mayhem, and magic aplenty, and Chinese folklore and literary references thrown into the mix, Eight Skilled Gentlemen is a hilarious romp through Ancient China.


Author Notes

Barry Hughart is a widely acclaimed writer whose first novel, Bridge of Birds , won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. The other novels in The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox series include The Story of the Stone and Eight Skilled Gentlemen .


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

"Number Ten Ox, the game's afoot!" No, this line isn't actually used in the third Master Li/Number Ten Ox adventure, but the link to Conan Doyle's pair of sleuths is undeniable. Set in Hughart's unique version of seventh- century China, where myth and reality have hazy boundaries, Li and Ox are on the trail of a murderous group of high-ranking officials conspiring to smuggle counterfeit tea. Ox, in first-person narrative, wryly chronicles the erratic course of the pair's investigation as it leads to encounters with a menagerie of mortal and supernatural characters. Combining fantasy and mystery genres may seem like trying to mix oil and water, but somehow Hughart gets away with it. The newest entry in this award-winning series will delight and entertain a wide range of readers. Highly recommended. ~--Elliot Swanson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Hughart's ( Bridge of Birds ) third novel is another gem, continuing the adventures of the aging sage Master Li and his youthful sidekick, Number Ten Ox, a delightful pair of ancient Chinese sleuths. When a respected mandarin is murdered by a ch'ih-mei , a vampire ghoul, in broad daylight, the Celestial Master, the most revered Taoist priest in the realm, gives his old friend Master Li the case. The Celestial Master himself, however, seems to be the main suspect after he reports the murder, which he claims was committed with a ball of fire by a man who was then transformed into a crane. Thus commences a wild adventure that takes Master Li and Number Ten Ox from the Forbidden City through backwoods villages and bandit-infested countryside to the sinister palace of Yen-men. There are ghosts, wizards, dog-brides, monsters, puppeteers, female shamans, magic birdcages and, of course, the Eight Skilled Gentlemen, mysterious hooded figures from the dawn of Chinese history who are in league with eight particularly nasty demon-deities. Superbly written and narrated in the humorously observant voice of Number Ten Ox, this is a book not to be missed. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

YA-- That honorable and learned scholar, Master Li, is back, along with his right-hand guy, Number Ten Ox; and the two of them are once again investigating the ineffable mysteries of ancient China. No amount of description can possibly capture the resolutely calm hilarity of this mad careen through Chinese mythology disguised as a detective story. Suffice it to say that Master Li has chosen to become involved in a mysterious incident of mass hypnosis, which has resulted in the reported appearance of a vampire ghoul. The rest of the plot proceeds at a breakneck pace, with breathing room provided by Number Ten Ox's outrageous commentary on the not-so-picturesque aspects of life in ancient China and Master Li's alternately philosophic and bold-faced pronouncements. This is a mystery story for those who don't read mysteries, a fantasy novel for people who don't read fantasy, and a good time for anyone. Expect requests for Hughart's other Master Li books if you purchase this one. --Cathy Chauvette, Fairfax County Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

"Number Ten Ox, the game's afoot!" No, this line isn't actually used in the third Master Li/Number Ten Ox adventure, but the link to Conan Doyle's pair of sleuths is undeniable. Set in Hughart's unique version of seventh- century China, where myth and reality have hazy boundaries, Li and Ox are on the trail of a murderous group of high-ranking officials conspiring to smuggle counterfeit tea. Ox, in first-person narrative, wryly chronicles the erratic course of the pair's investigation as it leads to encounters with a menagerie of mortal and supernatural characters. Combining fantasy and mystery genres may seem like trying to mix oil and water, but somehow Hughart gets away with it. The newest entry in this award-winning series will delight and entertain a wide range of readers. Highly recommended. ~--Elliot Swanson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Hughart's ( Bridge of Birds ) third novel is another gem, continuing the adventures of the aging sage Master Li and his youthful sidekick, Number Ten Ox, a delightful pair of ancient Chinese sleuths. When a respected mandarin is murdered by a ch'ih-mei , a vampire ghoul, in broad daylight, the Celestial Master, the most revered Taoist priest in the realm, gives his old friend Master Li the case. The Celestial Master himself, however, seems to be the main suspect after he reports the murder, which he claims was committed with a ball of fire by a man who was then transformed into a crane. Thus commences a wild adventure that takes Master Li and Number Ten Ox from the Forbidden City through backwoods villages and bandit-infested countryside to the sinister palace of Yen-men. There are ghosts, wizards, dog-brides, monsters, puppeteers, female shamans, magic birdcages and, of course, the Eight Skilled Gentlemen, mysterious hooded figures from the dawn of Chinese history who are in league with eight particularly nasty demon-deities. Superbly written and narrated in the humorously observant voice of Number Ten Ox, this is a book not to be missed. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

YA-- That honorable and learned scholar, Master Li, is back, along with his right-hand guy, Number Ten Ox; and the two of them are once again investigating the ineffable mysteries of ancient China. No amount of description can possibly capture the resolutely calm hilarity of this mad careen through Chinese mythology disguised as a detective story. Suffice it to say that Master Li has chosen to become involved in a mysterious incident of mass hypnosis, which has resulted in the reported appearance of a vampire ghoul. The rest of the plot proceeds at a breakneck pace, with breathing room provided by Number Ten Ox's outrageous commentary on the not-so-picturesque aspects of life in ancient China and Master Li's alternately philosophic and bold-faced pronouncements. This is a mystery story for those who don't read mysteries, a fantasy novel for people who don't read fantasy, and a good time for anyone. Expect requests for Hughart's other Master Li books if you purchase this one. --Cathy Chauvette, Fairfax County Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.