Trim Size 6x9
List Price $26
Published December 2013
Sixteen centuries ago, the last chieftain of the Xiongnu sought to unite China by force. In Tongwan City, the warlord Helian Bobo orders that an impregnable city be built. This city will be the capital of an empire that unites China. Tongwancheng (unite all nations), or Tongwan City, would be built with thick outer walls made with white clay and powdered rice, giving the city the appearance of a giant ship. Helian stops at nothing to build his city and his empire, drafting 100,000 Xiongnu. Will Helian Bobo's Tongwancheng unite China under one ruler?
Meanwhile, another great man is quietly laying the groundwork for a nation. Kumarajiva is brought to the Chinese court to begin teaching the precepts of Buddhism. He embarks on a career of teaching, and of translating the basic sutras into Chinese. As his influence begins to spread and his fame grows, the seeds of a unified China are sown.
Twenty years ago, Gao Jianqun’s bestselling novel The Last Hun popularized ancient Chinese legend and renewed interest in early Chinese history and culture. In Tongwan City, Gao relates an epic saga of murder and compassion in the grassland kingdom of the ancient Chinese frontier, while telling a parallel story of knowledge blooming in the center of Chinese life. Gao weaves into this tale seminal themes of Chinese history and culture: the connection between the warlike Xiongnu and their cousins the Huns. And he tells of the Great Wall that was built to separate the Xiongnu from the Han Chinese, and the philosophy that ultimately united them.
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"One of the best books on Chinese history in decades."—San Francisco Book Review
"Readers interested in Chinese history and the Hun cavaliers can learn more about the turbulent 4th and 5th centuries in an English version of a Chinese novel to be published in November. Gao Jianqun, an author based in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, has made an impressive attempt to capture a long neglected part of history in his latest novel Tongwan City. The book features two legendary figures: Helian Bobo, last chieftain of the southern Xiongnu tribe, and Kumarajiva, a Buddhist master whose teaching and translation helped lay the foundation of the Mahayana School of Buddhism in China."—China Daily
"An exciting entryway into the complex and relatively obscure history of ancient China."—Publishers Weekly
"Helian Bobo’s story is a pretty gripping one: the young boy who is the lone survivor when his hometown is attacked and his close family-members all killed; the girl he meets while escaping (yes, there’s fairy-tale romance, too — though in her case, with a nice twist); his narrow escape from death at the hands of the relative he hopes will save him — and then his quick, impressive (and often cruel) rise to power."—Complete Review
About the Author:
Gao Jianqun was born in 1954, in Xi’an City in Western China. One of China’s finest novelists, he is the deputy chair of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. Gao has published more than ten books in China. His novelThe Last Xiongnu was a sensation in China, selling over one million copies. In 2011, The Last Xiongnu was adapted for Chinese television. In China he has been called the ‘last knight’ for defending romantic literature. Gao has announced that Tongwan City will be his last novel. To read an excerpt fromTongwan City, click here.