From the remnants of that wild, arduous and turbulent period, Williams has excavated a great romance. He has a special affinity with China; he understands it through his wife Hong Ying, and through a knowledge of Chinese history. The Emperor’s Bones has revealed a China we have never seen before, as well as a romance we have never read before.
Drawing on his own family stories, the author describes the domineering warlords, the White Russian cavalry, the Communists, the foreign missionaries, Japanese spies, and the nightly revelry in the International Settlement. A vivid and lifelike portrayal, readers will be instantly drawn in. It has been hailed as the female Dr Zhivago.
The Emperor’s Bones uses the mode of a detective story to depict this period of history. The novel draws you in as soon as it begins, showing the war, the sickness and the intense despair. It is a mystery, a thriller, a historical novel and a romantic saga, containing within its pages a long-lost culture.
Beijing Evening News
Williams gives flesh and blood to what were once simply cold statistics, breathing life into the period. It is a book that will leave an indelible mark on any reader. As William Lampsett’s remains, including his blood-spattered notebook, are delivered to Catherine’s embrace, that period finally comes alive for us again. We are just like the protagonists; we can feel the sorrow and the pain of those times.
Focuses on the savage era of 1920s China.
A spy novel, a historical novel and a romance, revealing the face of 1920s China.
Haixia Metropolitan News
Williams’ depiction of reform camps is one of the best there is.
Shanxi Evening News
This saga portrays a period of history that Chinese authors have never dipped into: the 1920s. The basis of the novel comes from the stories of China that Williams heard from his grandparents. The Emperor’s Bones is the second in Williams’ China Trilogy.
Yanzhao City News
An expert on China, Williams depicts that period of history through the eyes of foreigners in China. The Emperor’s Bones is also an epic family saga.
Shenzhen Evening News
Drawing in the reader straight away, it seems like a novel that would be well suited to an adaptation into a vibrant and thrilling film.
A foreign author’s take on the Republican era.
Beijing Youth Daily
Williams is fascinated by Chinese culture and history; he even has his own Chinese name. The Emperor’s Bones is second in his trilogy of Chinese historical novels.
Looking at the ten years of warlordism in China, from the Wuchang uprising in 1911 that overturned the Qing dynasty, to Chiang Kai-shek’s ‘united’ China of 1927, how can it be that China’s own authors are faced with this history, yet it was a foreign writer who wrote such a novel? What’s more, he wrote a novel that will pierce you to your core. Perhaps we should consider the China that emerges from foreigners’ writing as something of a warning to Chinese authors.
Banbijiang China Online
China in the 1920s holds much history that has already been forgotten – it is these periods that provide good material for an author. This is a period that Chinese authors have not yet looked at square in the face, but a foreign author, Adams Williams, has explored it.
Shandong Business News
Compared with the period of the Japanese invasion, or the even more legendary era of the 1930s, the period of Warlordism in China is one that is all but forgotten. This was the time in our history when countless crises were brewing, a time when many hot-blooded youths were exploring the ruthlessness of revolution, and were paying with their lives. China itself has no literary work exploring this era, nor do we have any film footage that captures the scenes of these times.
Although he is only covering a ten year period, I believe that the British author Adam Williams has poured much of his heart into this work.
The Emperor’s Bones is a novel of the history of the Chinese revolution, by a British author. By describing the era of the 1920s, it has filled a space in a way that no Chinese author has ever been able to do.
The Emperor’s Bones made me see a different China, a different kind of romance.
The academic Zhang Yiwu believes this is a novel about emotions. The novel takes the chaos, the turbulence, and the utter deprivation of China in the 1920s and finds the romance. Chen Xiaoming, professor at Peking University, believes that this novel demonstrates the difference between Chinese and Western writers’ creativity. He states: ‘Many Chinese authors rely simply on a kind of feeling to write novels. This book, on the other hand, demonstrates an artistry and creativity. Whether it is in the structure, the background, the plot, or relationship between the characters, all these elements are far more meticulously drawn, and stand up to close scrutiny.’
The product of several years of writing, a foreign author has produced an epic saga of China’s twentieth century history. What’s more, he has produced a work that will break your heart.
Yangtse Evening News
Once The Emperor’s Bones is published, we will forget about any other foreigners. We’ll only remember Adam Williams.
Changchun Evening News
A novel that has the feel of a great historical saga. Translated into 15 languages and a bestseller in Europe and America, it has recently been published in Mandarin, drawing the attention of the Chinese literary world.
Hong Ying’s British husband has written a new novel that allows more foreigners to better understand China.
Chongqing Morning Post
Adam Williams is the ‘Camel Cavalier’ of the controversial writer Hong Ying, who has taken China by storm. He has published an adventure novel of China, called The Emperor’s Bones. In the evening light of Venice he captured Hong Ying’s heart, and the two have since tied the knot. It is a story straight out of Gone with the Wind!
Hong Chen (bestselling travel writer)
Although Williams makes it clear that he wrote The Emperor’s Bones for a British audience, Chinese readers will also be able to appreciate this account of a chaotic period in modern Chinese history, through the eyes of an Englishman.
Beijing Youth Daily
In this novel we see a historical period of China through the eyes of a Westerner. A time of great turbulence has been restored to us. People living in the 1920s had no idea what China’s fate would be. They did not know the Communist Party would liberate the country, or that there would only be one political party afterwards. They did not know the dire straits that the country’s intellectuals would fall into, or that so many would flee. They did not know about Land Reform, the Anti-Rightist campaign, the Cultural Revolution, or that China would be closed off to the world and then open up again after many years. As more foreigners come to China, it is only for the business opportunities, not because of cultural ideals held in the last century.
Williams writes with impartiality, illustrating without any judgement the choices that those living in this era had to make in order to protect and liberate themselves. Every foreign character he creates is searching for something whilst living in this ancient nation, and all lose something; at the same time he demonstrate the level of control the Chinese had over their own country’s fate, and how far they were able to change it.
Hong Kong Economic Journal