Crouching Dragon: The Journey of Zhuge Liang by T. P. M. Thorne

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FOREWORD

 

I first discovered the era of the Three Kingdoms (approx. 184AD - 280AD) roughly four years before I started writing this book. I was immediately fascinated by the layers of depth that could be found; as with all history, there is intrigue, deception, bloodshed, and all the other things that make us human, but the amount of folklore associated with this volatile time - and the mixing of that folklore with what little ‘fact’ is on offer from official state records - gives the era a sense of mysticism, humour and tragedy that can be revisited time and again, each time discovering new things that you did not see before.

There are many other characters in this turbulent period that can be explored in great depth - Cao Cao, Sima Yi, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, to name four - but none appealed to me more than a man associated with all of the things that embodied the time: political intrigue, military strategy, technical innovation, and seemingly divine fate. In some tales, Zhuge Liang - referred to in the narrative sections by his style name, Kongming - is a peerless mind, while in others, he is a magician; he is always shown as a standout figure, and his name still resonates today.

With hundreds of scholars, officials and generals taking part in proceedings, there are many ways to depict such a man’s life. There are several attempts to choose from - mostly works that tell the tale of the era as a whole or in part - and they all have their own appeal. I have tried to present as original a presentation as possible, partly by looking at figures and events that are usually ignored or downplayed, and mainly by drawing on history more than folktales, although there is still some artistic license for the sake of telling a balanced story. All I can hope is that this book inspires or entertains someone out there as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

 

T. P. M. Thorne, the author

PROLOGUE: A VISION AT MIANZHU

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Unless otherwise stated, all media & content © T. P. M. Thorne 2012.