“Turmoil”: Battle for the Han Empire by T. P. M. Thorne

 

FOREWORD

 

“Turmoil” is a direct sequel to my earlier work, ‘“Yellow Sky” - Crisis for the Han Dynasty’, and my fourth foray into the era known as ‘Three Kingdoms’ (approx. 184AD - 280AD when including the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the decline of the Han that precedes it). I had not originally intended a sequel work, but as my first effort, ‘Crouching Dragon - The Journey of Zhuge Liang’, begins with the Battle of Guandu as an offstage crisis, I wanted to bridge “Yellow Sky” with it somehow. I initially hoped that my third work, ‘East of the River - Home of the Sun Clan’ would be that bridge, but that ended a full year before the Guandu crisis and left that important event without proper coverage.

The problem is that I did not intend any ‘series’ of any kind when I started out: this era is so fascinating and filled with great stories and anecdotes, however, that I am finding it difficult to know when and where to stop. This time, the book spans a much shorter time period of 5 years (the other works covered decades) but has a lot to cover. The years 195-200AD saw a lot of change and sees many of the most famous figures (Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Sun Ce and Lü Bu, to name but a few) at their peak. Some of the most famous stories - Lü Bu’s last stand, the Battle of Guandu, Guan Yu’s service under Cao Cao, and Sun Ce’s final years - occur during this time frame: only the latter is omitted. Why…? Well, unsurprisingly, including the many exploits of the Sun clan of Jiangdong in tandem with the rest is logistically impossible if I wanted to do them justice.

This work continues the long story of the Han Dynasty’s demise: I have once again opted to give time to lesser-known figures such as Zang Ba, Yufuluo and Zhang Yang. The book begins where “Yellow Sky” ended, with the Chang’an Regency ruling China: the end of that regency is the focus of Acts I-III. Acts IV-VII follow the new government’s attempts to rein in the various rebels, but the events of Act V lead to the warlord Yuan Shu finally declaring as an alternative emperor; the final acts (VII-IX) depict the last days of Yuan Shu, Gongsun Zan and the notorious Lü Bu along with the destined clash between Yuan Shao and Cao Cao.

Once again, I have tried to write as original a work as possible, partly by looking at figures and events that are usually ignored or downplayed, and mainly by drawing on history rather than folktales, although, as always, there are some instances of ‘artistic license’ for the sake of telling a story. And once again, 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

 

 

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