Three Kingdoms


James and everyone else:

If you are looking for Genesis content, please ignore this e-mail all together.  I promise my next post will be about our favorite band.  I am sorry but I can not pass up the opportunity to recommend a literary masterpiece to all you bright Paperlaters.  I know not how to stop every time I get started about this monumental achievement in Chinese literature.  If you haven't read Three Kingdoms, you are missing out on a majestic piece of work.  You can buy the best translated unabridged version on, unfortunately it is a little expensive ($40+!).  For those of you who are interested, I have found an online version at  The quality of translation is definitely inferior, but it is free.  Besides, no translation can ever hope to capture the beauty of the Chinese original in whole anyway.

I don't want to do a long review of the book, there are plenty of good ones at  I just want to say if you decide to read it, remember your patience will be handsomely rewarded.  This is an extremely well-read and influential historic novel written by the 14th century scholar Luo Guanzhong.  It is several thousand pages(!!) long and involves literally hundreds of characters.  The names of the characters could be very difficult to keep track of (most of them have two names which is common in ancient times).  However, the book is never boring.  Whether you are looking for thrills or military strategy or Eastern philosophy, you will find it all here. 

As a preview for the curious among you, this is the opening poem for the book (albeit a little awkward in translation):

O so vast, O so mighty,
The Great River rolls to sea,
Flowers do waves thrash,
Heroes do sands smash,
When all the dreams drain,
Same are lose and gain,
Green mountains remain,
As sunsets ingrain,
Hoary fishers and woodcutters,
And some small rafts and calm waters,
In autumn moon, in spring winds,
By the wine jars, by porcelains,
Discuss talk and tale,
Only laugh and gale.

Does anyone else see a similarity to "Time Table"?? (Wow, Genesis connection!)

And this is my favorite quote of all time (the opening line of the novel):

The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide.  Thus it has ever been.



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