Bridge of Birds

Fantasy by Barry Hughart


When the children of his village were struck with a mysterious illness, Number Ten Ox found master Li Kao. Together they set out to find the Great Root of Power, the only possible cure, and together they discover adventure and legend, and the power of belief....

First Published


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An unusual but excellent fantasy novel. Li Kao and his client/assistant Number Ten Ox embark on a quest of several stages, each time coming closer to their goal but finding that another unforeseen obstacle lies in their path. This pattern has parallels in the structure of fairytales, and I found Bridge Of Birds remeniscent of Dhrun's journey in Lyonesse (by Jack Vance). As the ultimate antagonist slowly becomes clear, Master Li's ability to find an astonishing, perhaps comical, solution and Ox's hard work enable them to escape each predicament only to find themselves in the next, sometimes re-encountering previously-overcome opponents who are not above helping them out second time around. Quoting Master Li: "Nothing on the face of this earth--and I do mean nothing--is half so dangerous as a children's story that happens to be real, and you and I are wandering blindfolded through a myth devised by a maniac."

0 Responses posted in December
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