If you’re reading our Last King of Shang series, you’ve probably noticed that Book 1 does not have poems at the beginning of each chapter, but Books 2 and 3 do. That’s our fault. When we wrote the first book, we just focused on retelling the story. But as we got deeper into the project, we decided that the poems were an important part of the story, so we included them in Books 2 and…Continue reading
Many of our readers ask for the vocabulary lists for our books. They’re available on the home page, just look for the “Download Vocabulary List” link next to each book. For the Last King of Shang series, we have individual vocabulary lists for each of the 3 books published so far, and also a master list that covers all 3 books. Here are the download links: Last King of Shang, Book 1 – vocabulary list…Continue reading
Good news! We are happy to announce the arrival of the third book in our Last King of Shang series of graded readers. It covers the events in chapters 35 through 50 of the original epic Chinese novel Investiture of the Gods (封神榜 ). We have now covered half of the material in the original 100-chapter novel. Here is a short blurb from the back cover: In the waning days of the Shang dynasty in ancient China, an epic…Continue reading
At last, the second book in our Last King of Shang series is finished and available for purchase! The title is, not surprisingly, The Last King of Shang, Book 2. It covers the events in chapters 18 through 34 of the original epic Chinese novel Investiture of the Gods. Here is a short blurb from the back cover: In ancient China, the Shang kingdom descends into chaos as Daji, the beautiful thousand year old fox…Continue reading
I promised that the second installment of The Last King of Shang would be out by end of August. We’re going to miss that target by a month. Here’s why. The book is pretty much written. But I decided that it would be fun to include the short introductory poem that the original author provided at the start of each chapter. We didn’t do that for Book 1, but we will do it for all…Continue reading
We’ve been working on a new series of graded readers based on 封神榜 , commonly known as Investiture of the Gods. We just released the first of six volumes. One of our biggest challenges has been to find a high quality English translation to work from. Our writing process for 封神榜 and 西游记 (Journey to the West) has been for me (Jeff) to write the English version first, adapting the story to make sure that…Continue reading
We’ve selected the famous epic novel Investiture of the Gods for our next project. This is another long and complex story, set in ancient China at the time of the fall of the Shang Dynasty in 1050 BC. It’s about a foolish young king who falls in love with a goddess and writes a highly offensive love poem to her on her temple wall. Furious, the goddess dispatches a thousand year old fox demon to replace the soul of Daji, a beautiful young woman. The fox demon seduces the king and leads him down the path of destruction for himself and his kingdom.
The book has lots of action and adventure in it, but it also explores the inner conflict of those who are loyal to the kingdom but are confronted by a king who no longer deserves their loyalty.Continue reading