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Chung Kuo is an epic science fiction series written by British author David Wingrove. It depicts a future, post-apocalyptic Earth which is ruled by the Han Chinese, with other ethnic groups either destroyed or conquered. The series was originally published in eight volumes from 1989 to 1997, but the ending was heavily compressed at editorial request, to the author's dissatisfaction. In 2011 Corvus Books began reissuing the series as twenty shorter volumes, including a brand new two-volume prologue and a heavily rewritten finale.

PremiseEdit

In 2043 a Chinese businessman and military leader, Tsao Ch'un, engineers the economic downfall of the West through a massive cyber-attack which destroys much of the datascape (the successor to the Internet) and neutralises the military capabilities of the United States and Europe. Civilisation collapses, with millions dying and many people being reduced to a rural, subsistence-level of existence. Under Ch'un's leadership, China rapidly recovers and, using advances in nanotechnology, begins to build vast, world-girdling cities.

A hundred and fifty years later, the world is firmly under the dominance of the Chinese. All knowledge of pre-Collapse history has been eradicated in the interest of stability. However, the government is being pulled apart as two ideologies, one favouring stasis and stability, and the other favouring rapid change, expansion and freedom, come into conflict. Assassinations and political intrigue ultimately lead to war as the fate of the human race hangs in the balance.

Publication historyEdit

David Wingrove envisaged the Chung Kuo series as three interlinked trilogies spanning nine novels. However, falling sales saw his publishers request that he shrink the series to eight volumes. With work on the final two books underway when this request was made, Wingrove had to heavily compress and edit material down to fit into one book. Both the author and his fans felt this left the final book in the series nigh-on incomprehensible, and this was reflected in mostly negative reviews for it.

In 2009 it was revealed that the series had been picked up by Corvus Books and would be re-issued as nineteen volumes. The finale would be completely rewritten and a new prequel novel added to the start of the series, showing the rise of China. This prequel novel was then expanded in size and split in two due to length, for a total of twenty novels. The 'recasting' of Chung Kuo began with the release of Son of Heaven in February 2011, with Corvus planning to release all twenty books by the end of 2015.

Books in the seriesEdit

  1. Son of Heaven (February 2011)
  2. Daylight on Iron Mountain (November 2011)
  3. The Middle Kingdom (October 2012)
  4. Ice and Fire (December 2012)
  5. The Art of War (March 2013)
  6. An Inch of Ashes (July 2013)
  7. The Broken Wheel
  8. The White Mountain
  9. Monsters of the Deep
  10. The Stone Within
  11. Upon a Wheel of Fire
  12. Beneath the Tree of Heaven
  13. Song of the Bronze Statue
  14. White Moon, Red Dragon
  15. China on the Rhine
  16. Days of Bitter Strength
  17. The Father of Lies
  18. Blood and Iron
  19. King of Infinite Space
  20. The Marriage of the Living Dark

Original editionsEdit

  1. The Middle Kingdom (1989)
  2. The Broken Wheel (1990)
  3. The White Mountain (1991)
  4. The Stone Within (1992)
  5. Beneath the Tree of Heaven (1993)
  6. White Moon, Red Dragon (1994)
  7. Days of Bitter Strength (1995)
  8. The Marriage of the Living Dark (1997)