Author: Jeff Stone
ShaoShu was an orphan, all alone until he met Hok and Ying. Their kindness inspired the most reckless deed of his life: sneaking aboard Tonglong’s ship to spy on their enemy firsthand. But when the plan backfires, ShaoShu ends up caught in the middle of Tonglong’s schemes. Can a little mouse do anything in the face of the Mantis?
The series continues to show the fascinating interplay between the end of one era and the beginning of a new. ShaoShu isn’t a martial arts master like the other protagonists. He’s a little boy who steps softly and can squeeze himself into unlikely hiding spots. But with the deadly force of guns, which makes any man the equal of a martial artist, Tonglong has leveled the playing field considerably. It’s also interesting because these are the very early versions of guns, which only fire one shot and take so long to reload it makes more sense to carry multiple weapons than it does to carry more ammunition.
As Tonglong’s plans blossom, the situation looks darker than ever. Now the national issues surge forward: no longer is it about the fate of one man, but the whole of the kingdom.
Overall these are very short, enjoyable reads. They have considerable depth for the age range, and would be good for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or martial arts. I rate this book Recommended.