Han Empire - 190 CE
The Yellow Turban uprising has failed. The iron will of the empire has quelled the surviving rebels back to their farms, but from the cracks revealed by the revolt crept every ambitious warlord living under the sky. Many gathered at Hulao to rescue the young emperor from the grasp of the cruel chancellor Dong Zhuo. The coalition, however, is nothing but a snake pit from where the lords plan their next moves.
Among them, the cunning Cao Cao envisions a future where he bows to no one, but talent and ambition might not be enough to survive those tumultuous times. He will need brave men, professional soldiers, and luck if he is to thrive. His students rise to the challenge, and Liao Hua, the Orphan of War, welcomes the fires of war eagerly.
This is his chance to soar. This is his opportunity to claim vengeance on Guan Yu.
Heroes of Chaos is the soon-to-be-published sequel of Yellow Sky Revolt, the second book on the Three Kingdoms Chronicles, by Baptiste Pinson Wu. It starts as an immediate follow to where we left Liao Chun, with a small prologue situated in a later year that acts as a recap of what happened in the first novel.
In this case, we are going to be observers of how Liao's life evolved between the years 190 and 196, from being a simple soldier to getting a place in Cao Cao's military; all while showing some of the most impactful moments in the Three Kingdoms history, but all through the eyes and ideas of Chun, with the first person narrator that was also used on Yellow Sky Revolt.
But while in Yellow Sky Revolt we mostly have a formation time for Chun, in Heroes of Chaos we get to follow somebody that will become a soldier, that will participate in several battles, and who will meet some of the most prominent figures of historical anals. Chun is still a really young person, and sometimes, we will see him acting like what he is: a teen that is having to fulfill a difficult role, letting himself be governed by his emotions, a thing that will bring problems.
And while it is true that there are some historical licenses taken by the author, the picture he makes of the Three Kingdoms is certainly accurate, and with a level of detail that makes you feel inside the period. The tone of the book is set from the first chapter, portraying the Three Brothers' duel, and that will be a good representation of what we can expect from this book, a fast-paced and engaging story.
You can also appreciate how Pinson Wu has improved as writer, especially in the pacing aspect of the narration. There are still some small details in the way of writing that could be improved, especially because the narration sometimes feels really dry, but in general, Heroes of Chaos is a step up over the first novel.
In summary, a great novel if you are interested in this period of Chinese history, and any historical fiction reader will enjoy it. Even if you don't know much about it, this book does a great job helping you to get into the period, and to present all the characters. We will see how The Three Kingdoms Chronicles continues evolving in the next books.
Baptiste Pinson Wu
Born and raised in Normandie, Baptiste has entertained a passion for historical tales since childhood. Growing up with stories of his Viking ancestors, plus his personal interest in everything Chinese and Japanese, it was only a matter of time before he decided to stop being a consumer and become a storyteller.
After ten years of expatriation in Asia, six manuscripts, and a few hundred videos, Baptiste chose his number one passion as the subject of his first publication: The Three Kingdoms of China.