A Snake Lies Waiting (2020, St. Martin's Griffin) 4 stars

Review of 'A Snake Lies Waiting' on Goodreads

2 stars

Pretty much everything I said about the first two books in the series applies to this one: Charles Dickens lite...with kung fu fighting, excellent introduction to Chinese culture and geography, insightful look at Chinese values and norms, wonderful world-building around the different martial-arts schools and fighting techniques.

However, there are two glaring deficiencies with this novel when compared to the previous two. Number one, the setting is just too limited. The first 150 pages or so is spent on a ship--and not in the Patrick O'Brian way--and another 100 pages or so is spent in the great room of an inn. Number two, coincidences and contrivances abound, making this what I feel to be the novel with the most overheard conversations in the history of all literature. It's also interesting how, with China being such a vast country and the cast of characters being so large, almost all of …