The Chung Kuo series, when originally published, had only a modest web following, hosted graciously by Bob Newell. With this blog, I hope to pick up where the old fan site left off and provide a platform for all things unofficial for the amazing world of Chung Kuo. And who am I? Just a fan who’s read through the entire original series twice and has always hoped another glimpse into the spellbinding world of Chung Kuo.
The title of this blog, Of Gifts and Stones, was the title to the synopsis of the story-thus-far that was featured in the beginning of the later books, initially called The War of The Two Directions in the old Book 5 (Beneath the Tree of Heaven), at least in the American edition that I have. At that point it was only two pages, which grew to 17 in Marriage of the Living Dark. That’s a lot of ground to cover! It was a much-appreciated addition, and the title always stuck with me. It’s a thinly veiled reference to when… well, let’s not spoil anything. Anyways, I hope that this blog similarly covers a lot of material, so Of Gifts and Stones seemed like an appropriate title. I’m hoping that Mr. Wingrove retains that title for the synopsis again when the time comes, if only to legitimize my borrowing of it.
A few months into running this site, David Wingrove himself reached out to me with an offer to throw the occasional bit of content my way to host here. Immensely grateful and honored, I wholeheartedly accepted. So, every now and then you’ll see something that he’s passed along. Aside from that, I have no affiliation with David Wingrove, Corvus, Atlantic Books, Fragile Media, or anybody else. I also don’t make any money off this site — I maintain it as a hobby at my own expense. Also, in addition to Chung Kuo, this site also covers David Wingrove’s other series: Myst and Roads to Moscow.
Lastly, it has always been my intention for this to be a collaborative site, so if you are interested in contributing, please let me know. This is the perfect spot for reviews, reflections, fan fiction, fan art, etc.
Keep an eye on this space for periodic news, updates, opinions, and more!
(I have an intermittently-updated Twitter account for this endeavor: @ofgiftsandstones.)
49 thoughts on “About”
I love this website! it is very helpful, especially when I have not read the books before. Great Job!
Awesome work. I have regularly pecked around the web for the past decade looking for news or updates for this series – always finding the same outdated information. Then BOOM there’s this huge pile of new stuff! New books, new plans, and this new site. Plus you’ve imported all the old stuff from around the web. Keep it up!
Thanks Matthew (from one Matt to another!). That same frustration is what drove me to create this site. Glad you like. BTW, really digging the art on your own site!
Cheers! My site is very much a work in progress. Still playing around with themes and widgets to figure out the cleanest way to do artwork. I wonder if Mr. Wingrove is looking for a comic artist;)
As David’s publicist I am very pleased to see this! If you would like any artwork or more info please email me!
Hi Becci! I’m elated that you found this site. I just shot you an email from my personal account so keep an eye out for that. Thanks for visiting!
I walked into waterstones, saw the cover and thought damn that looks awesome anyway took it home and read it within a few days. Biggest book ive ever read (im not much of a reader). Anyway ive now bought the first 4 books also just waiting for delivery so I can read them too! Il get the other ones once ive finished and cant wait for the 2nd book out later this year!
Anyway while im waiting are there any similar books like this I could be reading? Ive been looking through the sections etc at waterstones cant find anything this interesting.
Welcome to the site! It looks like you’ve just read The Middle Kingdom, is that right? If so, you’ve actually come into the world of Chung Kuo at a really amazing time. All of the books have been recast into 20 volumes and are being re-released, including two books of new prequel material — the NEW Book 1, Son of Heaven, was just recently released. It takes place roughly 150 years before the events in The Middle Kingdom.
If you’re still interested in working through the original series, you won’t be disappointed. While you wait for the new books to arrive, you COULD pick up Son of Heaven, but I would argue that it might change the experience of working through the original eight, since you’d be jumping around within the continuity and possibly creating spoilers for yourself. That said, you could re-start with Son of Heaven and continue through the new sequence instead of reading through The Broken Wheel, etc.
If you’re looking for some excellent non-Chung Kuo material, I would suggest picking up the Myst series, based on the popular 90s CD-ROM game. It’s “co-written” with David Wingrove, but my understanding is that he was the principal author of the series. There are three novels, The Book of Atrus, The Book of Ti’ana, and The Book of D’Ni, released separately, but also released as a single volume anthology. It’s a great read, with a narrative style similar to Chung Kuo. Don’t let the fact that it’s based on a video game throw you off — it’s definitely not your typical cheesy novelization, and experience with the game is not a requirement for reading (I never played them). The events in the Myst novels actually don’t even correlate to the events in the games.
I’m sure this is probably a lot to take in. Let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be happy to assist! 🙂
So glad to have found this website! I read the originals and was blown away when there was an announcement of a re-release. Keep up the great work….I think we need to show the support of the US fan base.
Would like to recommend a discussion board? I saw a post above about someone just starting the Middle Kingdom. It would be an interesting conversation about whether to start the original…or wait for the new? My brother is in the same boat…hasn’t read any yet. One of the most powerful things about the original story was when you realized what had happened in the past…that history was revised. When I first started reading, I thought it was a “what if” book… (I’m being vague as not to spoil). Now with the new series (read in order) there’s no mystery.
Also – for those of you that have a Droid….I recommend the game GOdroid
Reading Son of Heaven now – excellent!
Hi Ben! Glad you found the site. Thanks for the recommendation for the discussion board — I’ve actually already installed it, but I removed all links to it since there wasn’t much traffic to the site at first. But now that there’s some interest, I’ll enable it. Right now, it’s organized by book volume, from both the new and original sequences, but that’s not set in stone, and I’m definitely open to feedback. Check out the Forums link above and let me know what you think!
Brilliant! – How about a general bucket? Discussions about the whole series, etc?
Done! What do you think?
Is anyone aware of any directors taking an interest in these books. They are so set up for a well done tv series or movies. We have seen what technology and decent casting has done for Thrones. If i was a director I’d be very interested in Chung Kuo. As well as a remake of Dune. The ideas in these two are very modern concerns.
There’s been some talk over the ages about a film adaptation (see Adventures in the Empire of Ice). I completely agree – I can’t think of anything better than a Chung Kuo movie or series. I think a format like Game of Thrones (1 novel = 1 season) would be perfect.
Why is it impossible to find a schedule of the release dates for the next books? Before publication of Daylight we heard every day when it was coming out, and since it did…almost silence.
I am anxious to know how long I need to wait before the next book. dale gutzman
I’m equally as frustrated. The minute I hear anything, it’ll be posted on this site. And if anyone digs up some info, please let me know!
I am very angry. How are we supposed to sustain enthusiasm and interest in a 20 book series if the publishers and author can’t even maintain interest? I bought the limited edition volumes of the first two books after reading all the original ones, and allowed myself to become wildly excited over this series. Now…after extended silence from which the author has not yet emerged, we find that the third book is coming out later than announced and only in paperback. Is the whole thing going to collapse as did the first series? This is most disturbing. dale
Love the website and the content. Its a regular read for me. My two reading loves are Asian historical dramas like Shogun and Noble House, and Science Fiction epics. Combining the two would be a hard ask I thought and then wammo, I find a Chung Kuo referenced somewhere and the journey begins. Serendipitous!
Keep up the good work
Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ve already wanted to read Clavell’s Asian Saga, but the universe seems to conspire against me every time I try with life circumstances. I have seen the Noble House mini-series with Pierce Brosnan and thought it was very well done. Have you just started reading Chung Kuo?
I devoured them. I am staying away from the legacy series and devoting myself to this new version but the wait is killing me. The first two books were great and the story idea is genious and when first written, way ahead of its time.
Not long to wait now before we get into the 3monthly output cycle. Also, the 200 year odd difference between book two and three leaves room for either Wingrove written fill-ins or other authors to fill the void. Prefer Wingrove to come back around once he finishes the series.
As for Clavell, you have to do it. Nothing will be the same again but I am biassed there. Very sad that he died before completing the series. I one day hope to write something similar about colonial Singapore but it would barely be worth the paper and ink compared to authors like Clavell and Wingrove.
I was browsing around Amazon today and noticed the US Kindle versions for the first two books in the new recasting are gone from Amazon. Does anyone know why they’ve been pulled?
No clue. I just found out about this myself yesterday too. I’m hoping that this might actually mean good news relating to a dedicated US publisher (who would put out its own eBook and print versions), but I haven’t heard anything to that effect.
Amazon.co.uk has a pre-order for The Middle Kingdom going on right now. 30% off.
I hope you don’t mind me posting a link, Matt, but I recently just finished the original version of the series for the first time, and posted a long review / commentary on it… you can find it here:
I love the series overall despite some of my comments, and want to help spread the word. I’m really surprised that few people seem to know about this series. I wasn’t sure about the entire recasting at first, but now I’m looking forward to the changes Wingrove has said he’s making.
I really enjoyed this commentary. If you don’t mind, I’d like to mention it on the main page.
I’m glad you liked it, thanks for posting!
I’d appreciate a bit of insight from DW himself, if that’s possible, regarding the following comment on amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cost-of-books-on-Amazon-co-uk/forum/FxRM49NPRUZ2I1/Tx1LGSIHJVJUCRW/1/ref=cm_cd_dp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&asin=1848877285):
“Book 4 in hardcover is on sale (I had to read it three times before I was convinced there was no typo) at 52% off the £100.00 asking price. WTF people of England? Is anyone over there really prepared to spend £48.00 on an SF book that is NOT an antique collectible? Is that rational to anyone? The £10.49 asking price for book 3 is far more in line with a hardcover. Presumably DW is aware of how much Corvus is raping the readers, but since he’s said nothing regarding this on his blog, one can only assume he’s okay with it.”
Certainly DW is deserving of everything he can squeeze from Corvus in terms of royalties, but I have to agree that the asking price for the fourth book is pretty astounding. The prices in general seem to be all over the place, too. What gives, DW? Corvus?
The prices that are found on Amazon before the book is actually released are often way off; I think they often mistake the normal hardcover for the collectible, signed edition, which does run about £100. I’m not sure who’s to blame for that — Corvus, Atlantic, Amazon… who knows? When Ice and Fire is actually released on normal hardcover, I have no doubt that the price will be adjusted to reflect a normal, reasonable price, just like Son of Heaven and Daylight are now.
Hi Matt! Like many Chung Kuo fans, I read the series almost 20 years ago and was thrilled to find that David Wingrove had written more!! I just finished the two prequels and with the addition of new and re-edited “old” ones, I’m a bit confused as to whether I should buy these newly edited versions of the original eight or can I just pick up in the middle where a new book is being slotted between the original ones. Does this make sense?! Thanks!! Rhonda
Hi Rhonda! Welcome to the site! I’m going to steal an answer from Goonda, a frequent commenter on the site, because I agree with him completely:
“I don’t have my copy of the original to compare side by side, but from what I remember the majority of things are the same. The only thing I think that has changed is he has gone through and tweeked some of the wording here and there which makes it a slightly easier read than the original. Personally, I think it is worth it. Plus, we don’t know exactly when the real new content will start being added and where that point will match up with the original series. So, I think it is definitely worth picking up the new books so that the flow of the whole series doesn’t need to be interrupted by switching back and forth between the old and new editions.
But all of that aside, the new editions are only about $10-15 per volume. That seems like a small price to pay to ensure that the sales are strong enough that the series doesn’t get canceled again. Fool me once, fool me twice.”
I just want to thank you for this site and the encouragement you give Mr. Wingrove. It is a fantastic series and I am enjoying reading the revised version.
I can’t believe it’s happened to me again!
I avidly collected the first three hardcover volumes of the original Chung Kuo release, only to have the cycle spiral into decline in succeedingly crappy paperback editions. (We won’t even discuss “The Marriage of the Living Dark”.)
Then, I eagerly bought into the British deluxe, slip cased and signed hardcover editions of the new 20 volume release. (I had #20.) After investing a small fortune in the first eight volumes, the British publisher has now told me “that’s it”, There’ll be no more.
Goddamn it! Wingrove owes me a refund!
omg they really are going to do it again!! Book 9 Monsters of the Deep is available for $999.11…they published it and then pulled it?? Why not leave it out there and get at least some money back or are they, Atlantic, doing the selling at $999.11????
I held off for years buying Marriage of the Living Dark because it was so expensive but finally gave in for ~$60 – I don’t really remember now. But $999.11 is ridiculous. I paid a little over $250 for a Chelsea Quinn Yarbro book that was signed, boxed and a limited run of 500.
Mister Wingrove get yourself a e-publisher or do it yourself!!!
We all understand your frustration. But don’t despair!
Multiple updates exist throughout the posts on this site regarding the status of Chung Kuo. David has said he plans to go live with a new website very soon. Estimated live date was 4 weeks from March 18th, so we should be seeing that any day now.
Books 9-16 “have already been thoroughly rewritten and polished and (up to 10) copy-edited”. From what I understand, books 17-20 are largely outlined but not written yet. But David has said he hopes to one or two of them written in first draft form by the end of the year. I expect publishing new of these volumes to start to come out after David releases his official website.
In the end, as frustrating as it is for us fans, can you really blame him for trying to earn a paycheck by finishing Roads to Moscow?
Hi david, our site would like cooperation with you, please drop our email to me in order to discuss more cooperation detail,tks!
is everything alright with you and David? Has been very silent…guess he is finishing Roads to Moscow?
cheers and all the best
Everything’s good with me. Still here. I haven’t heard from David since August. I assume he’s keeping busy. As soon as I hear something, you will too!
any news, everything alright? Roads to Moscow has been pushed to 2017, at least according to amazon? Please don’t tell me something has been cancelled again…?
Hi Kaneda. No news as of now. To my knowledge, nothing’s been cancelled. Let’s hope it stays that way!
…getting a bit concerned here. Amazon corrected the release date back to April 7th 2016. But no cover and nothing in stock.
amazon Germany now decided to send the rest of the order excluding Roads to Moscow. That is rather bad news, as I live in Japan, hence amazon will carry double international shipping costs. Doesn’t sound like they expect a release any time soon.
Amazon now cancelled roads to Moscow completely. The ebook has a release date of 2017 … 🙁
Do you have any news on what is happening please, with books 10 – 20?
I am on book 3 of the recast, having read the full 8 many years ago and really would like to cast book 8 from my mind, with a proper finish.
I am very pleased to find this site. I read the original series and was happy to read what was published of the reboot. Super disappointed when the rug was pulled out (again!). I am very grateful for the novella Earthlight published here and cant wait to read it tonight. Is there the sense that Mr. Wingrove plans to somehow continue the main story? I was very disappointed in the abrupt left turn the original series took and was urgently waiting to see what ending he envisioned. I am still left hungry for more of the story and hope that at some point he can continue it. If you have any insight into that that, I would greatly appreciate whatever information you have!
Hi Chris. Welcome! I believe David is still in the process of reverting the rights to the novels so that he can either publish them himself or shop them around. He’s expressed interest in fixing the ending since the original eight-book sequence didn’t allow him to have the ending he wanted, as I’m sure you know. As soon as there’s news, it’ll be up on this site right away!
I might be the only one who cares, but the 3rd Road to Moscow book is now officially available again for pre-order. Release date is really April 2017.
I wonder what happened there. Re-write?
You’re certainly not the only who cares. Good find! Just posted about it. Thanks a ton!
Thanks for the update on Book 3 Matt and Kaneda, was just about to search it myself but (as always) came here first! 🙂 Glad to see it’s coming “soon”.