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TV Series Recommendation: Nirvana in Fire (Lang Ya Bang)

Feb. 10th, 2016 | 09:54 pm
posted by: zarz29 in sounis

I recently ran across a Chinese TV show that I would highly recommend to any fans of Queen's Thief who are looking for intelligent plots, complex political maneuverings, and a trickster hero who always has one more scheme up his sleeve. (Not to mention talented actors, gorgeous costumes and sets, well-written dialogue, impressive martial arts, and a number of powerful women.)

A brief teaser:

Twelve years ago, in 4th century China, the powerful empire of Da Liang was attacked. The Chiyan Army was sent out, under the command of General Lin Xie, and successfully destroyed the invaders. But General Lin had a more sinister plan in mind. Under the command of Crown Prince Qi, he plotted high treason, and rebellion against the Emperor. All might have been lost except for the loyal commander of his vanguard army, who successfully got a message out before his force was utterly destroyed.

The wrath of the Emperor was terrible. Another, loyal, army was dispatched to Meiling Cliff, where after a dreadful battle they eventually defeated the traitorous army and its treasonous general. In the capital, the treacherous prince and all of his household and supporters were executed. The rebellion was quashed, the rebels defeated, and peace and justice were restored to the land.

Or so the story goes...

Twelve years later, Su Zhe, a sickly scholar, is invited by two of his friends to join them in the capital for his health. What few people know however, is that this frail man is in truth Mei Changsu, leader of a powerful alliance of pugilists (martial artists). He is also first on the Langya List, that yearly list of all the most talented heroes in the world. And as the saying goes, who has him, will have the world.

And the world would be a very nice thing to have...

Or so think two of the princes of Da Liang. After the traitorous Prince Qi was executed, a new crown prince took his place. But his brother Prince Yu has his own plans to become the next emperor, and is willing to do whatever it takes - and recruit whomever he needs - to make that happen. The Crown Prince, on the other hand, isn't prepared to suffer any opposition to his own power and prestige. A gifted scholar and tactician might be just the thing he needs to crush Prince Yu once and for all.

But no one bothers to ask what Mei Changsu thinks of all this...

For what even fewer people know is that Mei Changsu is as much of an alias as Su Zhe. Twelve years ago he was known as Lin Shu, son of Lin Xie, and Young Marshal of the Chiyan army - and one of only a bare handful of survivors of the 70,000 men killed at Meiling.

And Lin Shu carries a secret within him even larger than his identity as a traitor to the empire...

For Lin Shu knows that the Chiyan Army, the Lin family, and Prince Qi himself never plotted rebellion. They intended no betrayal of the throne. Instead, they were the ones betrayed, framed by powerful men and then massacred by the troops they thought had come to relieve them.

And now the time has come to set things right.

The empire is falling apart. Its two most powerful princes care more about scoring points off each other than governing well, and the Emperor is doing nothing to reign either in. Corruption is running rampant, the people are suffering, and Da Liang's neighbors are looking on with speculation. And all the while, 70,000 good men are still branded as traitors and forbidden to be mourned. No empire can survive such circumstances for long.

Da Liang is going to fall.

Lin Shu, Mei Changsu, Su Zhe isn't about to let that happen to the empire he fought and bled and nearly died for. He has a plan to make things right - if he can only live long enough to see it through. He has allies - members of the Jiangzuo Alliance he heads, the young master of Langya Hall, and others he will meet in the weeks and months ahead. But he also has enemies. Whichever prince he doesn't choose will stop at nothing to deny his skills to the other, and the Emperor's paranoia hasn't lessened in twelve years. Nor did he escape Meiling unscathed. The Poison of the Bitter Flame still burns in his body, and in only a few short years it's going to burn him out. But 70,000 innocent souls still cry out for justice, and he's not prepared to let anything stand in the way of making things right.

The schemers who plotted the downfall of the Crown Prince himself? Have just met their match.



If I've managed to whet your interest, here are a couple links:

All the episodes, free, with English subtitles:
https://www.viki.com/tv/22943c-nirvana-in-fire

The characters, and their relationships:
https://dramakite.wordpress.com/nirvana-in-fire-characters-family-tree-english-version/


(A brief word-to-the-wise: I found it a bit difficult to get into the first episode, largely because of the sheer numbers of characters we get introduced to. If you're not sure who's who, you may find this helpful: https://dramakite.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/nirvana-in-fire-episode-1-recap/. It's a recap which goes into who all the characters are (including photos of them) and what their relationships to each other are. Otherwise, you can simply do what I did and keep watching. By the second episode everything starts to get a lot more clear and it's a lot easier to follow what's going on.)

(One additional word-to-the-wise: Be aware that this is a long series - it's 54 episodes, and not neatly broken into seasons, either. But it's also so good that's once you come to the end you're most likely going to wish it was at least twice that length. The subtitles are also a little rough, being entirely fan-created, but not enough to be difficult to understand.)

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"Bllod Road" - new book by Amanda McCrina

Feb. 5th, 2016 | 04:43 pm
mood: excitedexcited
posted by: mary_j_59 in sounis

Hi, everyone! Amanda McCrina, author of His Own Good Sword, has a new book coming out! It's a prequel called Blood Road, and you can find Amanda's official announcement http://fly-casual.net/?p=3947 here. I read an early version of Bllod Road, which stars Torien, Tyren's father, as a teenage soldier of the empire in a land very like North Africa. It's grim, to my taste, but very well done, and many of us Sounisians should love it. Something else to read while we wait for our intrepid author to complete the next two volumes. :)

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ot: More Bujold interviews

Feb. 3rd, 2016 | 02:57 pm
mood: excitedexcited
music: Crime & The Forces Of Evil--High Barbaree
posted by: filkferengi in sounis

Another link or two:

Focused interview:
http://www.nerds-feather.com/2016/02/6-books-with-science-fiction-and.html

Nice pro review:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/gentleman-jole-the-red-queen-after-the-happily-ever-after/

Ta, L.

Yay!

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Bujold interview

Feb. 3rd, 2016 | 09:06 am
mood: excitedexcited
music: Betsy Tinney--Valentina's Dance
posted by: filkferengi in sounis

There're some interesting insights in here:

https://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/1101.Lois_McMaster_Bujold

note: mwt gets mentioned, so I'm not marking it off-topic.

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A Twentieth-century Sophos?

Feb. 2nd, 2016 | 11:41 pm
mood: workingworking
posted by: an_english_girl in sounis

In 1934, King Alexander of Yugoslavia was assassinated while on a state visit to France. His eldest son Crown Prince Peter inherited the throne but since he was a minor (11), a regency was established ruled by his uncle Prince Paul.
Six years later, in 1941, Prince Paul announced the Kingdom of Yugoslavia would ally with Nazi Germany. King Peter, then aged 17 and at Cambridge University, took himself to the British government. His request may be summarised:
“Lend me a battleship. I'm going home to hold a coup.”
The coup worked, although Yugoslavia could not hold out against the might of the Axis forces, and King Peter was forced back to a government-in-exile in London. Post-war, Tito came to power, and the deposed king eventually died and was buried in Illinois in 1970. But it's the thought that counts, and hence my mental image of Sophos will always be based on this:
Photo link...Collapse )
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ot: GURPS Vorkosigan up in e-format

Jan. 25th, 2016 | 04:15 pm
mood: excitedexcited
music: Seanan McGuire--My Story Is Not Done
posted by: filkferengi in sounis

From: Lois McMaster Bujold
Subject: [LMB] GURPS Vorkosigan up in e-format.


GURPS Vorkosigan up in e-format --


I am pleased to report that the GURPS Vorkosigan roleplaying sourcebook
is once again available in e-format. The PDF may be purchased here:

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/vorkosigan-saga-sourcebook-and-roleplaying-game

Pass the word (and the link) to your gamer friends...

Ta, Lois.

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ot: Brilliant Parody, With Cats

Jan. 22nd, 2016 | 03:51 pm
mood: amusedamused
music: Govi--Seventh Heaven
posted by: filkferengi in sounis

http://dreamcafe.com/2016/01/21/mondays-cat/

Steve Brust says it's all Emma Bull's fault.
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tumblr mysteries

Jan. 20th, 2016 | 04:28 pm
posted by: archdyadove in sounis

Not sure if I'm the only one paying close attention to mwt's tumblr, but there's a little mystery there that may interest some of you! I didn't notice until recently, but for a while now, she's been tagging certain posts with the acronym "rkif", and not letting on what it means. Some people have been speculating that it could stand for the title of the next book, in light of the recent rumors about release dates... Is this a cleverly disguised hint? A taunt? Or something else entirely??
Anyway, here are all the tagged posts, if anybody wants to scour them and make some guesses!

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News!

Jan. 17th, 2016 | 08:52 am
mood: excitedexcited
posted by: maidenbeckah in sounis

Two days ago, Monica Endinger posted this on her blog:

…. a little bird told me the next two [Queen's Thief books] are in the home stretch of being finished and coming out some time in the not-too-far-off future. First the publisher will reissue the original four to bring a new generation of readers to them and then….numbers five and six.

Maybe we'll have a new book this year? I don't know, but I'm so excited I could almost dance on a roof!

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requiescat in pace

Jan. 14th, 2016 | 12:38 pm
music: Weep You No More Sad Fountains - Patrick Doyle (Sense And Sensibility OST)
posted by: freenarnian in sounis

Long before he embodied Severus Snape in Harry Potter, my tiny 6-year-old heart was majorly crushed and forever shaped by his portrayal of Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility. (My family teased me about this for years.) (Also, one of our dogs may or may not be named Brandon because of it.) Alas, this dashes any hopes I might've had for one day seeing him cast as our beloved Magus, but he'll live on as such in my imagination.

I'm so very sad. What a legend. RIP, Alan Rickman. <3

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