Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: The Middle Kingdom by David Wingrove

The year is 2196 and the continent spanning cities of 'ice' are fast approaching over population. A group of largely European descended  industrialists begin lobbying for freedom to pursue research and development areas previously considered off limits. However the T'ang, the seven rulers of the world, are strictly against this believing to do so would put their very society at risk.  When the minister of the edict is assassinated tensions are brought to a head and a different kind of war of propaganda and espionage begins.

Wingrove's world-building really takes off in this volume, with different levels in a very segmented society explored cleverly. The character's are three-dimensional, complex and engaging and the plot is well paced throughout.

I do have some small criticisms however. At this point in the series hundreds of years have passed where everything but distinctly Chinese culture and history have been suppressed and destroyed. However the world views between the European and Chinese characters still appear to be remarkably different and this is highly unrealistic. Also the industrialists never seem to realize that by taking on the T'ang  however covertly they would be prime suspects and subject to a backlash. Again this seems highly improbable.

Overall solid world-building and characters make for a compelling read though a few story-telling mistakes ensure this is a very good book instead of the great one it could have been. 7.5/10.      


  1. Since this is a republishing/repacking of a series written in late 80s to mid 90s, does this cause the book to feel dated??

  2. No, not at all. The first two books in the relaunched series were completely new. I haven't read the original release Middle Kingdom so I can't compare the two or assess how much was rewritten recently but at no point did it feel dated.