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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
FREE Today and Tomorrow Dec 27th & 28th at Amazon

The Academician - Southern Swallow Book I

by Edward C. Patterson
Kindleboard Book Profile for The Academician
"A bigger fool the world has never known than I - a coarse fellow with no business to clutch a brush and scribble. I only know the scrawl, because my master took pleasure in teaching me between my chores. Not many men are so cursed . . ." Thus begins the tale of Li K'ai-men as told by his faithful, but mischievous servant, K'u Ko-ling - a tale of 12th Century China, where state service meant a life long journey across a landscape of turmoil and bliss. A tale of sacrifice, love, war and duty - a fragile balance between rituals and passions. An epic commitment between two men to define the indefinable in their own world and time. Here begins the legacy of the Jade Owl and its custodian as he holds true to his warrants.

The Academician is the first of five books in the Southern Swallow series, capturing the turbulence of the Sung Dynasty in transition. Spanning the silvery days under the Emperor Hui to the disasters that followed, The Academician is a slice of world events that should never have been forgotten. Still, there are things more important than invasions and empires. The world's fate rests in the warrants of Li K'ai-men, this young scholar from Gui-lin, called master by his faithful servant, but known as Nan Ya to the world
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Contents

Preface

Part I: Fishing With Birds

Chapter One: The Corpse of Pao Chin
Chapter Two: A Letter from K'ang Yu-wei
Chapter Three: To Yang-chou
Chapter Four: Processional
Chapter Five: No Passage
Chapter Six: The Other
Chapter Seven: The Walls of Su-chou
Chapter Eight: The Willow Pavilion
Chapter Nine: Stealing Honor
Chapter Ten: Busy Days
Chapter Eleven: The Ya-men Spider
Chapter Twelve: Trouble at the Gate
Chapter Thirteen: K'ang Yu-wei
Chapter Fourteen: Up From the Waters
Chapter Fifteen: The House of Pain
Chapter Sixteen: The Pearl Pavilion
Chapter Seventeen: Laughing at the Dog
Chapter Eighteen: The Good Wife

Part II: The Ninth Son

Chapter One: The Emperor Hui
Chapter Two: Exam and Envoy
Chapter Three: The Water Road
Chapter Four: The City of Minions
Chapter Five: The Wisteria Hall
Chapter Six: Yang Yu-yuan
Chapter Seven: Lakeside Tales
Chapter Eight: Crickets in the Mating Season
Chapter Nine: The Household Emissary
Chapter Ten: The Keepers
Chapter Eleven: Departure
Chapter Twelve: In Li Ch'eng's Country
Chapter Thirteen: Lord Nien-ho

Part III: The Prince of Ch'i

Chapter One: Something Amiss
Chapter Two: Ch'ang Lu-fei's Legacy
Chapter Three: The Emperor Ch'ing
Chapter Four: Han Tan
Chapter Five: At Nan-chang
Chapter Six: The Water Wheel
Chapter Seven: The Light Goes
Chapter Eight: In the Jade Emperor's Shadow

Afterword

Here's a few pull-quotes from reviewers of The Academician

"The Acadamician, Southern Swallow, by Edward C.Patterson is an absorbing tale written by a true China Hand." - Barbara Majoney

"Edward Patterson stretches his considerable talents in this daring novel that mixes history with fantasy. This story is a vivid, imaginative, and often humorous romp through a pivotal point in Chinese history. It has surprising power, with images that grab hold of you and don't let go." - Alan Chin - Examiner.com

"An excellent read from an amazing author." - ellen george, Top 1000 Amazon reviewers

"In The Academician, Edward C. Patterson takes the reader into the heart of 12th century China and the historical events that unfold. Patterson masterfully weaves in the fictional fantastic elements of the Jade Owl and the character of Li K'ai-men during the sweeping changes in China's dynasties centering around the great painter but ineffective Emperor Hui and his family." - Todd Fonseca, TMBOA.com

"The Academecian is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's one of those you want to go on and on - and Mr. Patterson is going to see that it does! This book is highly recommended to all readers who love adventures into history!" - Lila Pinord
Edward C. Patterson. M.A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Koland:

Thanks for asking. There is no gay theme in either series, however, some of the principle characters are gay and the difference and degree is striking between the series. Where The Jade Owl is set in the 21st Century, the gay characters are easily set in contemporary attitudes and motivations. In the Southern Swallow series, the protagonist is homosexual, and the reader will get a glimpse at how homosexuals dealt with it in 12th Century China, which is radically different than in the China of let's say of 15th Century (Ming) or the Manchu period (1633-1912). But I could not classify wither The Jade Owl legacy series or the Southern Swallow series as gay-themed.

Thank you
Edward C. Patterson, M.A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Gertie Kindle:

There will be four books in hhe series. The draft of the other three are in various states of completion and takes the story to 1180 (1127 - 1180), so it spans quite an exciting time period. The other books will hopefully emerge this year. The next one definitely will. Here are the other titles.

Book II - The Nan-tu
Book III - Swan Cloud
Book IV - The House of Green Waters

The first book is relatively short at 400 pages, which the others will most likely be 600-700 page tomes. The fantasy elements match to the history elements all adjunct to The Jade Owl series, but both series are distinct from each other. Of course, my main character and many of the principles are fictional, and like all of my books, they are character driven.

Hope that helps,

Edward C. Patterson
 

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edwpat said:
Gertie Kindle:

There will be four books in he series. The draft of the other three are in various states of completion and takes the story to 1180 (1127 - 1280), so it spans quite an exciting time period. The other books will hopefully emerge this year. The next one definitely will. Here are the other titles.

Book II - The Nan-tu
Book III - Swan Cloud
Book III - The House of Green Waters

The first book is relatively short at 400 pages, which the others will most likely be 600-700 page tomes. The fantasy elements match to the history elements all adjunct to The Jade Owl series, but both series are distinct from each other. Of course, my main character and many of the principles are fictional, and like all of my books, they are character driven.

Hope that helps,

Edward C. Patterson
Yes, thanks. I'll go ahead and sample. I try to read samples pretty quickly so I don't have a bunch cluttering up my home page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just recieved a four star review that will not be posted on Amazon, as it is from Rainboaw Reviews. Let me share it with you:

"Edward Patterson takes the reader deep into ancient China, during the Sung dynasty, when the Emperor was considered the "Son of Heaven" and vast armies trembled at his every whim. Out of this rich history comes the riveting journey of one man, Li K'ai-men, which begins at his graduation from an academy where he studied under a venerable master, to his rein over a province ruined by the previous corrupt administrators, to his appointment as Grand Tutor to the ninth son of the Emperor in the capital city of K'ai-feng. When warring hoards from the north threaten the safety of the realm, Li K'ai-men must use his sharp intelligence and a bit of magic to take extraordinary measures to save his life, his family, and liege lord. Li K'ai-men's journey, which includes a rather touching relationship with his male lover, Fu Lin-t'o, is told through the eyes of K'u Ko-ling, Li K'ai-men's rather clownish manservant who was the son of a cowcumber farmer.

Edward Patterson stretches his considerable talents in this daring novel that mixes history with fantasy. This story is a vivid, imaginative, and often humorous romp through a pivotal point in Chinese history. It has surprising power, with images that grab hold of you and don't let go. In the midst of this fanciful tale, Patterson creates a heartwarming gay love story. The love interest is not the main plot, however, but rather a tantalizing spice spread over the plot.

The author uses a technique that I have seen only once before. The narrator starts and finishes each chapter with his 1st person point of view, but the bulk of the story is told in 3rd person. I found these POV switches to be seamless, and greatly added to developing the depths of the main characters. This is a character driven story, and Patterson skillfully allows us see these characters to their core.

I had only two problems with this story. The first problem was that because there were a host of minor characters, and the Chinese names were somewhat confusing, I had some trouble telling them apart. The second issue was that this is the first novel in a series, which means that it sets the stage for much more story to come. I was left with a feeling of incompleteness, and somewhat miffed that I must wait for another installment or two to finish the story.

The plot is complex, which combines with his consummate skill at crafting prose and his well-researched details to keep the reader fully engaged until the last page. I would recommend this read to anyone who enjoys multifaceted characters, humor, and a well-crafted story."

- Alan Chin of Rainbow Reviews http://rainbow-reviews.com/?p=1283
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A footnote to The Academician

Southern Swallow and His Cut-Sleeve Affair

I received an inquiry from a reader of The Academician about the use of the term "cut-sleeve affair" when referring to homosexuality during the Sung (Song) Dynasty (12th Century) China, the setting for the novel. Perhaps I should have added a footnote in the book. However, the work is a "novel," not a textbook. Although the term, and another one, "sharing a peach," are clear in their application, I owe the non-sinological world an explanation.

Homosexuality in China has been regarded variously during its long and eventful history. Unlike in the West, none of China's traditional religions and philosophy regards homosexuality as a sin. However, in an agrarian Confucian society, there are certain obligations with relationships that homosexuality precludes - procreation being one. Homosexuality is not the only area that has been evaluated in light of fulfilling one's obligations to produce children. Buddhism has been subject to a similar and, actually greater hostility, until it modulated into its particularly Chinese brand of the religion. During Ancient times (Warring States and Han), homosexuality wasn't necessarily accepted, but it was broad based enough on the Imperial level that it was hard to ignore. The term "sharing a peach" came into vogue after a young man, Mi Tzi-xia, offered Duke Ling of the State of Wei a partially eaten, but juicy peach as an entrée to a same-sex relationship. More famous, and as such a more widely applied term, came with the young Emperor Ai, the last Western Han Emperor (9 CE), whose male concubine, Tung Xien, was prominent at court. As the Han Histories state it, Tung Xien fell asleep in Ai-tsung's arms and, rather than disturb his sleep, the Emperor had his robe sleeves cut away n order to depart. This term for homosexual relationships - a "cut sleeve affair" entered into common parlance since.

During the Sung (Song) Dynasty, the period of The Academician, there was ambivalence about "cut-sleeve affairs." In the novel (as it would be in life), Li K'ai-men does his Confucian duty, marries and cohabitates with his wife and produces two sons, as it should be. His male lover, Fu Lin-t'o, finds himself in a strange limbo between Li's love and his place in the Confucian order of things. He is not discriminated against and becomes part of the household, but still finds prejudices at every turn, even in the feng-shui notions of keeping heaven balanced. The Southern Swallow series is built around the long life of this cut-sleeve affair and its resilience against all odds. Homosexuality, as open and common, reached its zenith during the Ming Dynasty, when the court was as gay as King Frederick of Prussia's. There was also a brand of same-sex marriage in Fu-ch'ien Province referred to as "Fu-ch'ien Marriages." With the Manchu conquest in 1640 under the Ch'ing (Qing) Dynasty, homosexuality was dealt a blow. Anything suggesting Ming hedony was suppressed by the more conservative conquerors. While the Ch'ing were importing Western cannon and clocks, they also were importing Jesuit views on homosexuality. In 1740, the K'ang-xi Emperor proscribed homosexuality and it was criminalized (not by death, but with strokes with the bamboo rod). There has been much debate as to whether the new laws were enforced. Still, homosexuality was criminalized in China until 1997 and in Hong Kong until the repatriation in 2000.

So from earliest times to the present, China has had a different view of homosexuality than the rest of the world. It was never a wholesale endorsement, but like many other social institutions, it was required to conform to strict societal relationships, which it did better than some other peculiar Chinese dishes like Buddhism (an Indian import). The euphemisms "a cut-sleeve affair" and "sharing a peach" were used in polite reference, not like Western euphemisms (light in the sneakers etc.). One of my aims, amongst others, in authoring The Academician was to develop a tung-xing-lien (companionable relationship - the Chinese word for homosexuality) during a more enlightened age. The novels span between 1124 - 1172 CE, a time when Western civilization was searching through the mud for its sandals and homosexuality was punishable by lighting the fires and burning the sinners.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The next book in the series, The Nan Tu, centers on the wild historic events ith saving half of the Sung state, a mighty and definiting event in Chinese history that few in the West have realized.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For horror lover, the Academician includes an execution by slicing, which should satify the Stephen King in all of us.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For those who read The Jade Owl Legacy Series, there are many clues tht connect to the mysterious relics in that work in The Academician.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just received a humdigger of a 5-star review from one of Amazon.com's more prominent reviewers, Ellen George. Come up and take a peek.

The Academician - Southern Swallow Book I

a quote, and I'm blushing: "An excellent read from an amazing author."

I can hardly look at myself in the mirror. ;D Someone, put me down quick.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The mirror really broke, but I got good luck. Ellen George's review got picked up by The Deepening: The World of Fiction. So they plastered The Academician cover and review on their front page and made it sticky for 2 days. I'm all goose pimply (short for horripilated), because this book has been in the works for 37 years, and has been slow to take off. I haven't pushed it (except one sales a month ago), but some of the readers have been contacting me and making my 3.5 decade struggle with this one (and the next three parts - The Nan-tu, Swan Cloud and The House of Green Waters) worth it. I've always said, God is my agent and the reader is my publicist.

http://www.thedeepening.com/world-of-fiction/

Comments are Welcomed

Edward C. Patterson
 
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