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Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon’s henchm Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon’s henchmen kidnap Ada and conscript Ming into service for the Central Pacific Railroad. Battered, heartbroken, and yet defiant, Ming partners with a blind clairvoyant known only as the prophet. Together the two set out to rescue his wife and to exact revenge on the men who destroyed Ming, aided by a troupe of magic-show performers, some with supernatural powers, whom they meet on the journey. Ming blazes his way across the West, settling old scores with a single-minded devotion that culminates in an explosive and unexpected finale. Written with the violent ardor of Cormac McCarthy and the otherworldly inventiveness of Ted Chiang, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is at once a thriller, a romance, and a story of one man’s quest for redemption in the face of a distinctly American brutality.


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Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon’s henchm Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon’s henchmen kidnap Ada and conscript Ming into service for the Central Pacific Railroad. Battered, heartbroken, and yet defiant, Ming partners with a blind clairvoyant known only as the prophet. Together the two set out to rescue his wife and to exact revenge on the men who destroyed Ming, aided by a troupe of magic-show performers, some with supernatural powers, whom they meet on the journey. Ming blazes his way across the West, settling old scores with a single-minded devotion that culminates in an explosive and unexpected finale. Written with the violent ardor of Cormac McCarthy and the otherworldly inventiveness of Ted Chiang, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is at once a thriller, a romance, and a story of one man’s quest for redemption in the face of a distinctly American brutality.

30 review for The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    Ming Tsu is a sharpshooting enforcer who carries a rail spike sharpened to a mirror finish and a list of names he's killing his way through to ultimately reunite with his one true love. In author Ted Lin's hands the story clips along as Ming traverses the West leaving a bloody trail of bodies. Ming is Chinese American, orphaned as an infant and raised by the ruthless Silas Root. His ethnicity makes for a unique perspective on the traditional Western. At one point he slips in close to a target by Ming Tsu is a sharpshooting enforcer who carries a rail spike sharpened to a mirror finish and a list of names he's killing his way through to ultimately reunite with his one true love. In author Ted Lin's hands the story clips along as Ming traverses the West leaving a bloody trail of bodies. Ming is Chinese American, orphaned as an infant and raised by the ruthless Silas Root. His ethnicity makes for a unique perspective on the traditional Western. At one point he slips in close to a target by joining the Chinese immigrants who made up the majority of the workforce on the Central Pacific line. The $10K bounty on his head is advertised with a barely recognizable wanted sign that clearly illustrates that the predominantly white population can barely recognize him from any other Chinaman. He is perfectly invisible and equally ruthless. There's enough meat there to render a Tarantino-esque revenge narrative but Lin ups the ante when Ming comes across a travelling circus filled with miracles. There is the tattooed, shape-shifting Pacific Islander, the deaf and dumb young boy who can speak directly into other people's heads, the Navajo that can erase memories, the fireproof woman and the blind prophet who can determine your time of passing. And therein is my beef with the story. Aside from the fact that there wasn't a single sunrise or sunset that didn't warrant some sort of mention, Lin relegates these fantastical characters to mere color. This could have been a gritty Wild West X-Men story, an elaborate heist perpetrated by this motley crew of mutants, or an X-Force style killing team reaping wrongdoers across Nevada and California. But a small gripe in an otherwise pulpy bit of fun that I just flew through.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Truman32

    The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin begins as a revisionist western. Instead of a dapper Bret Maverick or James West, our protagonist is Ming Tsu, an orphaned Chinese immigrant who has been trained in the deadly art of assassination. He has been beaten, his wife taken from him and he has been enslaved, pounding rails for the Central Pacific Railroad. Ming talks like Clint Eastwood and is handy with a six-gun, so it seems obvious that retribution will be dealt out in hot lead. And then thi The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin begins as a revisionist western. Instead of a dapper Bret Maverick or James West, our protagonist is Ming Tsu, an orphaned Chinese immigrant who has been trained in the deadly art of assassination. He has been beaten, his wife taken from him and he has been enslaved, pounding rails for the Central Pacific Railroad. Ming talks like Clint Eastwood and is handy with a six-gun, so it seems obvious that retribution will be dealt out in hot lead. And then things get weird. And let me be clear: not a little weird like that weird little growth on the big toe of your left foot. But super crazy weird like that hideous monstrosity that sprouted on the big toe of my left foot. The one that is the color of Thousand Island dressing and has the texture of a Twinkie, smells like peanut butter, and will hiss at you if you poke it too hard. (Just reading this back makes me think maybe I should have my doctor check it out). The story was so strange I started to think maybe I was reading this too literally. Maybe The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu was a parable about the passing of time. Maybe it was a fable about the fleeting nature of memory. Maybe it was a not even a western at all but an honest to God allegory about Alzheimer’s disease. I was seized by fear. Just what the Hell had I brought into my family’s home? What have I exposed my loved ones to? I had no idea and that made me feel stupid. As anyone can tell you I do not need any book to make me look stupid. I have that covered by myself. Soon I was glaring at this book, it was giving me the ole stink eye back, and the growth on my toe kept spiting toxic acid at it. I began to suspect that maybe first time author Lin had no idea himself what his book was about or the purpose of the weirdness. While I enjoy magical realism and a little David Lynch in my entertainment, I felt this novel was a little too much. So three stars is all you’re getting Ming!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    well. i read the first 50 pages. and that was enough. i like to read, support debut writers. but this was like mish mush of all sort.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Martin

    Magic realism in a Weird Western is usually an unmitigated delight, but this complex novel reads more like a graphic novel minus the graphics. Ming is a rather wooden character, moving through the motions of revenge as he seeks for his lost love. Almost non-stop action, and very little character development as even the setting becomes mostly an obstacle on his quest. It's an interesting attempt, and I'm glad I finished, even though I found it a slow read--one more assassination, one more dead ho Magic realism in a Weird Western is usually an unmitigated delight, but this complex novel reads more like a graphic novel minus the graphics. Ming is a rather wooden character, moving through the motions of revenge as he seeks for his lost love. Almost non-stop action, and very little character development as even the setting becomes mostly an obstacle on his quest. It's an interesting attempt, and I'm glad I finished, even though I found it a slow read--one more assassination, one more dead horse, one more cryptic prophecy, ho-hum. Without a strong connection to the characters, the action was divorced from suspense.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janta

    I did not care for this book at all. The premise sounded really interesting, but the execution just didn't work for me. The prose itself often felt overwrought and needlessly flowery, with odd sentence composition. There were many instances where characters would be in conversation, and suddenly the text would switch from representing dialog to reporting it. There was also a lot of fairly gruesome violence (which, okay, it's a western revenge story...there's going to be some violence). I think th I did not care for this book at all. The premise sounded really interesting, but the execution just didn't work for me. The prose itself often felt overwrought and needlessly flowery, with odd sentence composition. There were many instances where characters would be in conversation, and suddenly the text would switch from representing dialog to reporting it. There was also a lot of fairly gruesome violence (which, okay, it's a western revenge story...there's going to be some violence). I think this book falls into the magical realism category, which is not my thing at all; there were certainly some things that were otherwise unexplained, and to me seemed pointless. The two women characters in the book were pretty flat and defined almost solely by their relationship to the main character.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie Bozza

    This is an excellent Western novel, and brought all the essential elements of the genre into full life. I very much enjoyed reading it. So it seems a little sad to say that I wanted more from it, too. The main character, Ming Tsu, is Chinese, and is a solid reminder that a Western hero (or antihero) needn't be white. The story and the setting still work perfectly well, and please let's see more of it in books, films and TV shows! The problem, for me, is that Ming was orphaned as a baby and raise This is an excellent Western novel, and brought all the essential elements of the genre into full life. I very much enjoyed reading it. So it seems a little sad to say that I wanted more from it, too. The main character, Ming Tsu, is Chinese, and is a solid reminder that a Western hero (or antihero) needn't be white. The story and the setting still work perfectly well, and please let's see more of it in books, films and TV shows! The problem, for me, is that Ming was orphaned as a baby and raised by a white man. Ming doesn't speak Mandarin, and he emphatically does not empathise or identify with "Chinamen". It seemed to me that he might as well have been white, and even though he's the main character it wouldn't really have changed the nature of the story. These sorts of characters are always outsiders, whatever their race. The most delightful and interesting character, for me, was Ming's sidekick and guide, the Prophet - who did indeed feel intrinsically Chinese. But the Prophet might have attached himself to the main character for any number of (unknowable) reasons, whether the latter was Chinese or not. So, I loved this novel, and heartily recommend it. But I'd love to see authors leaning in even further to working with the multi-race culture of the Old West and writing non-white protagonists.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I'll say one thing for Mr. Lin's debut . . . he delivers on that title. In fact, it may be an undercount. Otherwise, it's rare that I can be doubly disappointed by a book. The first letdown is that "The Thousand" et al is not a novel about anti-Asian discrimination in the late 19th century, which is the impression I got from a brief interview I read. The second letdown is that, on its own merits, "The Thousand" blah blah blah just isn't very good. The sentences are so Hemingway-esque that I said I'll say one thing for Mr. Lin's debut . . . he delivers on that title. In fact, it may be an undercount. Otherwise, it's rare that I can be doubly disappointed by a book. The first letdown is that "The Thousand" et al is not a novel about anti-Asian discrimination in the late 19th century, which is the impression I got from a brief interview I read. The second letdown is that, on its own merits, "The Thousand" blah blah blah just isn't very good. The sentences are so Hemingway-esque that I said "go catch a fish" out loud at one point. The violence is so repetitive that it becomes mundane, which may be the point, although if that's the case I got it on page 10. And the story is so full of tropes it feels assembled. There's a blind prophet (is there any other kind?). There's a tender-hearted orphan boy (as are they all). And did I mention that half the characters have superpowers (because who DOESN'T anymore)? Worst of all, the main character falls asleep and dreams in every other chapter, and we read all about it. Not sure if it's lazy storytelling or lazy plot development. Maybe both, which is at least efficient. Some of the violence is kind of fun, though, so it eeks out an extra star from me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    A really difficult read, which I eventually packed up, and probably should have done so earlier. There isn't sufficient depth to the characters, and it is almost devoid of humour. A really difficult read, which I eventually packed up, and probably should have done so earlier. There isn't sufficient depth to the characters, and it is almost devoid of humour.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dewey1174outlook.Com

    Worst book ever I cannot believe I was enticed by the hype for a book this bad. The only thing that kept me reading is I thought it could only get better. Didn’t happen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    A Must Read of a man out of bounds. •“Violence will find the man out of bounds,” the prophet intoned. “Here or elsewhere, hidden or exposed. He tugs on the world like a lodestone.”• This story was great fun. Reminded me with its feel of a literary Quintin Tarantino movie - and the books are always better. 🙃 •“These men you seek will die. But their times are not yet come, and will not come soon. All men are invulnerable before their time.”• Ming Tsu is a Chinaman in the west, at a time the railroads A Must Read of a man out of bounds. •“Violence will find the man out of bounds,” the prophet intoned. “Here or elsewhere, hidden or exposed. He tugs on the world like a lodestone.”• This story was great fun. Reminded me with its feel of a literary Quintin Tarantino movie - and the books are always better. 🙃 •“These men you seek will die. But their times are not yet come, and will not come soon. All men are invulnerable before their time.”• Ming Tsu is a Chinaman in the west, at a time the railroads are being built and a horse and a gun meet a man’s needs, especially this man with a quest for death to those who wronged him. •“A man is immortal until the moment of his death. And then he is vulnerable to all things. But until this moment he lives forever, and nothing in all creation can lay him low.”• Ming is a dangerous man, a good man to some and bad to others, spurred by his quest over a woman. Except it’s not really about a woman, as none of them truly ever are. I thoroughly enjoyed this book with it’s varied layers and perfect ending, and highly recommend this feast for the imagination.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz Davidson

    This book was an interesting mashup of many different tropes. A classic western where a wronged man finds his enemies one by one in a quest for revenge. A strange crew of showpeople who really can perform miracles. Untrustworthy criminals who are allies one moment and enemies the next. A blind prophet. It all comes together in a way that is engaging, but also a little too stilted. Our main man, Ming Tsu, has many opportunities to grow and change as a character, but he really doesn't. The other c This book was an interesting mashup of many different tropes. A classic western where a wronged man finds his enemies one by one in a quest for revenge. A strange crew of showpeople who really can perform miracles. Untrustworthy criminals who are allies one moment and enemies the next. A blind prophet. It all comes together in a way that is engaging, but also a little too stilted. Our main man, Ming Tsu, has many opportunities to grow and change as a character, but he really doesn't. The other characters are also a bit flat, and seem to exist only to either help Ming along or be killed by him. So for me, several aspects of this novel that were never going to be completely satisfying. At the same time, there are really stunning moments in this book. Tom Lin's writing is fabulous, and his descriptions of landscapes, parched throats, dead bodies, and tired horses are captivating. His musings on memory, the body, and the passage of time are also pushing at something deeper than a traditional western yarn. I'll be on the lookout for whatever he writes next.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janessa

    So, apparently Westerns focusing on Chinese American characters is a wheelhouse of mine? “How Much of These Hills is Gold” was one of my favorite books last year, and this one was extremely different but also amazing. Interestingly enough, both books took me about 25 percent to really get into and then I fell completely in love with the writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David

    Unique, mystical, violent, richly detailed. A little something for everyone in this wild debut novel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ron Welton

    The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, opens like a traditional Western. The protagonist, Ming Tsu, wronged by some monstrous injustice is seeking revenge by gun fight. He moves through the salt dessert of the American West, sleeping by campfire under the stars. The novel moves out of the genre, though, when he meets his first adversary. After killing and robbing him, Ming calls out for "the prophet." The blind, ageless, prophet does not remember Ming - he has no memory at all - but, he has power to The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, opens like a traditional Western. The protagonist, Ming Tsu, wronged by some monstrous injustice is seeking revenge by gun fight. He moves through the salt dessert of the American West, sleeping by campfire under the stars. The novel moves out of the genre, though, when he meets his first adversary. After killing and robbing him, Ming calls out for "the prophet." The blind, ageless, prophet does not remember Ming - he has no memory at all - but, he has power to know the death of all men. He joins Ming, whom he refers to as "my child." From this point in the novel onward, reality is abandoned for the most part and memory and the lack of memory play an ever increasing role in the plot. Tom Lin is a talented writer with a polished literary style to his narrative; however, it is wasted with this insipid plot and gratuitous violence.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    A Western revenge tale with Magical Realism. I'm not a big fan of westerns, but I am a fan of revenge and magical realism. But I ended up enjoying the western element the most, it's rough and ready and arse-kicking. The revenge element was always at the forefront, but wasn't, in the end, all the interesting. It was more about how Ming Tsu fits into the world... A man, out of time. I like the travelling show characters. They're all unique and interesting. The action is mostly relentless, but it's A Western revenge tale with Magical Realism. I'm not a big fan of westerns, but I am a fan of revenge and magical realism. But I ended up enjoying the western element the most, it's rough and ready and arse-kicking. The revenge element was always at the forefront, but wasn't, in the end, all the interesting. It was more about how Ming Tsu fits into the world... A man, out of time. I like the travelling show characters. They're all unique and interesting. The action is mostly relentless, but it's the moments of quiet that give this book some substance. Worth reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    Made no sense to me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a rollicking, inventive, and shocking Western with a Chinese-American main character. I'm not much for westerns, so take my review as you will! However--this sounded intriguing. There is some violence--it's a Western!--but it's not overly graphic. The racism faced by Ming is both outward and subtle, from actual slurs to people refusing to call him by his real name. I can see the ending being quite divisive and determining the reader's ultimate opinion of the book. It's quite tra Read if you: Want a rollicking, inventive, and shocking Western with a Chinese-American main character. I'm not much for westerns, so take my review as you will! However--this sounded intriguing. There is some violence--it's a Western!--but it's not overly graphic. The racism faced by Ming is both outward and subtle, from actual slurs to people refusing to call him by his real name. I can see the ending being quite divisive and determining the reader's ultimate opinion of the book. It's quite tragic--this does not end happily. Tom Lin is definitely an author to watch! Many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    I am a sucker for a Western, especially a newly written, fresh take. This book does a great job making you think about the injustices dealt to Chinese workers in the 19th century who were treated terribly while they built the railroad infrastructure in the U.S.'s western territories. Ming Tsu, an orphan who was raised by a white man who groomed him to become his personal assassin, finds himself alone and suffering on a railroad work gang after having survived the violent abduction of his white w I am a sucker for a Western, especially a newly written, fresh take. This book does a great job making you think about the injustices dealt to Chinese workers in the 19th century who were treated terribly while they built the railroad infrastructure in the U.S.'s western territories. Ming Tsu, an orphan who was raised by a white man who groomed him to become his personal assassin, finds himself alone and suffering on a railroad work gang after having survived the violent abduction of his white wife, Ada. He's hardened to the world, an experienced killer, and he has revenge on his mind. Along with an elderly prophet also stuck on the work gang, Ming Tsu escapes and begins his vengeful odyssey across the brutal, racist western territories, encountering many a one-note lawman, various posses, and ne're-do-wells. He teams up with a traveling entertainment troupe with some secrets of their own and gets close to several of its members as he winds his way back to where his wife is being held. While this novel is unrelentingly grim and brutal, it's also a fierce reminder that the force of one singular will against seemingly insurmountable odds can and does eventually triumph. Though in the case of Ming Tsu, perhaps that victory is somewhat hollow. Just to exist in this landscape, he has to kill -- over and over again. Unlike the vast majority of Chinese men in the West during that time period, Ming Tsu has the agency to brutally defeat the status quo, which in his case is white guys with guns hellbent on capturing or killing him. The tragedy in his story is that from infancy he's been a "man out of bounds", as his traveling companion, the Prophet, refers to him. He has never quite belonged. He was born in the territories that would become the U.S., but because of his Chinese ethnicity, has never been accepted as a fellow Westerner by the white settlers in those regions. This is a satisfying read for those who enjoy a straight-forward revenge tale. If you like the movie "High Plains Drifter", this book is definitely for you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Serge

    An excellent short story turned into a pretty good novel and probably some day a decent Netflix original. Part I of The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is polished and immaculate with remarkable, crisp prose ( A body must go through the world traceless... But a bastard like Ambrose left traces, as a serpent casts off his clouded skin) . Ming's travel companion, The Prophet, steals the show with philosophical aplomb (A man is immortal until the moment of his death). Constructed loosely as a revenge w An excellent short story turned into a pretty good novel and probably some day a decent Netflix original. Part I of The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is polished and immaculate with remarkable, crisp prose ( A body must go through the world traceless... But a bastard like Ambrose left traces, as a serpent casts off his clouded skin) . Ming's travel companion, The Prophet, steals the show with philosophical aplomb (A man is immortal until the moment of his death). Constructed loosely as a revenge western, this novel operates under the assumption that death is always a mercy. The supporting cast in Part 2 (Proteus, the ventriloquist deaf boy, the fireproof woman, Notah and Gomez) clutter the narrative's path to perdition with too many overwritten descriptions (They rode through those incandescent days like a party of shadows, keeping the river at their flank). Part 3 is rushed and at times hackneyed ( such as the Num 23:23 reference "What hath man wrought?"). The Huxton Gang episode is too clever by half and the albino red cougar episode drawn from a shaman toolkit. Too many bullets trace too many arcs and "Return" becomes a caricature of a meaningful dispatch. Man out of bounds fights free but the reader has stopped caring well before the final improbable gun battle.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian Grover

    Really surprising how flat this book falls. It's a western, and a revenge story, following a Chinese American hit man who has been betrayed by his father-in-law and shipped off to do hard labor building the transcontinental railroad. He escapes, and spends the rest of the book crossing names off his Arya Stark-esque list of the men who upended his life. That sounds super fun! Well, it's not. It's a weirdly joyless slog, with a cipher of a title character who never feels three dimensional at all. Really surprising how flat this book falls. It's a western, and a revenge story, following a Chinese American hit man who has been betrayed by his father-in-law and shipped off to do hard labor building the transcontinental railroad. He escapes, and spends the rest of the book crossing names off his Arya Stark-esque list of the men who upended his life. That sounds super fun! Well, it's not. It's a weirdly joyless slog, with a cipher of a title character who never feels three dimensional at all. The plotting is poor here - Ming Tsu falls in with a circus caravan that hires him to transport them safely through Indian country, but they never actually put on any shows, and he brings way more danger to the group than they would have encountered without him. This is because, even though Ming Tsu was hand picked by his mentor because "white people never look at the Chinese, and can't tell one from another", everywhere he goes he is immediately recognized as a mass murderer and people start shooting at them. He's given spiritual assistance in his quest, first by a blind Chinese prophet that literally can predict everything the future holds, then by an albino mountain lion, and he's devoutly supported by the circus folk he travels with, even though he does nothing to earn anyone's loyalty or support. Basically he's a villain that for some reason gets treated like a hero throughout the book. This was a cool idea in theory, but in practice it's a mess of a book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charmaine

    The writing was exceptional; however about halfway through the story, I lost any caring for the main character. I was sympathetic to his plight up until that point. I just skimmed the book until the last 10%. Anticlimactic at the end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    4.25 did not expect this. Wow. A little rough. Not for everyone. But it was for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    Beautifully written, especially the descriptions of the landscape, but the plot is definitely not my jam. I find the ending problematic at best.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Boris Feldman

    This is the best novel I've read in 2021. Dr. Fu Manchu Meets Paladin! An old-style Western with an Asian-fusion flair and a touch of magic. This is the best novel I've read in 2021. Dr. Fu Manchu Meets Paladin! An old-style Western with an Asian-fusion flair and a touch of magic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I could not put this book down. The dialogue is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, and violence abounds (I'm not usually into violence, but I had to know what would happen!). The story opens with Ming Tsu near the start of his quest for revenge; his backstory is told in bits and pieces, and his goal is clear-to reunite with the wife who was taken from him. If you like genre-blending (or genre-defying!) stories with a very unusual cast of characters, this is one to try. Romance, revenge, I could not put this book down. The dialogue is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, and violence abounds (I'm not usually into violence, but I had to know what would happen!). The story opens with Ming Tsu near the start of his quest for revenge; his backstory is told in bits and pieces, and his goal is clear-to reunite with the wife who was taken from him. If you like genre-blending (or genre-defying!) stories with a very unusual cast of characters, this is one to try. Romance, revenge, history, American West, mystery, adventure, a bit of supernatural-fantasy, philosophy...and did I mention the violence? I can imagine this novel being adapted as a graphic novel for adults; the descriptions of place and action are quite vivid.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sean Owen

    "The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu" could be put into the category of unconventional westerns. Like a lot of westerns the main character is a gunslinger anti-hero. What sets him apart however is that he's Chinese. Unlike many westerns where the massive number of Chinese immigrants involved in building the railroad are completely absent, Lin moves them to the front in this book. There's a lot of violence and gore and the book carries the bleak tone of Cormac McCarthy's westerns. It's well written a "The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu" could be put into the category of unconventional westerns. Like a lot of westerns the main character is a gunslinger anti-hero. What sets him apart however is that he's Chinese. Unlike many westerns where the massive number of Chinese immigrants involved in building the railroad are completely absent, Lin moves them to the front in this book. There's a lot of violence and gore and the book carries the bleak tone of Cormac McCarthy's westerns. It's well written and a breath of fresh air from a typical western.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martha Samsell

    Grisley book about a man who commit crime all the time. Too creepy for me. DNF'd the book. Grisley book about a man who commit crime all the time. Too creepy for me. DNF'd the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mel Phillips

    Beautifully gory and beyond vivid. Look no further for your next gripping, sexy cowboy fantasy, featuring: Ming Tsu, a ruthlessly determined outlaw with just a pistol and a sharpened railroad spike, who encounters an intriguing collection of individuals with unique abilities on his quest for love and justice. Highly recommend checking out this book!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Koltnow

    Tom Lin is a writer to watch. His virgin effort has a sense of pace, with some vivid descriptions, but not much else in the way of narrative and character development. There is little in the way of context. Another reviewer here says it better than I can. The ARC compares it to Cormac McCarthy but it is more like the Joe R. Lansdale of THE MAGIC WAGON. Lin is no Lansdale but he can grow.

  30. 4 out of 5

    C.J. Shane

    Imagine the American West in the 19th century. Ming Tsu is an assassin, the adopted son of a crime boss who trained him. Ming Tsu marries his white sweetheart Ada, only to see her abducted by her rich, powerful father and his men, who cannot abide her marrying a Chinaman. Ming Tsu is then forced to become a laborer on the transcontinental railroad, which means he is treated like dirt, along with thousands of other Chinese immigrant laborers. Ming Tsu escapes and sets out to rescue his beloved wi Imagine the American West in the 19th century. Ming Tsu is an assassin, the adopted son of a crime boss who trained him. Ming Tsu marries his white sweetheart Ada, only to see her abducted by her rich, powerful father and his men, who cannot abide her marrying a Chinaman. Ming Tsu is then forced to become a laborer on the transcontinental railroad, which means he is treated like dirt, along with thousands of other Chinese immigrant laborers. Ming Tsu escapes and sets out to rescue his beloved wife and to take revenge on those who took her from him. In his travels, Ming Tsu is soon accompanied by a blind Chinese man, the Prophet, who can see into the future. The Prophet can accurately predict who will live and who will die - Ming Tsu being the exception because the Prophet says Ming is a “man out of bounds.” Ming Tsu and the Prophet join a traveling magic show with some unique characters: a Native American who can transform bad memories into dreams, a woman who is immune to the effects of fire, and a child who cannot speak or hear but can put his words into the heads of anyone willing to “listen.” And later, Ming Tsu meets a white cougar who helps him survive his journey. Many reviewers have referred to this book as an example of magical realism. For me, though, reading about Ming Tsu’s journey west reminded me more of wuxia tales from ancient China. The difference is that the Chinese warrior Ming Tsu has traded his martial arts for a six-shooter as he journeys to bring justice to the world. The otherworldly aspects of this story reminded me also of science-fantasy author and Hugo-award winner. N.K. Jemisin. Yes, this is a historical novel. But it is so much more. The otherworldly aspects of the American West, its beauty and harshness, are lyrically described. We are reminded constantly that the natural world dominates even if we don’t often recognize that – until it’s too late, that is. This book is violent because, after all, Ming Tsu is an accomplished assassin and he’s on a mission to exact revenge. Yet even the violence itself often takes on an almost surreal aspect. Along the way, we begin to learn more about Ming Tsu’s character, and we begin to find some empathy for him. When he finally finds his wife, everything takes an unexpected turn. Also for those of you wondering how to pronounce “Tsu,” try the pinyin transliteration, not the Wade-Giles. Pinyin for “Tsu” is “Zu” which sounds rather like the English word “zoo.” Ming Zu. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is original, compelling, and thought provoking. Highly recommended.

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