• Dragon Bones

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa See
  • Narrated by: Janet Song
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (196 ratings)

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Dragon Bones

By: Lisa See
Narrated by: Janet Song
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Publisher's Summary

When the body of an American archaeologist is found floating in the Yangzi River, Ministry of Public Security agent Liu Hulan and her husband, American attorney David Stark, are dispatched to Site 518 to investigate. As Hulan scrutinizes this death—or is it a murder?—David, on behalf of the National Relics Bureau, tries to discover who has stolen from the site an artifact that may prove to the world China’s claim that it is the oldest uninterrupted civilization on earth.

This artifact is not only an object of great monetary value but one that is emblematic of the very soul of China. Everyone—from the Chinese government, to a religious cult, to an unscrupulous American art collector—wants this relic, and some, it seems, may be willing to kill to get it. At stake in this investigation is control of China’s history and national pride, and even stability between China and the United States.

The troubled Hulan must overcome her own fears of failure, while David tries desperately to break through the shell that has built up around his wife. As Hulan and David are enmeshed in international schemes for power and the turbulence of their own relationship, these hunters after the truth become the hunted—in a fast-driving narrative set against the backdrop of the building of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest and most expensive project China has undertaken since the Great Wall and the subject of great international debate. It is here, in the heart of the Three Gorges, that David and Hulan will battle their enemies and their own natures to see who will win China’s dragon bones.

Dragon Bones combines ancient myth with contemporary anxieties concerning religious fanaticism and terrorism to tell a story of love, betrayal, history, ecology, greed—and gory murder.

©2004 Lisa See (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

“Mixing history, myths, and current events, Dragon Bones is an extraordinarily rich novel. It reveals the emotional and economical entanglement of China with the West, and tells a story of violence, lust, greed, fear, and desperation. The novel not only is a page-turner but is also timely.” (Ha Jin, author of Waiting and The Crazed)
"See succeeds in widening the reader's knowledge about the politics and culture of contemporary China while racing along with an absorbing story." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Dragon Bones

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best of the Hulan Series... EXCELLENT!

Dragon Bones, the third of Lisa See's thrillers starring Detective Hulan, left me wanting more. The story, set in in the Three Gorges in interior China, entertwines Chinese history, mythology and intrigue with religious fanaticism, deceit and murder. I was fascinated by the characters and was surprised as the story came to together in the final chapters.

Many mysteries are predictable - this one is not!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Thriller - keeps you going

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Interesting concept using two detectives of different nationalities, who love each other, but have to deal with restrictions and blockages of the Chinese government. New approach to political interventions in crime.

Any additional comments?

Well written. A good story which gives you additional things to think about.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lisa never disappoints.

Well written historical fiction. Many insights culturally, historically, philosophically and human. Great narration as always.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Story of Love, Loss and Resolve

Another strong Lisa See book. It brings out emotion with plenty of China history. Another great read!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Flat, gory, and humourless

The story about the exploitation of artifacts for political power has potential but the characters are ultra-bland and unappealing, and the whole novel takes itself way too seriously. The ridiculously graphic murder scenes are both dumb and gross. There’s nothing the narrator does, or could do, to help.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I bow to Lisa See’s great prowess

Brilliantly wrought. Brilliantly performed. Heartening and well worth additional listens...

Brilliantly wrought. Brilliantly performed. Heartening

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I tried to like it....

I found this book to be very dry until about the last hour or two... where it suddenly heats up and in fact becomes quite gruesome. I kept hoping that it was going to hook me earlier... so kept listening. I felt like the book was too focused on weaving the twists and lost site of really allowing us to get to the heart of the characters... and therefore, I just didn't care.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A satisfying end to the Red Princess trilogy

You know a book series is good, when you really want to know what happens to the characters afterward. Lisa See's Red Princess Mysteries trilogy (Flower Net, The Interior, dragon Bones) comes to a bang-up conclusion in this book, but the vivid characters of Liu Hulan and David Stark will stay with you and make you wish there was a fourth book.

This story is very much high adventure, with an ending that has both melodramatic confrontations and a deep dive into Chinese history. There are many twists and turns in the plot, so carefully written that the reader is really a step ahead of the characters. I kept interrupting the reading to go to Wikipedia and look up some of the historical persons and artifacts discussed. As always, Lisa See has carefully researched her story, and then embedded the research into a rollicking great adventure. Read the trilogy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good book, monotone performance

The almost monotone narration on this book was the greatest roadblock to listening to this story. Interesting subject kept me hanging in until the end.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

slow start, wooden performance

The book redeemed itself in the end, but the flat, wooden reading made it a bit painful until the second half. Worth it in the end, but I might not have finished if not for it being our book club selection.