Dragon Bones

A Novel
By: Lisa See
Narrated by: Janet Song
Series: Red Princess Mysteries, Book 3
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (157 ratings)

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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 members say
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
    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.

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    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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another excellent novel by Lisa See<br />

I enjoyed this novel as I have every one written by Lisa See. I look forward to more in the near future.

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

digging for ancestors

not personal enough no real story about the characters. would have liked more in depth history

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring as Hell.

I couldn't even make it through the first half. Way too much detail completely hid the story line. The performance was slow and very monotone which added to the difficulty in listening and following. The China setting with all the little detail added was really difficult to take. People expect a murder/ mystery to move faster and be much more exciting. A good example is "The Body".