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  • The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

  • By: Tom Lin
  • Narrated by: Feodor Chin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (386 ratings)

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The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

By: Tom Lin
Narrated by: Feodor Chin
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Publisher's summary

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

Finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award

A Chinese American assassin sets out to rescue his kidnapped wife and exact revenge on her abductors in this New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice: a twist on the classic Western from "an astonishing new voice" (Jonathan Lethem).

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.

"In Tom Lin's novel, the atmosphere of Cormac McCarthy's West, or that of the Coen Brothers' True Grit, gives way to the phantasmagorical shades of Ray Bradbury, Charles Finney's The Circus of Dr. Lao, and Katherine Dunn's Geek Love. Yet The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu has a velocity and perspective all its own, and is a fierce new version of the Westward Dream." —Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn

©2021 Tom Lin (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company

Critic reviews

“Eminently entertaining…. There's a lot to love in this expansive debut novel from Tom Lin. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is a truly cinematic Western. Its vistas and action sequences are perfectly designed for fans of graphic novels and the big screen alike. Similarly, the body count is crafted for an audience that enjoys adrenaline's pulse in its ears. Lin's wordcraft is deft and painterly, whether he's describing a fight scene or a desert…an important, vivid story, with characters led through the landscape by the demands of its plot…. I hope we see more of all these stories from Tom Lin in the future.” (NPR)

"Impressive…. As a kind of redemptive imaginative act, Lin has created a poetic and cinematic story centered on a Chinese American sharpshooter.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Part revenge fantasy, part classic bloody tale of the Old West. In this book, things return - people, oceans, violence - but remembering is a choice and the body bears the cost.... In this unforgiving landscape, which Lin vividly and meticulously describes in prose whose music is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s, even a rainstorm can take on mythical proportions.” (New York Times Book Review)

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