Finally finished this last of the 8 volumes. Very nice and smooth ending. After writing it since the 80s, the author is able to rectify some minor but significant error in presenting Chinese material., eg the way to address the emperor before and after his death. Also, the ending and behavior of the characters become more chinese in style instead of very Japanese.
I guess Japanese would love the theme, flow and ending of this story. Japanese's founder of a sect of Buddism, being the top in China and cleverer than all of chinese, and able to help and guide a few of the famous chinese they knew, Liao zhongyuan, Han Yu, and Bai LeTian. The most popular and beloved Poem by Bai was conceived with a Japanese inspiration. And the story completed the missing link in the legend of Lady Yang and the famous Japanese Senator and Lady Yang fleeing to Japan. This is the classical most beloved plot employed by Steven Spielberg, Tsui Hark and Ngai Hong and Jin Yong in their works.......revitalising some ancient folklores.
There is no doubt that there is great improvement in the author's understanding of China , Tang and the Silk Road Civilisation, with the passage of time and his repeated visiting of the site.
His expounding of Buddhism, Spell, Magic are interesting, and an attraction on its own. However, I am a bit disappointed that his exploration of taoist and silk road witchcraft and magic did not go beyond that of YinYang Taoism.
All great works of him, the of the Head Tomb, Old Man, and this book, all ended with a magnificent music, dance scene, which is graceful and serene , showing typical unification of dance, music with the universe. This is the long-missing since the Chinese pre Chin era in Zhou and Spring Autumn era unto Tang dynasty nicely preserved in Japan and Korea. Hopeful this will revive with peace and prosperity.
短歌行 其一 曹操