A Scottish botanist becomes an unlikely undercover operative, tasked with assuming a Chinese identity and spiriting priceless tea seedlings out of China and into India, or more to the point,
from a country resistant to British influence to one under British control. Along the way, musings about public health,economics and dietary preferences add to the narrative.
Interesting and enjoyable to read, especially for those who can't live without tea.
It is basically a fun book to read, especially for a one with some fundamental understanding on Tea culture of China. The title described the process of the first tea seedlings transferred to the territory outside China in pretty much detail. This single incident made a great impact on botanical development, and an even greater one on the Sino-British trade balance. To some extent, this "tea adventure" caused re-distribution of power between Britain, East India Company, China and some other related countries, regions.
Most of the book covered the story of Robert Fortune's exploration for Tea secrets in China (for espionage). They are interesting. But to me, the most exciting part of the book is surely the Ch. 17 and 18, describing the fall of East India Company, and the "Tea Relevance" to Britain and to industry, trade development, tech innovation, or even the national competence. But, for such a reader like me, there're still some other books to be found to get a whole lot more on such Tea Impact, which would be as dramatic as the Fortune's adventure, if not more.
A strange book: not a novel, not a history book. I wonder who's the audience for this book: too difficult for those who likes historic novels (because this book isn't), too "easy" for the passionate history readers, because the author decided not to give the source of her quotation - and this is something you normally don't, when you're writing a history book. However the idea is very interesting and I enjoyed reading this book....Continua