Review Blog

Sep 23 2010

Wicked warriors and evil emperors: the true story of the fight for Ancient China by Alison Lloyd

cover image

Ill. by Terry Denton. Penguin, 2010. ISBN 9780143304340.
(Age 8+) Recommended. Alison Lloyd has followed in the footsteps of the 'Horrible histories' to tell the story of the rise and fall of the Qin Empire. Her narrative is peppered with anecdotes, descriptions of life at court, interesting facts, quizzes and sage advice from authors of the period. The result looks deceptively like a grab-bag of information but actually builds a convincing picture of a civilisation that was the contemporary of Ancient Rome.
The author's style has a light and comic touch. As some of the material is gruesome, her tongue-in-cheek humour is a welcome relief without being insensitive. Despite her conversational style and the absence of a bibliography, Alison Lloyd adheres to the conventions of historical writing, making it clear when documentary evidence is not available and details are based on conjecture. She may have drawn on her own experience of living in China to provide guides to pronunciation and has adopted the curious but effective practice of explaining the meanings of words in footnotes instead of a glossary. The book ends with a timeline, a guide to principal characters and a thoughtful assessment of the Qin dynasty's legacy which includes the origin of the name of modern China.
Terry Denton's pen and ink cartoons illustrate nearly every page, finding what humour can be derived from 'wicked weapons', executions and imperial pomposity.
The opening line states:
'History is bloody, funny, exciting and grim. It can also be dangerous.'
Alison Lloyd could have added that history is entertaining and educational. Her book succeeds on both counts.
Elizabeth Bor

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates