| November 18, 2016


Romance, adventure, drama, and history meld in the sweeping Asian saga Nanyang – now republished with a comprehensive guide to the book’s fictional characters and historical figures.
It is an epic tale spanning a period of 200 years during which corrupt colonialists and venal indigenous leaders vied with Chinese immigrants to exploit the region’s natural resources with little regard for the suffering of the rural poor. This was a time that saw the main European powers extend their rivalry from their immediate environs to India, South-East Asia and China, where there were strategic and economic prizes to be won.

This story of love, tragedy, avarice and brutality begins in the mid seventeenth century, when Dutch soldiers and officials sent by ship from Batavia to acquire laborers for the Java settlement seize a young woman, Mei Ling, from a village in Fujian, China, along with scores of men. Seventeen-year-old Mei Ling is kidnapped  at the behest of a lecherous Dutch official, who organizes a mutiny when the ship’s captain places her under his protection.

Nanyang follows the adventures of Mei Ling and her brother, who sets out to rescue her, and their descendants amid land and sea battles of warring nations, natural disasters and rampant disease. They are caught up in historical events (in Europe as well as South-East Asia), in which notable English, Dutch and Javanese figures play their real-life roles. The story begins in China and ends soon after the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles, who features in the book along with other personalities of the period, including Horatio Nelson and Captain James Cook.

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