The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin is described as a blend of the “violent ardor of Cormac McCarthy” and the “otherworldly inventiveness of Ted Chiang”. In an early blurb, Jonathan Lethem name-checks a number of comparators, including the Coen Brothers and Ray Bradbury. An intriguing mix. The novel is “a thriller, a romance, and a story of one man’s quest for redemption in the face of a distinctly American brutality”. Quite looking forward to giving this a try. Here’s the full synopsis:
An astounding debut that reimagines the classic Western through the eyes of a Chinese American assassin on a quest to rescue his kidnapped wife and exact his revenge on her abductors
Orphaned as a boy, 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 Union Pacific Railroad.
Battered, heartbroken, and yet defiant, Ming partners with a clairvoyant old man known only as the Prophet. Together the two set out to rescue his wife and to exact revenge on the men who destroyed him, aided by a troupe of magic-show performers, some with supernatural powers, whom they meet on the journey. Ming fights his way across the West, settling old scores with a single-minded devotion that culminates in an explosive and unexpected finale.
Tom Lin’s The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is due to be published by Little, Brown in North America and in the UK, on June 1st, 2021.
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