"[The Water Margin] is a great pageant of China. I think it is one of the most magnificent pageants ever made of any people." —Pearl S. Buck
The Water Margin is an epic tale set in 12th century Imperial China, and is one of the earliest and greatest masterpieces of Chinese fiction. Weaving together historical details and memorable characters, it tells the exciting story of a rebellion against tyranny set amidst the turmoil of a crumbling empire.
In this action-packed story, a desperate band of outlaws are drawn together by fate and a shared desire for justice. They are pursued to remote marshes near Liangshan Mountain by corrupt officials, where their popularity among the local populace only grows. Through intricate schemes, epic battles, narrow escapes and unexpected treachery, the heroes vow to fight to the death for freedom and for their loyalty and love for one another.
The book's intriguing cast of characters, all revered folk heroes in China today, includes:
Song Jiang: The charismatic leader of the rebellion, who assembles the band of outcasts and leads them into battle against overwhelming odds
Sun Erniang: A determined female warrior whose courage inspires her male comrades
Wu Song: Fierce and audacious, with a reputation matched only by his love of wine and women
Pan Jinliang: A beautiful and mysterious temptress known as one of the most notorious villains in Chinese literature
Famous for its bawdy language, this new edition restores passages omitted in all other English versions because they were thought to be too racy. A detailed introduction by Edwin Lowe explains how the book's core message of courage and loyalty has captured the imagination of Chinese readers and continues to resonate with them today.
About the Author: Shi Naian is considered one of the greatest writers in the history of Chinese literature. In addition to authoring The Water Margin, he was the mentor to Lo Kuan-chung, author of the monumental work Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
J. H. Jackson came to China as a Presbyterian missionary. His translation of The Water Margin is the first complete one to follow the text of the Chinese original closely.
Edwin Lowe is a publisher and educator with over 20 years of experience in the field of Asian Studies. He has taught at Macquarie University, the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales in Australia.