The Story of the Stone
From the seedy wineshops of ancient Beijing to the misty hills of rural China, Master Li and Number Ten Ox must follow a trail of death and depravity that leads right to the gates of Heaven itself.
The abbot of the humble monastery in the Valley of Sorrows has called upon them to investigate the brutal killing of a monk and the theft of a seemingly inconsequential manuscript from its library. Suspicion soon lands on the infamous Laughing Prince Liu Sheng, founder of the Valley of Sorrows, whose murderous frenzies have made his name legend – but the Laughing Prince has been dead for over three millennia.
To help them on their search, Master Li and Number Ten Ox recruit two assistants: Moon Boy, a remarkably handsome (and remarkably lusty) young man who happens to be China's greatest living expert on sound, and his beloved Grief of Dawn, a charming young prostitute who is the only person in all of China who can keep Moon Boy in line. Together the four set off in search of demons, ghosts and murderers. Yet what they find is stranger still.
Join Master Li and Number Ten Ox on a journey that will amuse, startle, frighten and amaze you – a journey to a magnificent China that never was... but should have been.
Barry Hughart (born 1934) is an American author.
Master Li consists of three primary books, and includes one additional book that complement the series but is not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.