Merry band of brothers

Updated: 2011-03-30 07:52

By Yang Guang (China Daily)

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Merry band of brothers

Also known as All Men Are Brothers, Outlaws of the Marsh tells why and how 108 men and women, coming from different backgrounds, banded together on Liangshan Mountain, became leaders of an outlaw army and fought battles against government troops, during the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279).

Derived from real stories in history, the 100-chapter magnum opus starts with the release of 108 spirits, imprisoned under an ancient stele-bearing tortoise. Stories of the 108 heroes are told in separate sections, which are eventually pieced together after Song Jiang becomes the leader of the band. Song strongly advocates making peace with the government. The emperor offers them amnesty and makes use of them to suppress other rebel forces.

Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck's early translation, published as All Men Are Brothers, while hugely popular is criticized for its errors and inaccuracies. Sidney Shapiro's Outlaws of the Marsh is considered to be one of the best.


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