Piers Brendon

Never the Twain Shall Meet

A Dance with the Dragon: The Vanished World of Peking’s Foreign Colony


I B Tauris 288pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

‘When China awakes, the world will tremble.’ This warning, attributed to Napoleon, became a commonplace during the Victorian era. China was a sleeping giant with the potential to regain the pre-eminent place it had once occupied in the world. It was a slumbering dragon which, with a mere flick of the tail during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, threatened to exterminate all the foreign devils in Peking. Writing in that year, Sir Robert Hart, inspector general of the Chinese customs service for over forty years, prophesied that within a century China could become ‘the most powerful empire on earth’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,