Red Lotus ~ by Geoff Pike
The story of ’Red Lotus’ began on the deck of a Chinese junk in the green chasms of the Yangtze River: the most unforgettable scenery on earth .

Under a ribbon of sky above sheer limestone cliffs a river hawk skims the surface to take a fish - a pair of white dolphin spear the river's dancing prisms - sleek as pig-fat jade:

The old teak hull of the junk hauled through boiling rapids - a hundred men with the strength of horses chant the tracker’s lament, echoing through Silver Armour and Golden Helmet pass: Under a rice-paper moon and a sky like pearl-shell, the junk Master’s wife tosses a red hot wok over a terra-cotta stove, clams pop open in flashes of flame, crackling with chillies, garlic and ginger, mix with a light breeze through the orchards:

An apricot sunset as the Master’s ‘Paw-Paw’- his venerable Granny - proudly wearing the brightly–beaded garb of a Tanka elder, tells of her childhood on the ‘Dragon River‘. The sun rising like a temple gong to light her eyes and make them young again:

Indescribable hard-ship; unbelievable courage; hope; love, betrayal, tragedy - and the unwavering light of the female spirit alone in the darkness:

On the quiet surface of Tung T’ing, the greatest lake in all China - illusion of scholars, poets and painters for five times a thousand years - spires of ironstone swathed in mist rise like old pagodas, the resting place of ancient Masters:

Ten years later the old ladies stories have been woven into 'Red Lotus':
pai Kit Fai
Sphere, UK
Oct 1st 2009
Paperback, 496 pg