Classic novel in 3 volumes. The empire long divided, must unite, long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been. With this characterization of the inevitable cycle of chinese history, the monumental tales Three Kingdoms begins. As important for chinese culture as the homeric epics have been for the west, this ming dynasty masterpiece continues to be read and loved throughout china as well as Japan, Korea and Viet Nam. The novel offers a startling and unsparing view of how power is weilded, how diplomacy is conducted and how wars are planned and fought; it has influenced the ways that chinese think about power, diplomacy, and war even to this day. 3 kingdoms portrays a fateful momment at the end of the han dynasty (206 bc-ad 220). when the future of the chinese empire lay in balance. Writing more than a millenium later, his name Luo Guanzhong drew on often told tales of this turbulent period to fashion a sophisticated compelling narrative whose characters display vivid individuality and epic grandeur. The story begins when the emperor fearing uprisings by peasant rebels known as the yellow scarves sends an urgent appeal to the provinces for popular support. In response, 3 young men, the aristocratic Liu Xuande, the fugitive Lord Guan, the pig butcher Zhang Fei, meet to pledge eternal brotherhood and fealty to their beleagued government. From these events comes a chain of cause and consequence that leads ultimately to the collapse of the han.