The Jade Owl
by Edward C. Patterson
The Jade Owl is a Finalist in The 2009 Rainbow Awards
Where to Buy
International Sales (Paperback)
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ellen george (Atlanta, Georgia USA)
A magnificent start of a literary legacy
present day and past, is still so mysterious and inviting. Sinologist
Edward C. Patterson has written a masterful epic in The Jade Owl that
will not only have you glued to this 595 page book, but have you before
you are half way through the book, ordering book 2 of this series, The
Jade Owl Reviewed by Libby Cone (Philadelphia. PA
written fantasy for people who don't read fantasy
Sinologist Rowden Gray, reeling from his failure to get a San Francisco museum post, falls in with a seemingly unlikely group of people bent upon achieving a strange coition of sorts of Chinese objets d'art. After taking up with one of the scions of his prolific (in more ways than one) intellectual mentor, John Battle, he joins a one-eyed Native American artist, a Chinese-American martial arts expert, and the scion's faithful drag-queen lover, as they embark on a wild chase to reach their objective. Much of the action takes place in a lovingly-described China. This is fantasy for people who don't read fantasy, adventure for those who avoid adventure books. The little bits of surrealism are a seasoning for the great writing, rather than a substitute for it, as is often the case in so many works of this type. A very enjoyable book.
Review by Libby Cone
Jade Owl Reviewed by Blue Goddess (CA United States)
never been to China . . .
But by the time I finished The Jade Owl, I felt like I had. Lush descriptions make you feel as if you are actually there with these well drawn characters. As the reviews come in, I know the name Simone will pop up again and again as a favorite. The story is rich, complex, exciting, and thankfully, not over when you finish it! I am now onto The Third Peregrination, the sequel to The Jade Owl. Thank heavens there's more!
Review by Blue Goddess
Jade Owl Reviewed by Frost's Fancy (Rainbow Reviews)
From Rainbow Reviews
Sinologist Professor Rowden Gray receives the opportunity of his professional lifetime, a curator position at the fabled San Francisco East Asian Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture, which houses the collection of his late mentor, "Old China Hand" John Battle. Battle's great work had been discredited due to his insistence on the Jade Owl, a mysterious missing artifact commissioned by China's only Empress. When RG arrives, he immediately discovers the position has been rescinded, he encounters a strange young man who proves to be Battle's prodigal son, and learns the Jade Owl really exists. Plunging into a drama worthy of an Errol Flynn swashbuckler, the soon-boon companions and several others are off on a life-and-death chase through San Francisco and then on to Hong Kong as the portal into China.
The Jade Owl is a nonstop, don't miss page turner and only the first in a quintology, The Jade Owl Legacy series. Readers, run, do not walk to your nearest book outlet and grab this intriguing gay mystery with its fully realized characters, gay and straight and bi, roller-coaster plotting, and paranormal fantasy elements. The Jade Owl is a true winner.
The Jade Owl Reviewed by Annie G. (U.K.)
"I found The Jade Owl Series by Ed Patterson to be a thoroughly enjoyable and a fascinating read. The main characters are well developed in such a way that you soon grow very fond of them and the descriptions of the various China locations are wonderful. The plot moves along at a fast pace as the main protagonists mature and grow into their various roles. I would definitely recommend these books and look forward to reading any further novels in this series."
Annie G, UK
Jade Owl Reviewed by Mireille Reyns (Belgium)
Mireille Reyns (Belgium)
Jade Owl Reviewed by Jeffry S Hepple (Waco, Texas)
A rollercoaster adventure
Edward C. Patterson's book will take you on a breathtaking ride from San Francisco to Beijing with a museum curator, his mentor's son, a one-eyed Cherokee brave, a drag queen and, of course, the mystical jade owl.
must admit that neither Mr. Patterson's characters nor style are like
anything I've ever known before but they soon had me laughing out loud
and thoroughly entertained. I heartily recommend it to everyone.
Jeffry S Hepple (Waco, Texas
Clavell meets Indiana Jones in this China Mystery!
An eclectic expedition team including Gray, Nick, Nick's life partner and drag queen - Simone, a one-eyed Cherokee - Griffen, and Chinese American martial arts expert - Audrey, set out to return The Jade Owl to the empress. However, the Owl reveals itself to be much more than a relic, but a vessel for controlling, channeling, and altering Chi creating unspeakable power. These China Hands must return the Owl in time or unleash it's dangers to the world.
In The Jade Owl, Edward C. Patterson does a masterful job at taking the reader deep into a journey of China's cultural treasures. The history, foods, people, architecture, politics, even aromas of Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai, Beijing, Guilin, are carefully and beautifully conveyed and Patterson's expertise in this area shines. He has also created characters so real that one feels they are reading a diary of life experiences as opposed to fictional fantasy. As a result, The Jade Owl has all of the intrigue and interest of an Indiana Jones mystery but is grounded in the reality of true to life characters making it more satisfying in the end.
My only hesitation to giving this novel 5 stars was the lack of conflict and action driving the first half of the book. While the mystery of The Jade Owl is the backbone of the story, it seemed to fade to the background in the first half in favor of the rich cultural excursions the expedition team took as they traveled China. None-the-less, this is a very satisfying read and Patterson is a very accomplished writer.
For those looking for the cultural intrigue of the middle kingdom and a fantastical mystery involving ancient relics of a long forgotten empress, The Jade Owl delivers. It is the first of the five book Jade Owl legacy.
Todd A Fonseca, author of The Time Cavern
Jade Owl: Review by Aricia Gavrial in Aricia's Book Review Blog
"I was asked a while ago, will I review POD books ... and the answer to that is a resounding yes. I've said this several times before, and it's true: some of the best fiction being published today is coming out in POD form, where it's direct from the writer to the reader.
However, the first thing I need to do is make sure to qualify this statement! "Direct from writer to reader" does not mean the book hasn't been edited, proofread, labored over, illustrated, layout-designed and so on. The best POD books have had every bit as much work as a book issued from a traditional publishing house. Sometimes more.
I applaud when a really talented writer has the courage to go it alone, because it's going to mean work such as a non-writer can't imagine. (Mel Keegan states the case better than me in this post: POD Publishing: why do it? And why not?")
So I'm delighted to be reviewing The Jade Owl by Edward C. Patterson, which is available from Amazon. com as a paperback, and also in Kindle. It's also available from Smashwords in several formats. (I have the PDF for reading on my desktop because I haven't yet saved enough of my pennies to get an ebook gadeget. Soon. Very soon.)
The story falls into the same category as the "urban fantasy" novels of writers like Charles de Lint (Yarrow, Greenmantle and so on) and Jan Siegel (the Prospero's Children series). It takes place in the real world ... but one of the foundation stones of the book is, paranormal artifacts do exist, and the powers are real. (The same foundation stone is holding up everything from Indiana Jones to the Mummy movies. It's come to be a Hollywood staple.)
In this novel, the artifact is an ancient Chinese object, a six inch piece of Jade carved in the likeness of an owl -- and it's actually a key that opens a box known as the Joy of Finches. What's in the box? That would be telling! But everybody wants the key.
The first thing that impressed me about Jade Owl was how knowledgeable about Chinese antiquities the writer is, and about China itself. Shanghai and Beijing are described with the same amount of detail and enthusiasm as San Francisco -- and never having been to either China or the USA myself, I really appreciated the "local color." Many writers, when setting their plots in London, New York, what have you, seem to think that everyone's been there and knows intimately every secret of the city. Not true. So, the first level where Jade Owl succeeds is in "selling me" San Francisco, which is the setting for the first long segment of the book.
Then it's off to China, and in the second half of the novel the adventure really kicks in. The first half is more of an exploration of culture, personality, even history. There's not too much "action" in this part of the story, but I liked having the story built up properly from the ground up, so that all readers are on the same page when the knock-down-drag-out adventure begins.
The characters are, for the most part, excellently drawn, with only one or two of the lesser players falling back on "stock characterization." Edward C. Patterson's dialog is very believable, you can "hear" voices saying these lines. But it was the paranormal aspects of the story that hooked me ... I love this stuff anyway, and the Jade Owl does it well. I know a little bit about things Chinese, since I grew up with a huge crush on Bruce Lee and read/watched everything I could get my hands on over the space of about ten years! Jade Owl is a real treat.
It's a crying shame this book had to be self-published, and you have to ask yourself what the publishing world is coming to, when gifted writers everywhere are having to fly solo. Jade Owl is not just "competently" written -- it's only one thorough, ruthless edit away from being on a par with the top-notch writers who sell in the gajillions. (Trust me on this: I've been a pro "proofie" for decades and have seen the best and worst that professional writers can turn out ... and some long-time professional writers I could name churn out unpunctuated drivel that has to be bashed into shape by line-editors who get paid about $10 an hour!) There was a time, maybe 20 years ago, when a publisher would take in a manuscript from an inspired and gifted writer, and would assign an editor to do the final work, then the book would be jacketed and sent out there with posters and hype galore. (Doesn't happen now. A manuscript can be received that is absolutely gem-perfect, and it'll still get turned around and sent back unread ... sad to say, I've worked in the industry and seen what happens: it'd shock you).
But -- I digress! The Jade Owl is an extremely good read. It gets off to a slightly shaky start, but the style settles right down after a few pages and is very readable. You'll like the central characters of "Rowdy" Gray, Nick Battle and his partner, Simone. In fact, you ought to love Simone, who's a drag queen from the Castro, indomitable, very human, very "real." There's enough gay content to keep GLBTI readers reading -- and more than enough action of other kinds (sensual, paranormal, cultural, comedic) to keep straight readers reading.
It's also hellaciously good value for money, at $15.45 for the paperback, $3.19 in Kindle, and $3.99 from Smashwords ... and this is a major novel, over 200,000 words. And here is one of the great things about getting a book direct from the writer: because there's no publisher to accommodate, the price can afford to be much lower than you'd think.
Does the book have a downside? Well ... maybe, but it depends who you are, and what your "ear" is like! The writing style can be a little erratic at times, but many readers would also call this one of the book's charms. So there you are -- as with so many facets of so many books -- it's actually your call. I found the PDF ebook easy to read, but halfway through I longed for a "proper" ebook reader to get away from the PC -- not the author's fault! When I get myself an iLiad, or Bebook or something similar, I shall be reading Jade Owl a second time in the comfort of a hammock chair at the bottom of the garden.
I should also note that there are two more books following on from The Jade Owl , the first one of which is available now, the second, on its way. I still have to get to the second, so can't talk about it here.
Recommended on many levels. AG's rating: 4 out of five stars -- with a "gold star" added for incredibly good value for money."
The beginning of an exciting series
Edward C Patterson has written what can be called a supernatural suspense/horror story. At the same time it gives a colorful description of the gay and drag culture of San Francisco and is a loving portrait of the land and people of East Asia, with a good dose of China's cultural and temporal history tossed in for good measure.
In spite of it's size (almost 600 pages) the story is fast-paced. It begins in San Francisco where Professor Rowden Gray, an expert in China's Sung dynasty, is first offered, then denied, a position at the San Francisco Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture. Professor Gray had been especially keen on working at the museum because of its housing the collection of artifacts from deceased archeologist John Battle, his former mentor. Shortly after being told that the position he had been offered is no longer available, Professor Gray meets a free-spirited, smart-mouthed, gay, twenty-something man named Nick, whom he eventually discovers is John Battle's son.
From here on the story gets complicated. Professor Gray (Nick calls him Rowdy) is introduced to several people who will either help or hinder him and Nick when they try to return the Jade Owl, a John Battle artifact, to a secret tomb in China. The Jade Owl, it turns out, is more than just an artifact; it has sinister abilities of its own. It can shred the curtain between the material and spiritual worlds, and create portals in time through which visions can be seen and items passed. Not to mention what it can do to people who touch it!
Throughout the book, Patterson's strength is in his ability to describe his characters, and there are many, without turning them into caricatures. His evocation of place--landscapes, cities, hotels--is equally as impressive; so, too his telling of the supernatural shenanigans of the Jade Owl.
By L.C. Evans
Richly Textured Adventure
Edward C. Patterson's beautiful style of writing brought life to both his characters and his setting. His knowledge of Chinese culture, history, and present day China, showed through in every scene. The characters (go, Simone!) were wonderful and well-drawn and the descriptions put me right in the picture. I feel that after having read The Jade Owl I could travel to China and not be overly surprised by cultural differences because I've already experienced them in this book. The story itself is a thrilling adventure, with touches of the supernatural. Professor Rowden Gray, along with his group of China Hands, has to overcome pursuit by greedy treasure hunters out to stop them from fulfilling their mission. After a series of misadventures, including big trouble from a customs inspector and an overzealous tour guide, the group faces the greatest danger of all when an ancient mission is fulfilled.
Review By Robert A. Meacham
- The Rich Framework of A Confucian Society and It's Fantasy
Robert A Meacham
Review by Wendy Potocki (NY Writer)
Make That Five Snaps Up and a Circle Round the World, Honey!!!
That's for you, Simone DeFleurry!! Who's Simone DeFleurry? Well, she's actually Simon Geldfarb, the S-I-G-N-I-F-I-C-A-N-T `significant other' of John Battle's son. Who's John Battle? John Battle was Rowden Gray's professor at Columbia University and someone that claimed to have held The Jade Owl in very own his hands. Who's Rowden Gray and what's The Jade Owl? Rowden Gray is the protagonist that's just had the position of working at the San Francisco Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture yanked out from underneath him and if you're asking these questions, it's clear you haven't read The Jade Owl. Now I have a question for you? Why not?!!
The Jade Owl is wonderful read! It's full of myth and legend -fact and fantasy. It crosses between historical reference to fun-filled fiction and back again as easily as Simone picks out an ensemble! It's as big and expansive as the country the infamous owl originated - and just as enigmatic! Mr. Edward Patterson does a fabulous job of weaving and holding his story together with that most special of glues - imagination! The result is a pleasurable read. It's as easy as gliding down the Yangtze in a Dragon boat under the brilliance of a full moonl! You just don't want it to end and wish it could go on forever!!!
There's a whole host of interesting characters acting as some magical crazy glue catalysts. They drive each other - and the story -forward. Then there's The Jade Owl itself. Will it ever be found? Will it ever be reunited with its rightful owner? Who is its rightful owner? And is there a grander scheme behind it all? Most importantly, will the blasted bird ever stop hooting at the least opportune moments? All these questions are answered in their own time and we are there to witness history! ... well, invented history! And isn't that the best kind? Especially when the outcome is safely in the expert hands of Edward C. Patterson!!!
A toast to Mr. Patterson, China, a drag queen that knows how to run in heels and hooty owls everywhere!!!
Review by Susan in VA
Page-turner, meat-burner... yeah.... except for the times when I had to stop reading late at night because I didn't know how "spooky" some scenes might get, and was afraid they'd give me dreams filled with hooty things!
Had someone described this novel using the word "paranormal" I wouldn't have read it -- not usually my cup of tea -- but I started it thinking I was getting into a nice archeological mystery, some historical fiction, a little modern San Francisco culture thrown in... and then before I knew it I was hooked!
Wonderful characters - they all seem so real, I can picture them and hear their voices in my mind. And after a nice long novel of suspense, cultural detail, and gentle humor, it completely caught me off guard when I read the last few chapters in public and found myself blinking back tears at the part with Griffen.
I sooo want to start the second novel in the series right now. But it's past midnight, and I'm afraid I'd stay up WAY too late.... oh, maybe just one short chapter
Review by Janc
Ed I love this whole series and look forward to the last two books. Any idea when they will be available?
I am thrilled to hear The Academician is part of the Jade Owl story line. I have it in my TBR file and will now move it to the top of the list. Thank you for clarifying how all of this ties together. Right before the last one comes out I want to read the whole series again so the characters are fresh.
Review By Don F. Nichols "wingfear" (Burke, VA)
I am richer for having read this story. Ed Patterson's talent as a writer clearly comes through as he tracks this band of adventurers from America around the world to the heartland of China. He strikes a good balance between description and action, with a touch of adult fantasy, and his action sequences are gripping. His characters are diverse and interesting. It is a good tale, offered at a good price. Read this book if you are looking for a longer adventure that combines a quest to right ancient mistakes, some light romance, a little supernatural, and the lure of the orient.
Reviewed by Victor
Banis - author of over 150 novels
This is a helluva good yarn, the sort of read we're all hoping for every time we pick up a book, and all too rarely find.
Rowden Gray comes to San Francisco to accept, he thinks, a curatorship at the Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture, only to find when he gets there that the position has evaporated. Instead, he runs into (literally) a fey young man who leads him on a series of adventures involving an ancient relic, the jade owl, taking them at a rapidly accelerating pace from the city's gay bars to Yosemite, to Hong Kong and finally to mainland China. An odyssey that proves to be, in fact, a quest not unlike the Lord of the Rings. If that kind of adventure is your cup of tea, you are certain to savor this one.
I couldn't begin here to detail all the turns and twists of the plot, and why should I? The beginning is a trifle slow, but once you get going, you'll have all you can do to keep up with them yourself. Suffice to say the bird in question is possessed of magic (and not altogether happy) powers and is cursed, and must be returned to the tomb of the Empress Wu Tze-t'ien if major catastrophe is to be averted. "It brings the comets back to earth," to put it succinctly.
The cast of characters is extensive, too: Rowden, of course, and that handsome and gay youngster, Nick Battle, and his drag queen other half, Simone aka Simon, and a one-eyed Cherokee and Chinatown gangsters and...well, plenty of others, and surprisingly the author manages to keep them all well sorted out, without reducing any of them to caricatures or, worse, mere shadows. Indeed, even the most minor of these many people is well drawn and believable.
Locations are vivid, too--if you've ever been to San Francisco, this will take you there again in a twinkling, and whether you've been or not you'll feel like you, too, have made that arduous journey with The China Hands across The People's Republic.
This is a remarkable accomplishment. I finished The Jade Owl with a happy smile and closed it with a sigh of great satisfaction. I recommend the book heartily. You may never read another adventure tale this good. Honest, possums.
Review By Ricky
Sides (Athens, Alabama USA)
A mind expanding experience
I just finished reading Mr. Patterson's book The Jade Owl. I found the book to be fascinating and thought provoking. Numerous times as I read the book I found myself stopping for a while and letting my mind absorb Mr. Patterson's work.
Mr. Patterson's descriptive narrative was such that I could easily visualize the scenes, especially the Chinese countryside scenes as he skillfully drew the book to its conclusion.
I can't say that I've ever read a book that took on a gay theme in the manner that Mr. Patterson did with such skill. Most either descend to gay bashing or attempt to elevate the lifestyle. Mr. Patterson's representation did neither. Indeed it presented a neutral opinion regarding the lifestyle that I think a growing percentage of Americans share. The main character Rowdy certainly seemed neutral enough in that regard. I think perhaps Mr. Patterson is ahead of the curve when it comes to handling the delicate intricacies of gay themed books. Maybe, just maybe we can all learn something from this talented author about accepting other people for who they are without becoming judgmental. In this regard I consider reading the book to be a mind expanding experience.
As to Mr. Patterson's main storyline regarding the Jade Owl I found it original and compelling.
Bravo Mr. Patterson. Well done sir.
Revew by Sharon
"The Jade Owl" is a science fiction/fantasy novel that starts out with Sinologist Rowden Gray being denied a job originally offered to him at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum. A passerby in the museum picks up the telegram Gray discards, and then leads Gray on a search for the artifact that obsessed Gray's late mentor (the eponymous owl).
Patterson's research into Chinese culture and traditions is first-rate (his MA in the field bears that out). Throw in a tremendous gift for phrasing that makes his prose read like poetry, the ability to draw fascinating characters (I am no expert on LGBT literature, but I felt like I had met every one of his characters -- gay or straight -- out in the real world), and a fascinating mystery to be solved. Patterson's work is sure to find fans across many genres.
A Suspenseful & Mystical
Adventure, January 19, 2010
Action jumpstarts the beginning when Rowden Gray's anticipation of a curator ship with the Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture is thwarted by a seemingly scrupulous Curator-General. Professor Rowden is then manipulated and intrigued into a mysterious quest aborted by his mentor's death. His mentor's son, Nicholas, is now responsible for resurrecting his father's pursuit of the Jade Owl, an elusive and mystical archeological treasure that possesses foreboding powers that transcend imagination.
Each character is meticulously created with various strengths and weaknesses to make their camaraderie as whole and complete as Dorothy and her entourage were in the Wizard of Oz. Simone Defleurry a.k.a. Simon Gedfard, realistically convincing as a flamboyant goddess in demeanor and style, adds flavor and finesse as a participant in the dangerous expedition to China to preclude an apocalypse.
Suspense and mystery runs rampant as Nicholas, at first an unlikely China Hand in the Professor's eyes, becomes a catalyst as secrets are revealed. Authentic lessons in Chinese History abound with descriptive landscapes as real as those of San Francisco from where the story begins.
Poetic words and rhythm command the attention of all senses in this thrilling saga, although at times I found it superfluous. Even so, this prolific author has an exemplary literary style that is not wasted in bringing this tale to life.
A great read!
A Captivating Tale,
January 14, 2011
The Jade Owl is filled with thrills, mysticism, and adventure that captivated me from the beginning. The author's knowledge of Chinese culture and geography adds authenticity to the story; but beyond this, he's created memorable and likeable characters with distinctive voices.
The book's omniscient viewpoint allows the reader into different characters' heads, and the author even speaks directly to the reader at times, which for me, was a bit intrusive, (although this style was common earlier in the twentieth century). The ending was satisfying, although the epilog a little long. Still, there's enough juicy foreshadowing to make me want to pick up the next book. Enjoy!
Solidly Fun, December
The author also has a clear love of place and does a wonderful job describing the settings vividly. He doesn't merely stop at physical descriptions, either, managing to even capture the essential culture of a place.
While there are a number of plot twists, the arc of the story is ultimately predictable. It's a fun ride, but you can see where it's going.
The author sometimes gets a bit carried away with his own cleverness. To a certain extent, those knowing winks to the reader really define the voice of the story, but a few more murdered darlings would have made the story leaner.
Fun, China, and
great characters., September 30, 2010
Unless you are a complete fuddy duddy who can't stand any mention of gay people in a book, you will enjoy The Jade Owl. Now I have to go buy the second book in the series!
at its best!, June 8, 2010
And what a team it is: Rowden "Rowdy" Gray, a college professor; Nick Battle, the son of a legendary Sinologist; Nick's partner and flaming drag queen Simon Geldfarb (aka Simone DeLefleurry); Xiao Ao-ti (Audrey), a young Chinese-American martial arts expert; and Griffen Jones, a one-eyed American Indian artist.
Before long the eclectic group is in China, where they begin their journey to find the hidden tomb of the Empress Wu Tze-t'ien, who was buried many centuries ago. Their mission is to take the Jade Owl to the tomb in order to - yes - save the world. Unfortunately for the group, there are plenty of bad guys around who want the Jade Owl and will stop at nothing to get it. Each member of the tightly-knit group has their chance to thwart the bad guys, and many times, it's Simon/Simone who demonstrates that he's not just there for comic relief.
During the group's journey, the Jade Owl demonstrates its vast powers, even ripping the fabric of space and time. It's up to the group to try to control the owl until they have completed their mission, a task easier said than done. The climactic scene is a real dandy, one of the most jaw-dropping climaxes I've read in a long time.
The author, Ed Patterson, has written a bang-up action-adventure thriller that pulled me in immediately. Although "The Jade Owl" is a standalone book, I know there are several spinoffs from the book, and after reading "The Jade Owl," I'm definitely hooked.
Bottom line: Two thumbs up and five stars.
Fly away with
the "damn owl", May 10, 2010
The humor is chuckle-worthy (my favorite: "He viewed the twenty-hour haul to China like a middle passage---voluntary bondage in the hull of a modern metallic slaver") and, despite an occasional typo (the persistent grammatical confusion of past/passed also slows things down), the plot rocks along in can't-wait-to-find-out-what-happens-next fashion.
Patterson's vocabulary can be pretentious at times (people rarely walk, they saunter), even confusing when the words are obscure, but a good dictionary helps. Except for the words he makes up. But their meaning usually is clear. And this is only the beginning of a saga with sequels to come. Fly away on a long-distance hunt with The Jade Owl. You face little danger of grounding.
An exciting Adventure!,
April 14, 2010