THREE KINGDOM EBOOK
Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義). Luo Guanzhong (羅貫中). Translated by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor. This web edition published by [email protected] Adelaide. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing - eBooks. Format Type: PDF (eBook) Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, .
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The missing emperor and the prince were found by soldiers of the warlord Dong Zhuo, who seized control of the imperial capital, Luoyang, under the pretext of protecting the emperor. Dong Zhuo later deposed Emperor Shao and replaced him with the Prince of Chenliu Emperor Xian , who was merely a figurehead under his control. Dong Zhuo monopolised state power, persecuted his political opponents and oppressed the common people for his personal gain.
There were two attempts on his life: Cao Cao escaped from Luoyang, returned to his hometown and sent out a fake imperial edict to various regional officials and warlords, calling them to rise up against Dong Zhuo. Under Yuan Shao's leadership, 18 warlords formed a coalition army and launched a punitive campaign against Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo felt threatened after losing the battles of Sishui Pass and Hulao Pass, so he evacuated Luoyang and moved the imperial capital to Chang'an.
He forced Luoyang's residents to move together with him and had the city set aflame. The coalition eventually broke up due to poor leadership and conflicting interests among its members. In the meantime, the Han Empire were already disintegrating into civil war as warlords fought for territories and power.
Sun Jian found the Imperial Seal in the ruins of Luoyang and secretly kept it for himself. Others such as Cao Cao and Liu Bei, who initially had no titles or land, were also gradually forming their own armies and taking control of territories. During those times of upheaval, Cao Cao saved Emperor Xian from the remnants of Dong Zhuo's forces, established the new imperial capital in Xu and became the new head of the central government.
Through his conquests, Cao Cao united central and northern China under his control. The territories he conquered served as the foundation of the state of Cao Wei in the future. His eldest son, Sun Ce, delivered the Imperial Seal as a tribute to the rising pretender, Yuan Shu, in exchange for reinforcements. Sun Ce secured himself a state in the rich riverlands of Jiangdong Wu , on which the state of Eastern Wu was founded later. Tragically, Sun Ce also died at the pinnacle of his career from illness under stress of his terrifying encounter with the ghost of Yu Ji, a venerable magician whom he had falsely accused of heresy and executed in jealousy.
However, Sun Quan, his younger brother and successor, proved to be a capable and charismatic ruler. With assistance from Zhou Yu, Zhang Zhao and others, Sun Quan inspired hidden talents such as Lu Su to serve him, built up his military forces and maintained stability in Jiangdong.
However, their ambitions were not realised as they did not receive due recognition for helping to suppress the Yellow Turban Rebellion and participating in the campaign against Dong Zhuo. When Cao Cao showed signs that he wanted to usurp the throne, Emperor Xian wrote a secret decree in blood to his father-in-law, Dong Cheng, and ordered him to get rid of Cao.
However, the plot was leaked out and Cao Cao had Dong Cheng and the others arrested and executed along with their families.
Liu Bei had already left the imperial capital when the plot was exposed. He retreated south to Jing Province, where he found shelter under the governor, Liu Biao.
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He also built up his forces in preparation for war against Cao Cao. Following his unification of central and northern China under his control, Cao Cao, having been appointed Imperial Chancellor by Emperor Xian, led his forces on a southern campaign to eliminate Liu Bei and Sun Quan.
Although Liu Bei managed to repel two attacks by Cao Cao at Xinye, he was eventually forced to flee due to the overwhelming strength of the enemy forces. He led his followers and the civilians on an exodus further south until they reached Jiangxia Commandery. Zhuge Liang remained temporarily in Wu territory to assist Zhou Yu. Zhou Yu felt that Zhuge Liang would become a threat to Sun Quan in the future and attempted to kill him on a few occasions but ultimately failed and ended up having no choice but to cooperate with Zhuge Liang.
Sun Quan, unhappy over having gained nothing, sent messengers to ask Liu Bei to "return" the territories to him, but Liu dismissed the messenger each time with a different excuse. Sun Quan was unwilling to give up, so he followed Zhou Yu's plan to trick Liu Bei to come to his territory and marry his sister, Lady Sun. He would then hold Liu Bei hostage in exchange for Jing Province.
However, the plan failed and the newlywed couple returned to Jing Province safely. Zhou Yu later died in frustration after Zhuge Liang repeatedly foiled his plans to take Jing Province.
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
By then, Liu Bei ruled over a vast stretch of land from Yi Province to southern Jing Province; these territories served as the foundation of the state of Shu Han later. In eastern China, Sun Quan and Cao Cao's forces fought in various battles along the Yangtze River, including the battles of Hefei and Ruxu, but neither side managed to gain a significant advantage over the other.
Meanwhile, Sun Quan plotted to take Jing Province after growing tired of Liu Bei's repeated refusals to hand over the province. He secretly made peace and allied with Cao Cao against Liu Bei. With his army's morale falling and the troops gradually deserting, Guan Yu and his remaining men withdrew to Maicheng, where they were surrounded by Sun Quan's forces.By then, Liu Bei ruled over a vast stretch of land from Yi Province to southern Jing Province; these territories served as the foundation of the state of Shu Han later.
However, Sun Quan, his younger brother and successor, proved to be a capable and charismatic ruler. And Han was the victor. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture.
While the novel actually follows literally hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han Dynasty, and would eventually form the three states of Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu.
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