War has come again, and even though Jia Sidao nearly was a casualty before the fighting even began, all his nefarious plotting paid off: he’s arranged exactly the war that he wanted, exactly when he wanted, and exactly where he wanted it to occur. Ri... (more)led up to defend his wife’s honor, Kublai Khan has taken the bait and marched his troops to Xiangyang, the Chinese walled-city stronghold that has eluded the Mongols for 80 years. For Kublai, the spirit is willing when it comes to battle but the flesh is weak—or at least flabby. Just months after dispatching his treasonous brother, but still recovering from an assassination attempt, Kublai is not in fighting shape. (He insists to his wife that his battle armor has shrunk.) And an adversary as skilled and cunning as Jia requires someone whose personal battlefield strategy is more daring and ambitious than just surrounding himself with brave soldiers willing to absorb enemy arrows.
Jan 16, 1983