Dream of the Dragon Pool: A Daoist Quest

Written by Albert A. Dalia
Review by Viviane Crystal

“There is another Reality – not of the human realm.” Shame and anguish haunt Li Bo, the famous Tang Dynasty poet. After he is exiled by the Emperor Xuan-zong, a mysterious dream changes his sorrow over losing his poetic gift to the quest of reaching Mount Wu, where he is told he will both serve the mythical Rain Goddess and have his poetic muse restored. But little does Li Bo imagine what his quest will really involve. On the surface it appears he is to find the mystical Dragon Pool Sword as he encounters various persons of human, divine, and ghostly natures. Through his journey with Ah Wu the warrior, Old Zhou the boatman, Luo Jhu-yun the Shamaness, the Lady of the Purple Vault or “Purple Immortal” of Daoist fame, Ma Ssu-ming the swordsman, Lao-hunag the drunken monkey, and so many more mysterious characters, Li Bo is gradually purified of self-interest and becomes the true heroic character of Taoist legend. The powers he must face are quite formidable, including The Blood Dragon and his minions who shape-shift, plot, and kill in myriad ways that never become dull with repetition.

Albert Dalia is a writer to watch if you love Chinese fiction or drama. His purpose in this novel is to firmly establish the traditional Chinese wuxia literary genre within English language fiction, and he admirably succeeds in that venture. Never confusing the reader with the multitude of characters, Dalia masterfully develops Li Bo’s character so that his eventual immersion into immortality while remaining in this world is smooth, credible and exciting to follow. Readers will recognize the stock characters of Chinese tradition while enjoying the unique qualities of each person who alters and is altered by sharing Li Bo’s journey. Remarkable, accurate, and well-written, Dream of the Dragon Pool is a delightful read.