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Kai Lung's Golden Hours by Bramah Smith, Ernest
Kai Lung's Golden Hours is a fantasy novel by Ernest Bramah. It was first published in hardcover in London by Grant Richards Ltd. in October, 1922, and there have been numerous editions since. The first edition included a preface by Hilaire Belloc, which has also been a feature of every edition since. Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its reissuing by Ballantine Books as the forty-fifth volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in April, 1972.
As with other Kai Lung novels, the main plot serves primarily as a vehicle for the presentation of the gem-like, aphorism-laden stories told by the protagonist Kai Lung, an itinerant story-teller of ancient China. In Kai Lung's Golden Hours he is brought before the court of the Mandarin Shan Tien on treasonable charges by the Mandarin's confidential agent Ming-shu. In a unique defense, Kai Lung recites his beguiling tales to the Mandarin, successfully postponing his conviction time after time until he is finally set free. In the process he attains the love and hand of the maiden Hwa-Mei.