Amazon site for Kindle Version of Tienkuo The Heavenly Kingdom


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4th in Amazon’s Best Sellers in Chinese History

Oct. 2, 2011

A work of Historical Fiction About The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace

Also known as the Taiping TienKuo or Tai Ping Tian Guo or the Taiping Tianguo

The book is now available in a revised edition through Amazon.com as either a paperback,  Kindle digital version or as an Amazon Audible book. 

It was the year 1858 and three young run-aways; Jason Brandt, son of a Hong Kong missionary, his friend Wu Sek-chong and the beautiful and defiant Black Jade; set off to find the capital of the rebel Taiping Tienkuo, The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace. Established in 1851 by a failed civil service candidate who claimed to be the little brother of Christ, the semi-Christian Taiping Kingdom, had made a dramatic and bloody bid to overthrow the Confucian rule of the Ch’ing Dynasty.

The three young people’s search for the Heavenly Kingdom and what they eventually found among the Taipings is the central plot of this historical novel of journey and self-discovery in 19th century China. This novel was created not only to entertain but to teach about political, social and cultural life in China during the mid nineteenth century.

review comments about Tienkuo (taken largely  from Amazon’s Site)

I’m having a blast reading Tien Kuo. It is fascinating and well written.

Ray Lum, former Asian Bibliographer at the Widener Library and Librarian for Western Languages at Harvard-Yenching Library

I enjoyed the novel immensely–it’s a fun and exciting read. The author gets the big things right–the terrible violence and corruption of the Taipings in their late stages, the disgust of many Westerners for Chinese customs, and the unusual determination and stubbornness it took for those Chinese and Westerners alike who stuck with the Taipings, or in the case of Westerners, those who stayed to pursue a career in China.

John Rapp, Beloit College, author of “Clashing Dilemmas: Hong Rengan Issachar Roberts, and a Taiping ‘Murder’ Mystery,” Journal of Historical Biography 4 (Autumn 2008): 27-58, online at http://www.ufv.ca/jhb


Exciting Book…I like it very much. The characters are believable and the cultural details about customs accurate.”

Dr. Alice Murong Pu Lin,author of Grandmother Had No Name


I like the book…it really held my interest…I am truly impressed.”

Micki S. Nevitt, Children’s Literature Librarian, Guilderland School District, NY


“A rare treat. An engaging and historically accurate way to introduce young adults to a myriad of topics about China, including family, Confucianism, class differences, women’s roles etc.

Mel Horowitz, Catskill High School, Former President, U.S. China People’s Friendship Association


I must admit that I have avoided reading books with an Asian theme, merely because there is too much western culture and history that I have not yet caught up with. I picked up “Tienkuo: The Heavenly Kingdom” almost reluctantly. My hesitation lasted one page before I was swept away with the compelling and engaging story. I was captivated with this adventure from beginning to end. To add to my delight, I came away realizing that I had been given insight into an historical event, so not only was I richly entertained, but I was cleverly educated as well. What more could I ask from a book? My only regret is that Li Bo has not written more. I am certain there are more great tales to tell lurking in the guise of dry historical facts.

Donald Samson author of Dragon Boy & The Dragon of Two Hearts


Masterfully interweaving history, culture, and characters, TIENKUO takes readers on a fascinating journey through 19th century China. It was a time of imperialism, trade, drug, and feudal wars. We are introduced to a variety of people caught in the vice of history. The adventures and love of an American missionary’s son and an alluring woman named Black Jade are the focal points, but along the way we meet soldiers and mercenaries, warlords and rogues, merchants and nobles. And we are escorted through a little-known, exotic, and compelling time and place.

This book can be read by teenagers, young adults or adults for either entertainment or educational purposes. Students and teachers of Asian studies or Asian-American relations can especially benefit from it. History truly is made of the lives of the many small people caught in its great movements. TIENKUO gives us a delicious taste of a little known time and place and makes history come to life.

By Edward Tick Author of The Practice of Dream Healing plus War & The Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

About the Author

Steven Leibo, who writes fiction under the pen name of Li Bo, is a professor of modern international history at the Sage Colleges in New York. In addition, he is a research associate at the Fairbank Center on Chinese Studies at Harvard University. His honors include being named a Fulbright scholar and election to the National Committee on US-China Relations. He is the author of Tienkuo: The Heavenly Kingdom and Transferring Technology to China: Prosper Giquel and the Chinese Self-Strengthening Movement.