The Dragon of Guangzhou – Reviews

Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

The Dragon From Guangzhou by DW Plato is the story of a smart woman who was dealt a bad hand in life, but she decided to turn it around. Mógū was born down on her luck. She was left at the Buddhist temple when she was young where the nuns took care of her. However, the moment she reached puberty, she was on her own in the streets. Turning to prostitution was not the best option, but she didn’t have any other choice. When her favorite client, the pirate Zheng Yi, kidnapped her and made her his wife, she accepted her fate. Life on a pirate ship had its challenges, and Mógū was ready to make it work. She embraced life on the ship, and when the opportunity arrived, she took it to make the pirate ship her throne. Unapologetic, smart, and cunning, Mógū was ready to take what she wanted!

This novel was heavily based (with fictional liberties taken here and there) on the life of China’s most notorious yet highly successful female pirate called Ching Shih. Mógū was all business in the beginning. She thrived on the chaos around her and took her strength from the things happening on the ship. She was a great negotiator (something that surprised me), and she was not afraid of going after something she wanted. However, as the story progressed, she realized that her aspirations were bigger than the ocean and she could do so much better. The drama and the action in the story were phenomenal. It gave me the push to keep reading while Mógū’s progress made sure I was hooked to the story. DW Plato depicted Mógū exceptionally well. The author never hid Mógū’s intentions from readers and showed what she was capable of from the very beginning. The situations were believable, the development was amazing, and the atmosphere was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better story to captivate me like this! The Dragon From Guangzhou is fantastic and entertaining.

Reviewed By Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite

It was the beginning of the nineteenth century and ruthless pirates ruled the seas surrounding China and South East Asia. Just as Europeans were trying to exert their naval and cultural power on the Chinese and others in the region, one group was determined to fight and defeat them. Perhaps the most notorious pirate of them all was, surprisingly, a woman, Mógū. In DW Plato’s The Dragon From Guangzhou, we track Mógū’s life from when she was given up by her mother to the orphanage nuns, through her sale to a brothel on the infamous “flower boats” until the notorious pirate, Zheng Yi, falls in love with her and kidnaps her to make her his bride. Discovering a life of unparalleled luxury as the wife of a famous and wealthy pirate, Mógū soon becomes bored with being a pampered lady and seeks to accompany her husband and their “adopted” son on raiding missions and battles against the accursed foreigners, not to mention the navy of the Imperial Chinese Empire. Based on what would later become the British island of Hong Kong, Zheng Yi and his pirates would strike fear into anyone who dared to cross their path all over the South China Sea.

The Dragon From Guangzhou was definitely one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. As a historical fiction fan, it was right in my wheelhouse. However, author DW Plato’s narrative and characters were what lifted this book out of the ordinary and into something special. There was great pleasure in watching a strong, independent female character rise to greatness and power at a time when females were dismissed, out of hand and especially daughters were shunned and unwanted by the intensely patriarchal society of the time. A highlight for me was the fascinating interaction between Mógū and her husband’s lover and adopted son, Po Tsai. A more complicated love triangle would have been difficult to imagine. I particularly enjoyed seeing the moral side of Mógū, despite her clear penchant for violence and readiness to fight. Like all good leaders, she put the needs of the men, women, and children of her protectorate before her own, more often than not. The writing is flowing and seamless with the action fast and furious, allowing me to complete the read essentially in one sitting – I never wanted to put it down! This book has everything lovers of battles, heroism, relationships, and history could ever want. When a book teaches me about a period in time and a culture I have not read of before, it succeeds in its mission. The Dragon From Guangzhou succeeds, big-time

Reviewed By Joanie Chevalier for Readers’ Favorite

The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a riveting story set in the early 1800s in South China. Mogu, a prostitute working on a floating brothel, was kidnapped and then forced to marry the infamous and successful pirate Zheng Yi. Although she resists at first, she comes to terms with her situation and eventually falls in love with Zheng Yi. Soon after, Mogu was determined that she’d be the greatest pirate in history to ever sail the South Seas. When she happens to meet her best friend from childhood who she thought was dead, she invites Chuntao to go back with her which allows Mogu to succeed in her pirate business as Chuntao takes care of the household and later, the children. Throughout the next several decades, Mogu proves her point by overtaking ships transporting goods, along with her husband and then after his death. She was ruthless in her missions, fighting fearlessly alongside her crew. Mogu rose from being a prostitute on a floating brothel to a ruthless leader, growing to love her kidnapper-husband, and having several children. 

The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a fast-paced adventure story for those who love reading about the life of pirates. While The Dragon from Guangzhou is a story about pirate adventures, it also has moments of tenderness and includes a love story between husband and wife, a lifetime friendship, a mother’s love for her children, and humanitarian efforts on the part of Mogu towards her people. The Dragon from Guangzhou by D.W. Plato is a must-read for those who love adventure with surprises along the way. Readers will eagerly turn the pages of this novel as exciting adventures unfold, and as Mogu lives her life to the fullest on the South Seas. After reading this exciting story, I wanted to learn more about that era.