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The Yellow Emperor's Cure by Kunal Basu, book reviewThe exploration of the unknown has fascinated writers since time immemorial, wanderings, encounters with a new culture and the induction into it. This has been seen in popular fiction as well as literary – the latter starting perhaps with Marco Polo, who was accused of manufacturing much of his information. What is also curious is that people have been fascinated by encounters between the west and the orient – one could number books like Lord Jim, Shogun, River of Smoke and most recently The Yellow Emperor’s Cure, the last two written by Indian authors. Amitabh Ghosh and Kunal Basu. In fact, the last two have hit the public gaze within a year of each other. Ghosh’s is specifically about the opium trade with China during Britain’s reign while Basu’s pinpoints the encounter of a Portuguese doctor with Chinese medicine. Specifically a son’s quest to find a remedy for syphilis, the plague that was for 400 years or more the world’s forerunner to AIDs and that was similarly regarded by society and the Church, and save his father, ironically a respected physician who is helpless in the face of the scourge.


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