As important for Chinese culture as the Homeric epics have been for the West, this Ming Dynasty masterpiece continues to be read and loved throughout China as well as in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The novel offers a startling and unsparing view of how power is wielded, how diplomacy is conducted, and how wars are planned and fought; it has influenced the ways that Chinese think about power, diplomacy, and war even to this day. (三国演义)对于中国文化而言，正如荷马史诗对于西方一样重要，这个明代的杰作继续在中国以及日本，韩国和越南被阅读和喜爱。这部小说提供了一个令人吃惊和残酷的观点，即如何掌握权力，如何进行外交，以及如何策划战争;它影响了中国人对权力，外交和战争的看法，直到今天。
Three Kingdoms portrays a fateful moment at the end of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) when the future of the Chinese empire lay in the balance. Writing more than a millennium later, Luo Guanzhong drew on often told tales of this turbulent period to fashion a sophisticated compelling narrative, whose characters display vivid individuality and epic grandeur. 三国时期在汉朝末期（公元前206年 – 公元220年）描绘了一个致命的时刻，当时中国帝国的未来处于平衡状态。一千多年后，罗贯中经常讲述这个动荡时期的故事，以形成一个复杂引人注目的叙事，其人物表现出生动的个性和史诗般的宏伟。
The story begins when the emperor, fearing uprisings by peasant rebels known as the Yellow Scarves, sends an urgent appeal to the provinces for popular support. In response, three young men – the aristocratic Liu Xuande, the fugitive Lord Guan, and the pig-butcher Zhang Fei – meet to pledge eternal brotherhood and fealty to their beleaguered government. From these events comes a chain of cause and consequence that leads ultimately to the collapse of the Han. 这个故事开始于皇帝担心被称为黄巾军的农民叛乱分子起义，迫切呼吁各省争取民众的支持。作为回应，三位年轻人 – 贵族刘玄德，逃亡的关羽和屠夫张飞 – 相遇，向他们陷入困境的政权承诺永远的兄弟情谊和忠诚。从这些事件中发现了一系列因果关系，最终导致了汉代崩溃。
Hadrian : The world’s affairs rush on, an endless stream;A sky-told fate, infinite in reach, dooms all.The kingdoms three are now the stuff of dream,For men to ponder, past all praise or blame.The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a book which attempts to cover the sweep and drama of history. The sheer scale and scope of the book makes it a clear ‘epic’ in the traditional sense. This is a book written in the same century as the The Decameron. To give a scale of its scope, the book starts in 168 AD and ends
Leonard : The historical novel recounts the kingdoms of Wu, Wei and Shu vying to dominate China proper after the fall of the Eastern Han dynasty. Approximate Territories of the Three Kingdoms (Image from Yu Ninjie)Not only are the heroic deeds memorable but the strategic up-onemanship among the kingdom reads like Machiavelli’s The Prince. You can find many of the strategies from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Recommended for all historical novel lovers.
Helmut : Difficult to begin, but…This novel, one of the great classic Chinese novels, is one of the more difficult texts for readers. While some others, like Journey to the West or The Marshes of Mount Liang, are much more easily accessible and entertaining right from the beginning, a feeling of disorientation is common for first readers of “Three Kingdoms”. The story starts without introduction with the appearance of dozens of protagonists, and it’s hard to keep track of all of them.
Moey : I love this book. All the characters, despite the fact that there are so many, are unique, and every character plays a part. When I started reading this book in March (I finished in June) I was studying China in my sixth grade class (If you are in sixth grade you should probably only read it if you have an intense interest in Chinese history) and it really helped me know a lot more about dynasties in general, how empires function, and how war is fought throughout Chinese history.
Longbearded : There can be no equal. This is the book that makes all others pale in comparison.I’m forced to compare this book to Game of Thrones due to the popularity of the TV series, as its all my friends ask about when talking about this book.”How does it compare to Game of Thrones?”It doesn’t. This is not high fantasy.To say it’s a story about the fall of the Han dynasty and the various warlords scramble to fill the void does not due the book justice.
Paul : I didn’t get around to reading this book until after college, though I knew the basic story. One day, I will translate this whole book and give it the literary style it deserves. The current translations are all wretchedly dated, but the characters are incredible: 100’s of them and all well-developed with their own quirks. It really puts the snooze-fest that is War and Peace to shame.
Rory : I’m not well versed in Chinese names which makes it even more difficult to follow the abundance of undeveloped characters through the long series of battle to battle to battle. Too long
Koit : This is, without a doubt, one of the finest books I have ever read. Not only is the translation readable and enjoyable, but it also carries the elan of the original narrative!At this stage, I would normally cut in with a negative aspect, some character I did not like, or other unfavourable opinions. What is remarkable about the ‘Three Kingdoms’ is that although it is not missing this aspect in the story, these people and events are written in such a way that it is clearly not the author’s fault
Leslie Crawley : A Classic Novel in Four (4!!!) Volumes. Big volumes. (In a nutshell) recounts the kingdoms of Wu, Wei and Shu vying to dominate China proper after the fall of the Eastern Han dynasty. I do recommend this to anyone interested in:a: Historical novelsb: Chinese literaturec: Someone with a large period of time on their hands!This is convoluted and so very intensive on the memory, but it is also so richly rewarding as well, and worth the (not insignificant) effort to read.
Anthony Biondi : Moss Robert’s translation is hands down the best. It comes with great inter-textual commentary and essays discussing the meaning of the work. Three Kingdoms is, by itself, well deserving of being a classic, but this version is the definitive one.
Olga : An exelent source if you are looking to find out more about the culture, society, morals and history of china (the last one is greatly helped by the essays in the afterword). On the other hand, I would not recomend it as a leasure read for the most people. As a novel, it gets incredibly repetitive – unless you are a hardcore military strategy fan, there is only that many times before reading about two generals fighting, one feigning defeat and leading the other one into a trap gets old.