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  • (Out of Stock) Battle of the Artisans

(Out of Stock) Battle of the Artisans

Making the Bells of Marquis Yi

Irene Vinyard Bennett (班智平 Bau Ji Ping)

English , 2023/11 Proverse Hong Kong

Tags: Fiction, Novel

216 x 140 mm , 216pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-988-8833-79-5

  • US$22.00

Out Of Stock

Battle of the Artisans tells the story of Tangtun, a conflicted, artistic twelve-year-old in 5th-century BCE China, who sets out to save his father from a killer. He crosses wits with his macho father and a vengeful king, armed thieves, and disgruntled villagers, and in the process, discovers new powers that rock his Bronze-Age world. In the end, what matters most is not Tangtun’s artistic abilities or his father’s muscles and might but that they realize the strength of acting together.

This novel portrays the making of the very real Bells of Marquis Yi, a 2500-year-old National Treasure of China. No one knows exactly why these bells were made, but Bennett provides a well-researched and persuasive solution to the mystery through her story of Tangtun and his village on the Yangtze River.

Every historical novel is an imagined introduction to a topic and a time. Battle of the Artisans invites readers to explore further the world and the science of the bells of Marquis Yi, to learn more about the early history of China, and to consider implications for the power of family and community. The author hopes that readers will connect with Tangtun and his world in ways that will enrich them and their own worlds.


Irene Bennett’s novel Battle of the Artisans is an unusual and compelling story worthy of recognition. It is well-researched, and Bennett gives the reader just enough background details to be able to empathize with twelve-year-old Tangtun’s conflicts in 5th Century BCE China, but not enough to be boring. Strong themes of the importance of working together in community and typical father-son conflicts add to the value of the novel, as well as help the reader see the progress of both Tangtun and Ba, his father, as they struggle to live together peacefully. Musicians and artists of all ages will especially enjoy this well-written story.

—Merrill J. Davies, Ed. Specialist; Author, Becoming Jestina (2018).

Battle of the Artisans: Making the Bells of Marquis Yi is a fast-paced novel about the making of a Chinese national treasure from the Warring States period.   Themes such as a parent’s duty to their children, a child’s desire for parental approval, and the importance of community while navigating a changing world are balanced with enjoyable details of ancient China including mega-fauna of the region as well as familiar children’s games.

For the music lover, Bennett’s treatment of music and its possibilities weaves the varied themes of the novel into a single harmonious tale.  

It is fitting that the unsung heroes of the musical world—the instrument makers—are the protagonists of this tale about the origins of one of the greatest musical instruments to survive from antiquity.” 

—Aziz D. Barnard Luce, Principal percussionist, Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra

“Good storytelling can bring history alive, and ‘Battle of the Artisans’ is good storytelling.

The origin of the bells of Marquis Yi has puzzled historians since they were first discovered. Here Irene Bennett has created a world where the possibility of making this amazing musical instrument might have been envisaged. Through the story of a young boy, Tangtun, she leads us through a period of history where so much was achieved but not recorded. Tangtun’s growing maturity mirrors the development of the great bells, and their completion marks the blossoming of a truly mature relationship with his father.

A thoughtful and thought-provoking read for all ages.

—Janet Mann, Librarian; Author of, The School Library Book—a guide to effective school libraries (Scholastic Asia, 2021)

From her first sharpened pencil to her latest computer, Irene Vinyard Bennett Bau Ji Ping loves writing. She bombards anything new with questions, researching and interviewing, until voila – a story is born! 

A native of Louisiana in south central USA, Irene earned her BA in English and Math, a master’s degree in education, and did postgraduate studies in educational administration. A lover of words and numbers, culture and history, this “people person” regales her family and friends with stories in real time, while writing curriculum and books, editing academic and theological writing, and teaching in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Irene spent a decade in Hong Kong teaching English to university students and multi-ethnic groups of women, and she traveled to Mainland China and a dozen Asian countries sharing educational methods with native teachers of English and religion. In every new place, Irene was learning while she taught. 

Irene now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, with her husband, Phil, near her daughter, Malissa. She currently works in her nation’s capital city, Washington DC, with the Western Presbyterian Church, as a next generation minister. Writing, public speaking, and teaching are still avid pursuits.

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