Dragon Talisman is a novel by Zongheng author 梦入神机, ‘Dreamwalker Divine’ (literally, 'dreaming into the machinations of the gods'), and translated by 'RWX', the founder of Wuxiaworld and the translator for Coiling Dragon (~3 million characters, completed) and Desolate Era (4 million characters, completed). The novel is 3.6 million characters long.
Dragon Talisman reminds me a great deal of the early (and for me, the best) parts of Desolate Era, in that we have a Chinese-style empire that's simply enormous, where mankind reigns supreme but there is still plenty of danger around. Imagine if Ji Ning of 'Desolate Era' had stayed in the world of the Grand Xia and DE was centered around his adventures in the Raindragon Guard + helping out his cousin Yuchi Xiyue in gaining power in the Grand Xia Dynasty. We have imperial politics, warring clans, strategy, war, religion, politics, and of course cultivation. I particularly enjoy the fact that this MC is a genuine 'good guy'. He is Lawful Good but thankfully he's very intelligent and not Lawful Stupid. So many Chinese MC's are what we D&D players call 'murder-hobos'; they have no real home or base, they just run around murdering and looting people who (conveniently) give them no face. Not this guy.
A particularly striking scene (for me) comes early on. Gu Chensha (the MC) gets the power to sacrifice creatures for heavenly rewards, and so he kills and sacrifices tigers, wolves, and bears to strengthen himself. He's in desperate need of money, so he's super excited when he realizes that there is a sacrificial rite which allows him to sacrifice water-beetles for wealth. He catches many water-beetles which he plans to sacrifice... but then, he has second thoughts. "Tigers, wolves, and bears kill and devour my citizens, and to kill and sacrifice them is right and just. These beetles, however, have never harmed anyone. To massacre them just to earn money for myself doesn't seem to be the right thing to do." And then he feels ashamed and lets the beetles go. He'll figure out another way to get the money he needs.
It's refreshing to see someone with both intelligence and morals, someone who cares about others instead of just being a power-up treadmill runner or a murder-hobo. This is a guy I can wholeheartedly support and cheer on. I like that. And I think you guys will as well!
Synopsis: Skyseal Emperor Gu Taxian is perhaps the greatest Emperor in all of history. He crushed the Hundred Empires and brought them to heel, built the vast Great Stone Wall to keep out the deadly wilders, relocated mountains and rivers to promote commerce, set up roads and highways, and even promoted free academies of learning for the common man in an attempt to uplift them. But the Skyseal Emperor's ambitions involve more than just this - he is preparing to launch a great campaign to stamp out all pagan religions, wishing to allow all men to become like gods instead of merely worshiping them. Deities, demons, and immortals alike tremble and rage at the Skyseal Emperor's ambitions.
Gu Chensha is the nineteenth son of the Skyseal Emperor. His mother had been of the royal Chen clan of the Xian Dynasty, one of the Hundred Empires, which had betrothed her to the Skyseal Emperor in an effort to strengthen ties between them. When they refused to submit once the Skyseal Emperor began his grand campaign, he crushed them along with the rest of the Hundred Empires. Chensha's mother then committed suicide, leaving him alone and friendless at court.
For years, Chensha played the part of a fool to avoid being targeted by the other princes... but by accident or design, he one day discovers the long-lost scroll containing the ancient technique only meant for the Sons of Heaven, the 'Son of Heaven's Consecration'. This technique supposedly gave the ancient Sons of Heaven the power to make mortals into gods... or strip the gods of their godhood.
Finally, Chensha had the power to change his destiny, but he still needed to be careful - his imperial siblings have spent years building up their powerbases, and neither they nor the maternal clans supporting them will take kindly to Chensha pushing his way into their ranks. Moreover, if anyone discovered that he held onto the Rites of Celestial Sacrifice instead of offering them to his imperial father, the punishment would undoubtedly be death! Only time will tell if he can make use of this opportunity to rise up to become a dragon amongst men, or just become a footnote to the grand history of the Aeternal Imperium.