A multi-stranded historical epic set in China in 1937, when Wuhan stood alone against a whirlwind of war and violence.
Everyone's heard of Wuhan in connection with Covid-19. But 80 years ago it was equally famous as the first place on earth to decisively defeat fascism.
In 1937 Japan invaded China, slaughtering 20 million Chinese – mainly civilians. As vast swathes of the country fell to the invaders, Wuhan was appointed wartime capital and symbol of Chinese resistance. China, a medieval society, began a desperately needed reorganisation – transforming itself militarily, educationally, medically and culturally.
Their heroic efforts in Wuhan halted the Japanese.
Weaving together a multitude of narratives, Wuhan is a historical fiction epic that pulls no punches: the heart-in-mouth story of a peasant family forced onto a thousand-mile refugee death-march; the story of Lao She – China's greatest writer – leaving his family in a war-zone to assist with the propaganda effort in Wuhan; the hellish battlefields of the Sino-Japanese war; the approaching global war seen through a host of colourful characters – from Chiang Kai-Shek, China's nationalist leader, to Peter Fleming, British journalist based in Wuhan and a prototype for his younger brother Ian Fleming's James Bond.