Book Review – The Balance of Heaven and Earth: A Magistrate Zhu Mystery by Laurence Eastwood


Happy Sunday Everyone!! I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. Today, I have my review for The Balance of Heaven and Earth: A Magistrate Zhu Mystery by Laurence Eastwood.



Published:  September 30th 2018

Published by: Shikra Press

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery

Pages: Paperback 277


I have been unable to write a judgement that does not seem to offend my conscience, or indeed Heaven, in some manner. Because I do not wish to influence your thinking unduly, I have destroyed all my personal papers and notes in regard to this dispute, preferring you to start afresh. Forgive me for this. All I ask is that you consider and examine Jade Moon most carefully before coming to a decision. I find her fascinating and unsettling in equal measure, and fear the consequences of a wrongful judgement. I will say no more.

My sincerest best wishes to you and your family,

Magistrate Qian
Fifth District, Chengdu Prefecture
1st day of the 2nd Moon, 1085

So ends the letter of welcome (and of warning) to Magistrate Zhu, newly arrived in the remote border town of Tranquil Mountain. He has travelled far from his extensive family estates on the outskirts of Kaifeng – the glorious Song Dynasty capital – hoping to find atonement for past mistakes.

Yet he quickly discovers that Tranquil Mountain is anything but tranquil. The town is beset with simmering tensions since the death of his predecessor. Before Magistrate Zhu even has time to accustom himself to his inexperienced and wayward constabulary and the lowliness of his new surroundings, there is a mysterious murder, rumours of ghosts and blood-thirsty bandits out on the streets, and a disturbing kidnapping to solve – as well as the tragic and tangled legal circumstances of the local heroine Jade Moon to unravel.

For the balance of Heaven and Earth to be maintained, and to prevent catastrophe coming to Tranquil Mountain, Magistrate Zhu is well aware that not a single injustice can be allowed to stand. As he struggles to reach the correct judgements, he realises he has no choice but to offer up his career and perhaps even his own life for the greater good. And, in so doing, he discovers that as Jade Moon’s fate rests in his hands, so his fate ultimately rests in hers.




A Fascinating Read with Wonderful Characters and Beautiful Scenery

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I’ve been trying to be more open-minded about reading more books outside my comfort zone, so when the author contacted me and offered a copy of this book, I decided that this could be a fun and interesting story. I’ve actually been liking many mystery books in the past year and I love reading diverse books. And, being ¼ Chinese, I was curious to see what this book would be about. Oh and the cover looked amazing too! Well, I can’t say I loved The Balance of Heaven and Earth: A Magistrate Zhu Mystery by Laurence Eastwood, but it was enjoyable in its own way.

So, there was mystery, intrigue, some action, and a little romance, but I personally didn’t feel excited about the story as much as I thought I would. The writing was amazing and the storyline was well-developed. Eastwood’s knowledge about ancient China did shine through in the book and I was fascinated by the world-building. However, I just wasn’t entirely sucked in and I felt quite disconnected with the story. At the end of the day, this just wasn’t what I thought it would be and that’s okay. I appreciated this book for what it was and I enjoyed the wonderful characters, the beautiful scenery and exploring Tranquil Mountain, and all the interesting things about China.

Overall, I thought The Balance of Heaven and Earth: A Magistrate Zhu Mystery was an interesting book. While it may not have been the story for me, I did enjoy the writing, the vibrant world-building, the intrigue, and lovely characters. If you’re a history enthusiast and love a good mystery, then this might be the perfect book for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.




Graduating from the University of York with a (probably ill-advised) degree in Theoretical Physics, Laurence commenced upon a varied career in law enforcement and management consultancy.

After a few years with Birmingham Trading Standards where he specialised in anti-competitive practices investigations, he led an investigation team for the software industry tasked with intellectual property enforcement across the United Kingdom as well as the provision of training in computer law and computer forensics to all UK law enforcement authorities and the military.

In 2001, he set up his own management consultancy firm providing training and advice to both the public and private sectors on legal risk and information security. He regularly lectures at the University of Warwick on computer law and IP enforcement.

He has had a long-standing fascination with the political, military, social and legal history of China.

He lives just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon.




Thanks for stopping by loves! Hope you enjoyed reading this review.



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