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Chinese-American writer inspired by true story of ‘Flying Tiger’ saved in China

Updated: 2018-07-15 07:51

NEW YORK - "World War Two... China... One cousin's courage, another's determination to help a wounded American pilot." Chinese-American writer Iris Yang's heartwrenching story is now a hot sale in the United States.

Fresh from the print in June, Yang's English novel, Wings of a Flying Tiger, has been well received by readers and book reviewers.

"It is a heroic tale in which ordinary Chinese risked their lives to rescue and safeguard a downed American pilot in WWII in China," said Yang, adding that she based the book on true experience of Tex Hill, the "Flying Tigers" member who was rescued by Chinese villagers.

The "Flying Tigers," or the American Volunteer Group (AVG), was a band of about 300 pilots and ground staff who volunteered to help China fight invading Japanese troops before the United States officially entered WWII.


The novel is framed in the summer of 1942, when Danny Hardy bails out of his fighter plane into a remote region of western China. With multiple injuries, malaria, and Japanese troops searching for him, the American pilot's odds of survival are slim.

Jasmine Bai, an art student who had been saved by Americans during the Nanking Massacre, seems an unlikely heroine to rescue the wounded Flying Tiger. Daisy Bai, Jasmine's younger cousin, also falls in love with the courageous American.

With the help of Daisy's brother, an entire village opens its arms to heal the Flying Tiger with injured wings, but as a result of their charity the serenity of their community is forever shattered.

"I like fiction writing, especially historical fiction. It allows me to create characters in a historical setting. I enjoy the process - learning the history and producing likable or hateful characters," Yang was quoted by BookGlow, the leading website on book promotion, as saying recently after the book debuted in June.

It took her three months full time to finish the first draft, but two more years to rewrite again and again until the book was published.

"My heart sank just a little deeper with every passing scene. At times the anguish was almost unbearable. It was all I could do to keep my composure to the chilling end. I recommend this heartfelt read with no hesitation to any admirer of historical fiction," said Paul Falk in his review of the book on BookGlow.


Yang was born and raised in Wuhan, capital city of China's middle province Hubei, relocated to America in the 1980s for study, and settled down in North Carolina.

With a PhD in biology, Yang still cherishes a dream of literary writing, which has inspired her to complete her first novel and survive various difficulties and setbacks in life.

"The process of writing has changed my life and made me better all the way through," Yang was quoted by major Mandarin newspaper The China Press as saying.

Her grandmother studied in the United Kingdom and later became one of the most respected translators in China. This was the family gene that drove Yang to blossom on the dual tracks of science and literature.

"Writing is hard. If you don't have a burning desire, don't do it. But if you are passionate about it, don't let anything or anyone stop you," said Yang on BookGlow.

The 254-page fiction published by Open Books has won a five-star Average Customer Review on Amazon.

A sequel named Will of a Flying Tiger will be published at the end of this year.

"I'm working on a story based on my grandmother. My grandma's life was a mix of triumphs and tragedies. I'll try my best to write it down," said Yang.

Global Edition
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