Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast

Reviews For Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast

This podcast is awesome! I also recommend that listeners take advantage of the materials provided on the podcast website — they really help you keep the characters straight and gain a better understanding of events in the story.
This podcast is a compelling retelling of one of the greatest historical novels of all time, based on a true historical period in Chinese history. John Zhu sets out to bring new life to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, and he accomplishes this in style by bringing emotion, humor, and historical context. He adds a personal touch with his dialog and commentary. The essence of Luo Guanzhong’s classic tale of virtuous heroes, epic battles, political intrigue, and bloody betrayals is alive and well thanks to John Zhu’s passionate portrayal. Thanks for the podcast!
This podcast is fantastic. Great story telling and passion.
Fantastic storytelling - John Zhu is the man!
The best rundown of the novel available without the fluff.


I have listened to this podcast twice now. If you’re even here thinking about it, just listen, it’s fantastic.
Liu Bei has eyes so big they can see his ears!
What a great way to dive into Chinese culture and history! A truly masterful presentation! John drives this home and I cannot believe our good fortune that he is continuing his work with the Water Margin Podcast!!!!
I learned about the Three Kingdom period through the many video game adaptations. Naturally, I wanted to read the source material, but I needed a bit of help to understand some of the concepts presented in the novel. This podcast helped me finish the novel and learn more about one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t recommend this podcast enough if you need a jumping on point for Romance of the Three Kingdoms! Thanks so much for all your hard work!
I have been craving this podcast for 15 years. After first learning of ROT3K thru the Koei game series I was enraptured by the characters and narrative. Saw the Chinese miniseries in its entirety thru YouTube with English subtitles. I truly appreciate your dedication and time put into something that has become so important to me. Thanks
As a youngster growing up in China, Three Kingdoms was one my favorite stories. I read many of the illustrated comics and watched films based on the novel. Also listened radio drama which is similar to this podcast. With great difficulty, I did attempt to the the original novel in Chinese text. The English translation was also difficult to follow, specially with character names that similar sounding names. Geography names were tough as well. John Zhu has done a great job in delivering the major plot lines and characters while reducing confusion by summarizing tangents and minor characters. The background explanations and supplemental content provides excellent context. Thank you for this labor of love.
I came here because of my interest as a kid in the Dynasty Warriors series and the newly released Total War: Three Kingdoms. The story was even more amazing than I ever thought and the storytelling in this podcast was phenomenal. Looking forward to the next chapter in John’s podcast journey!
Insightful and entertaining story telling of what could be the most epic and intriguing period of human history.
This amazing telling kept me entertained so well I finished what took you almost 4 years in about a little over 2 weeks! Thanks for the opportunity to hear this fantastic story told in a way that felt less bland than most official translations. It’s was like listening to my favorite history teachers bring there lessons to life with there passion and charisma. Please don’t take that as an insult, I only listened and paid attention to my history teachers.
John Zhu does a fantastic job of rendering an extremely complex, dense novel fun and approachable. It’s great to listen to, and the narrator trims the unnecessary while keeping the listener aware of all the myriad threads going on. If you’ve ever wanted to read and understand this novel, this is the way to do it.


By wlai
Love this podcast, John is both knowledgable and a good stroy teller, despite being a first time podcaster. Well worth subscribing if you are at all interested in the subject, and want to learn about Chinese history and culture.
I love John Zhu’s infectious enthusiasm for the subject matter and his meticulous attention to detail. Combine that with his unique storytelling style which just overflows with personality and you get a great podcast! Looking forward to the Outlaws of the Marsh podcast next!
I’ve enjoyed this so much, I’m listening to the entire thing again-and having more fun the second time. It’s a classic, but it’s the narrator that makes it. I’m really looking forward to his next project!
This podcast brings to life one of the world’s greatest and most influential novels, finally making it accessible to an English speaking audience. The novel is not just fascinating and entertaining, but also filled with profound insights into human nature. The novel is also a key to Chinese cultural literacy. It is an encyclopedia of Chinese culture, and continues to inform the way Chinese people see the world. So appreciating this great story is also a way to understand the Chinese national character.
John Zhu has developed an essential supplement of interesting facts and patterns to RTK. Forever a fan and looking forward to Water Margin podcast! Many thanks!!
I loved how you retold the book in a way that was really fun to listen to! I always looked forward to finding out what happens next. Thanks for doing this!!
I’m listening to this podcast as my first exposure to the story of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This take on the story is entertaining and humorous, the pronunciation is correct (which is important because there are LOTS of names) and it spices up what could otherwise be a dry collection of battles.
I’ve been so thrilled to find this podcast. I really needed a companion to this great book so that I could grasp everything going on there. I can’t thank you enough for doing this for everyone. You ROCK John!
I’ve always been wanting to read this story and now I enjoy the convenience of hearing it while driving. Thank you John Zhu!
I've been listening to this podcast since about 8 months ago and I couldn't be any happier with it. Superb narration and highly entertaining style with that ever important side of authenticity to make this a truly delicious meal for the ears and mind.
A great retelling of the novel that inspired movies, tv shows and the successful gaming series Dynasty Warriors. The story tell gets really into the plot and is very informative about the material
I recently found this podcast, and I am so happy I did. I am long time fan of the books. I could never find a suitable audio medium. It is told very well and is presented in an intresting way. Fantastic job!
As a lover of the Chinese classics I look forward to this each week. Spectacular job to all involved. Also the news of the Water Margin Podcast was the best birthday gift I could ever hope for.
The narrator is tells the story with all drama, humor, and snide commentary one could want while remaining reverent to the source material. Superb podcast. Hopefully the narrator will consider talking in the Outlaws of the Marsh after ROTK.
Romance of the three Kingdoms is a seminal work of Chinese literature and references and homages to it crop up everywhere in Southeast Asian media. The text itself however is super dense, full of references to ancient figures you’ve never heard of and poetry that often doesn’t scan in English. So do yourself a favor and listen to this podcast instead. References to earlier historical figures are explained, unimportant digressions are glossed over, and character dialogue is dramatically acted out by the host. This is by far the most accessible way to experience this classic tale and have a good time doing so.
I’ve been curious about the Romance of the Three Kingdoms for a few years, and this podcast is an excellent way to experience it. The narrator makes the story quite entertaining and gives additional details where necessary.
Thanks for the hard work put into this podcast. Can tell it’s a labor of love
Absolutely amazing he does an Incredible job bringing the story of the three kingdoms to Westerners
With a nice touch of personality and a way of talking and making jokes that anyone can understand this is a great modern telling of the classic Chinese epic. I love this podcast an am on my second time through. Thanks sooo much for doing this for all of us
As an “older student” teaching herself Chinese; its’ podcasts like this that keep me motivated whilst also delving into the culture!
Anyone who is like the 3 kingdoms story would most likely enjoy this podcast. The caster is great at explaining the cultural references. The story itself is rich and exciting. I’m surprised this isn’t an HBO show.
This man has taken years of his own time to put this together for western listeners and I am vary thankful he has, we couldn’t have been able to get the story with out it. I’ve always known about the romance of the three kingdoms and I’ve always thought it was amazing and now I can truly experience it. Also if you are interested in the new total war: three kingdoms game that is coming out soon this is a grate way to get to know a little more of the store before it comes out.
Whether you have a long history with the novel or are a newcomer, this is a wonderful approach. The writer's use of classical commentary but with modern allusions is just a riot (HAL 9000 references applied to Third Century AD China? Good as it gets!). The supplemental episodes are also a great way to learn some Chinese history in a hurry. But the real pleasure is from the adapted narration itself. Many thanks to the author (and the Kaiser Kuo podcast for referencing it); I am totally enjoying the experience.
Huge fan of this part in Chinese history since dynasty warriors 3 and even bigger fan since becoming hooked to this podcast... Great insight and even bought the 3 kingdoms book part 1... Oh and the burn parts with zhuge Liang and sun quan’s advisors and then on was just too funny hahaha wicked burn... Keep 'em coming!!
One of the best podcast that I’ve came across. I look forward to each and every episode. The host is charismatic and entertaining while the story itself is engrossing. So happy to have been able to find someone to tell this tale in such a comprehensive and entertaining way.
I've been interested in this book for a long time and have even read it in translation. However, John's podcast brings it alive in a special way. Very enjoyable and a must listen to anyone interested in Chinese culture or just a rip-roaring yarn. John is getting near the end of the story now, but his story-telling abilities continue to be stellar.
I like it
This is a great retelling of this Chinese classic. He makes it easy to follow and very enjoyable.
I just happened upon this podcast randomly, but man what a find! John's descriptive storytelling and hilarious insight adds a lot to the story and my perception of the characters. I've completely just binge listened to his podcast for the past couple months and am really sad that I'm all caught up! I hope there's tons more to come and I am really excited for some more supplemental episodes! Keep it up John! Amazing work!
I have always been intrigued by the story of The Romance of Three Kingdoms starting with playing the Dynasty Warriors series. As I grew older I started to become more interested in the actual characters and there history. Hence how I found out about this amazing book. This podcast brings this book to life with fantastic narration and very important supplemental information. Life changing podcast!
This podcast truly succeeds in its stated mission: it really does make the elaborate plot of the novel understandable to uninitiated westerners (like me). What's better, it's funny and entertaining as well! Highly recommend.
One evening flying back to North Carolina from Boston a couple of months ago, I got to the gate 90 minutes early and started binge-listening to some episodes of this marvelous podcast and actually missed my flight. That's how absorbed I was. John is a gifted storyteller and a — I know this because we've hung out on a number of occasions — just a great guy. What he's done here, through his dedication and devotion to quality, is to create something of great public value. He has a great knack for knowing when something needs to be unpacked and explained a bit, or when we might need a quick refresher on a character we've not seen for a while. I may just start over again from the beginning when that dreaded day comes and the series actually ends. Kudos to John for putting this out there in the world for us all to enjoy!!
Kinda reminds me of a younger version of my 7th grade history teacher. Worth the listen.
If you have any interest in the Chinese classics, or even just stories of grand adventure and strategic backstabbing, I recommend this podcast for you. John is an excellent storyteller who makes this epic accessible to English-speaking audiences. As the Romance is based on history, he also occasionally comments on the difference between the actual history and the fiction. This is an intimidating text, but John makes it come alive in a natural way for those who don't have all of the cultural background to understand it in context. As of the writing this review he's about two thirds of the way through the story, so there's still time to catch up before the end. One recommendation to listeners: if you don't already know the story well, I recommend you don't listen at faster than 1x speed as many of the names will go by very quickly and can be more difficult to hear correctly, e.g. "Lü" will be hard to distinguish from "Li."