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I'm trying to remember the title of a historical fantasy novel that I read many years ago (say, 2002) and it was pretty old back then. The story is set in China and involves the adventures of a disciple and his master (possibly a magician or a sage or something like that). One of their tasks was to hunt for the rare ginseng herb possibly in order to create an antidote. I guess that this is a pretty obscure description. The stories might have revolved around ancient Chinese fables.

While this may also be inexact, I recall that the author might have been famous or at least well-respected in the genre. The names of the two characters might have rhymed. I can also picture a large lake full of lanterns in the midst of which sits a royal personage. There might have been a tiger or a character named so.

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While I don't remember the plot line specifically, your description strongly reminds me of Barry Hughart's series of novels featuring Number 10 Ox and Master Li. They're a series of historical fantasy novels, they feature this sort of quests, and the main character is named after an animal, though it's not a tiger.

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    The first novel, Bridge of Birds, has the two searching for "The Great Root of Power" (which turns out to be Ginseng) to create an antidote for a poison. Sounds good to me. – Tacroy Jan 11 '13 at 22:02
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    Yep, I came here to answer with Bridge of Birds. – Solemnity Jan 12 '13 at 0:15
  • Perfect! Thank you! – coleopterist Jan 12 '13 at 4:18

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