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Maggie Bawden

‘A very enjoyable read: I chuckled a lot. Robert Mullen is a new voice with a sustained style. Kafkaesque but without the dark edge.’


Robert Mullen was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Virginia. After studying at George Washington University, he did graduate work at the University of Alberta and became a lecturer at McGill University. 


His published works include a volume of short stories, Americas, which was shortlisted for a Commonwealth First Book award, and Call of the Camino: Myths, Legends and Pilgrim Stories on the Way to Santiago de Compostela

He has lived in in Edinburgh for many years.


All roads lead to the Celestial City, and when schoolmaster Po Cheng drinks too much and falls into a dream, he finds himself on just such a road.


Assisted by teaching colleague Miss Ling, Po Cheng reaches the imperial capital, rising up through the giddy ranks of the Chinese civil service to become Prime Minister.


But what Heaven—and alcohol—hand out, they can also claw back. Trouble is brewing inside and outside the city walls, and Po Cheng’s eminence means he must now take the rap and face consequences inevitable from the start.


Mustard Seed Itinerary is a brilliant first novel by an important new voice, bringing to the formal conventions of traditional Chinese literature the wry humour of Carrollian satire. 


As Mullen says, ‘In Daoism and Buddhism, dream journeys serve as voyages of discovery from which only a blockhead would return none the wiser. And Po Cheng is no blockhead.’

Robert Mullen

Mustard Seed Itinerary


PUBLISHER EnvelopeBooks 

FORMAT Paperback/Softback 

EXTENT 302 pages
SIZE 203mm x 127mm (8” x 5”) 

ISBN 9781838172046

GENRES Fiction, Satire, China, Politics

RRP £12.99
PUBLICATION DATE 14 October 2021 

PR/PUBLICITY Dr Stephen Games