Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a historical novel set amidst the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.
The story (part historical, part legend, and part myth) chronicles the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han Dynasty or restore it. While the novel actually follows literally hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han Dynasty, and would eventually form the three states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. The novel deals with the plots, personal and army battles, intrigues, and struggles of these states to achieve dominance for almost 100 years. This novel also gives readers a sense of how the Chinese view their history in a cyclical lens. The famous opening lines of the novel summarize this view: It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide (話說天下大勢，分久必合，合久必分).
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; it has a total of 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters (mostly historical) in 120 chapters. The novel is among the most beloved works of literature in East Asia, and its literary influence in the region has been compared to that of the works of Shakespeare had on English literature. It is arguably the most widely-read historical novel in late imperial and modern China.