If you read one saga in your life, you would die happy having read Outlaws of the Marsh. This is a particularly good translation and edition in that they take perhaps eight or ten different versions of this story and pack it all together in one bit so you get more quality tale for the buck. Mr. Shapiro even discusses the differences between several of the versions in the beginning of the book.
The saga takes you through a few decades of this roaming band of Chinese warriors in a land of corruption and evil. Though they are no angels themselves (in fact they are demons on Earth), they fight together for loyalty and honor in the name of the Emperor during the Song dynasty.
The descriptions of the battles are vivid and enthralling, and the window into the culture of that time is truly something to cherish.
An ancient story such as this is not something to be taken lightly, though it has plenty of humor, sorrow, and action to captivate the attention of all ages. Characters such as Sagacious Lu, Stumpy Tiger Wang, and Liu Kui the Blackwhirlwind, will forever be a part of you in your travels. Chairman Mao, himself, actually carried this book with him during the Long March in China as a constant reminder of the proud traditions of the Chinese people.
From reading some of the other reviews, I think I've come to a realization. For readers, Outlaws of the Marsh and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are a little bit like 1984 and Brave New World. Hear me out, doubters. If you read Brave New World first, you tend to have a pretty strong dislike for 1984, and vice versa. Those who've read Romance of the Three Kingdoms may pick up Outlaws of the Marsh expecting something similar in style. If that's what they're after, they'll be disappointed. I however read 1984 first, as well as Outlaws of the Marsh. Therefore, I couldn't even stand to finish Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Like it or not, Outlaws of the Marsh is truly one of a kind. You'll likely finish it like I did, wanting even more, but realizing that you've just eaten the very last Twinkie on the planet. Except here, you can just go back and reread it all over again.