Originally envisaged as a nine-volume series, Wingrove ran into problems in the writing of the eighth book, The Marriage of the Living Dark, such as not being paid properly for it and being told by the publishers they were not interested in a ninth book, as sales of the series were going down. Wingrove had to collapse the story intended to spread across two volumes into one. The final volume was in print only briefly, is now difficult to find and has been harshly criticised ever since the original release, a perspective Wingrove has agreed on.
Word began to spread a couple of years back that there might be some movement on the series, and Wingrove had reportedly been working on new material set in the Chung Kuo universe. It now appears, that after several false starts, the series will indeed be relaunched in a big way by the small publisher Corvus-Atlantic (mentioned on the very last page), starting at the end of 2010.
The first seven books have been broken into two volumes apiece (the very large existing books apparently not being economical for the smaller publisher to release), whilst the disappointing Marriage of the Living Dark has had 300,000 words added to it (effectively doubling its size) and then been broken into four smaller volumes. There will also be a new final novel (title unknown), transforming the core Chung Kuo series into a massive nineteen-volume saga. In addition, a new prequel novel, Son of Heaven, has been written to kick off the series and Wingrove is now working on a new, stand-alone novel set in the same universe, Dawn in the Stone City.
The existing volumes of the series are:
- The Middle Kingdom (1989)
- The Broken Wheel (1990)
- The White Mountain (1992)
- The Stone Within (1993)
- Beneath the Tree of Heaven (1994)
- White Moon, Red Dragon (1995)
- Days of Bitter Strength (1997)
- The Marriage of the Living Dark (1999)