A sweeping epic set in medieval China; it is the story of a group
of women, the Jin-Shei sisterhood, who form a uniquely powerful
circle that transcends class and social custom. They are bound
together by a declaration of loyalty that transcends all other
vows, even those with the gods, by their own secret language,
passed from mother to daughter, by the knowledge that some of them
will have to pay the ultimate sacrifice to enable others to fulfil
their destiny. The sisterhood we meet run from the Emperor's sister
to the street-beggar, from the trainee warrior in the Emperor's
Guard to the apprentice healer, from the artist to the
traveller-girl, herself an illegitimate daughter of an emperor and
seen as a threat to the throne. And as one of them becomes Dragon
Empress, her determination to hold power against the sages of the
temple, against the marauding forces from other kingdoms, drags the
sisterhood into a dangerous world of court intrigue, plot and
counterplot, and brings them into conflict with each other from
which only the one who remains true to all the vows she made at the
very beginning to the dying Princess Empress can rescue them. An
amazing and unusual book, based on some historical fact, full of
drama, adventure and conflict like a Shakespearean history play,
it's a novel about kinship and a society of women, of mysticism,
jealousy, fate, destiny, all set in the wonderful, swirling
background of medieval China.
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