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" A rich and nuanced portrait of eighteenth-century China...a magical book." Delia Sherman "Gently intriguing, brilliantly detailed...Lotus's singular story of enlightenment, involving a statue of the goddess Tara and the secret of a mandala, is the radiant center of these diversions." "Publishers Weekly" "A luminous, self-contained, fluid world in which history, legend, and religious quest create a portrait of an age- the glittering high noon of the Manchu Empire...An exemplary novelist again makes history a playful parade of personalities, period details, and ordinary people conscripted by the times." "Kirkus Review" "Both educational and thoroughly enjoyable." Nancy Pearl, "Booklist"