At the end of the nineteenth century China is rocked by humiliating foreign attacks and local rebellions. The only constant is the power wielded by one woman: the resilient, ever-resourceful Tzu Hsi, also known as Empress Orchid. Moving from the intimacy of the concubine quarters into the spotlight of the world stage, Orchid makes a dramatic metamorphosis from a strong-willed young woman to a wise political leader, who must not only face the perilous condition of her fading empire but also a series of devastating personal losses. Yearning to step aside yet growing constantly into her role, only she can hold the nation's rival factions together. In this sequel to the bestselling novel Empress Orchid, Anchee Min brings to life one of the most important figures in Chinese history, a very human leader who assumes power reluctantly, and who sacrifices all she has to protect both those she loves and her doomed empire.
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labour collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller with rights sold in twenty countries. Her novels, Becoming Madame Mao, Katherine, Wild Ginger and Empress Orchid were published to wonderful reviews and impressive foreign sales.