In this stunning novel based loosely on the life of the author's grandfather, an embroiderer in the court of the last king of Vietnam in the early 1900s, Kien Nguyen reimagines his grandfather's amazing story to weave a tapestry of his own. Dan Nguyen is seven years old when he marries a woman twenty years his senior. More mother than wife, Ven takes care of Dan until the day he leaves his childhood forever - when he witnesses his father's brutal beheading at the hands of the power-hungry mayor. In order to protect Dan until he is old enough to defend his father's honour, Ven hides him as a servant in the house of the enemy, where he falls in love with the one person he can never have - the mayor's beautiful granddaughter, Tai May. Dan's journey from child to slave to embroiderer in the Royal Court, where he has the chance to win Tai May's heart, is a story of spellbinding drama, intrigue, and an unforgettable love affair. Kien Nguyen's sensual, richly detailed writing paints a vivid portrait of turn-of-the-century Vietnam.
Kien Nguyen was born in Nhatrang, South Vietnam in 1967. He left Vietnam in 1985 through the United Nations 'Orderly Departure Program'. After spending time at a refugee camp in the Phillippines, Nguyen arrived in the United States. He has written a memoir about his childhood in Vietnam called THE UNWANTED and is currently at work on a second novel.