|: Anchee Min
|: Bloomsbury Publishing
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'Empress Orchid is strong on both sexual chicanery and violent conspiracy ... fascinating' GUARDIAN 'An engrossing story ... enhanced by Min's imaginative power ... Like all good novelists, she implies as much as she says, and her characterisation is subtle and worldly-wise' GLASGOW HERALD _________________________ It is the 19th century, and China is in chaos. One woman will rise from poverty to change its history for ever. To rescue her family from poverty and avoid marrying her slope-shouldered cousin, seventeen-year-old Orchid competes to be one of the Emperor's wives. When she is chosen as a lower-ranking concubine she enters the erotically charged and ritualised Forbidden City. But beneath its immaculate façade lie whispers of murders and ghosts, and the thousands of concubines will stoop to any lengths to bear the Emperor's son. Orchid trains herself in the art of pleasuring a man, bribes her way into the royal bed, and seduces the monarch, drawing the attention of dangerous foes. Little does she know that China will collapse around her, and that she will be its last Empress...