The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China's history, marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellions and ending in the demise of the Ch'ing Dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one woman, the resilient, ever-resourceful Tsu Hsi -- or Empress Orchid, as readers came to know her in Anchee Min's critically acclaimed, best-selling novel covering her rise to power. The Last Empress is the story of Orchid's dramatic transition from a strong-willed, instinctive young woman to a wise and politically savvy leader who ruled China for more than four decades. In this concluding volume Min gives us a compelling, very human leader who assumed power reluctantly and sacrificed all to protect those she loved and an empire that was doomed to die.
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by Anchee Min
by Daphne Du Maurier
by Lauraine Snelling
by Sue Hubbell
by Lawrence Block
by Karen Kingsbury
by Kate Chopin
by Angela Hunt
by Joyce Reardon
"In Min's first book, EMPRESS ORCHID, Alexandra O'Karma portrayed a 17-year-old concubine whose feisty temperament gained her entrance to the bed of the emperor and put her in a powerful position. Now Empress Tzu Hsi, who is based on a real-life nineteenth-century figure, is middle-aged, and O'Karma's voice portrait is mature and weary. This makes more and more sense as Empress Orchid ages and faces nonstop personal and political stresses. She gives up the man she loves, sees her birth son die, and discovers her adopted son's weakness. Her impoverished government is under siege by foreign powers and is being attacked from within by warring factions. Despite all, O'Karma's delivery reveals the strength and caring of this fictionalized character in a portrait that, according to the author, attempts to "rehabilitate" history's vilifying picture of the Empress. S.W. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine"
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