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From the back cover:
With his last breath, China's First Emperor, Q'in She Huang, entrusts his followers with a sacred task. Scenes intricately carved into a narwhal tusk show the future of a city "at the Bend in the River," and the Emperor's chosen three-his favourite concubine, head Confucian, and personal bodyguard-must bring these prophecies to life by passsing their traditions on for generations.
Centuries later, the descendants of the Emperor's chosen confiantes observe as Shanghai is invaded by opium traders and missionaries from Europe, America, and the Middle East. Of them all, two families - locked in a rivalry that will ast for generations-will be central to the evolution of the city. As history marches on, locals and foriegn interlopers clash and intertwine, thier combined fates shaping what will become the cenrepiece of the new China -Shanghi.
the onerous task of bearing the weight of state on their shoulders, ending with, “Even a loved daughter is not more to us than our love of our land.” The horns give way to a chopping, snarling series of echoing notes from the arhu. In syncopation to the beat, the young Princess arrives. She wears a headdress with two tall feathers, and the sleeves of her Chinkiang silk gown are rolled up to expose her hands. She glides across the stage with such grace that the audience literally gasps. The tilt
soon enough,” she’d said. The Fisherman was deep in thought about his lost son and worried who, now that his nephew was gone, would lead the Guild of Assassins. He had another son, and perhaps he had the years left in him to complete the boy’s training. The Confucian thought of his father’s bent frame and the book of ancient writings he’d been given. All the weight of the family’s addiction to opium had been carried on his father’s back as surely as a coolie carries water on his carrying poles.
Black-Haired people—the only ones who can build the Seventy Pagodas.” “But the Communists …” “Are just another foreign fish in the great sea of China.” Loa Wei Fen turned to the Carver. “You must leave Shanghai. The Confucian will surely punish you.” “He’s already taken my workshop and every piece I’ve made. What more can he do?” “Bring me your son,” Loa Wei Fen said. “What will you …?” “He will come with me and my sons.” “And where …?” “Away. Far away, to get ready for the return of the
Hordoon brothers, by the minute, fell further and further into debt. Finally the door opened and Richard was ushered into an office that was a perfect replica of a London men’s club—unnecessarily stuffy, with the windows closed and draped. The leather of the chair stuck to his shirt the moment he sat. “God damn it!” Richard muttered. “It is inadvisable to take the Lord’s name in vain in these premises. At least swear in Yiddish if you insist on cussing.” The older man stood in the doorway, his
chapter thirty-one Death and Birth in the Bamboo North of Shanghai, across the Huangpo River, in the Pudong 1854 Somehow the Body Guard knew it would end up in the bamboo thicket—that death and decision would come in the bamboo—so he had avoided it for as long as he could. But now they were in there, obscured from his view—only the movement of the elegant stems in the crisp early morning light gave a hint as to their whereabouts. And now the screams of “Help me, Father! Help me, Father!” over