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Empress : a novel
Shan Sa
Adult Fiction SHAN

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From Library Journal:

Reading this book is like watching the Chinese movies Hero or House of Flying Daggers. There is great natural beauty and impressive pageantry, punctuated by sudden bursts of violence, and it is hard to keep all the characters and their stories straight. A Beijing native who now lives in France, Sa (The Girl Who Played Go) tells the story of a young girl called Heavenlight who lives in seventh-century China. Heavenlight rises to great heights as Empress Wu, the first empress of China, ruling alone as emperor after her husband dies. Holding on to this extraordinary power isn't for the faint of heart, with treachery and insurrections everywhere. Although she accomplishes much during her reign, the empress rules with an iron hand, eliminating anyone who is a threat, including many family members. Novels about life in imperial courts in the Far East have proved popular lately. Readers who enjoyed Anchee Min's Empress Orchid, a novel about China's last empress, who ruled some 1200 years after Wu, may enjoy this one, too.-Leslie Patterson, Blanding P.L., Rehoboth, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Heaven light
Age: 624-705
Father passed away; summoned to serve the Emperor at the age of 12; helps Little Phoenix become heir; enters a monastery; has Little Phoenix's son; returns to court; becomes Empress Wu; becomes the de facto ruler; convinces she acts for the nation's good; becomes Supreme Empres; rules with an Iron Hand.

Little Phoenix
Becomes emperor, makes Heaven Light empress; allows Heaven Light to rule for him.

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