Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The Embers of Heaven

A rich, magical saga, set in eighteenth-century China, which will appeal to fans of Joanne Harris and Amy Tan. In The Secrets of Jin-Shei, eight women pledge themselves as sisters in the name of jin-shei, the unbreakable bond, the promise that lasts a lifetime. This sisterhood shapes their lives, their country and their world. "The Embers of Heaven" begins four hundred years later. In eighteenth-century Syai, and its capital city of Linh-an, things have changed beyond recognition. On the face of it, women are more equal than they have ever been. But the men run the machines, the factories, and the technology. Women have lost the ability to weave their fates and influence the course of events. The foundation of an empire once rested on jin-shei and its customs. It connected women from every walk of life and formed a bond that empowered every woman who swore the oath. The advancement of printing, the developments of technology and the changes in society have seemed to improve the daily lives of the underclass, but women have been stripped of this sacred pact. Amais is heir to her poet-ancestress's manuscripts and journals.The journals are all in jin-ashu, the women's tongue, taught sketchily to Amais by her mother. Amais has the clear vision of an outsider looking in. Combined with her deep and instinctive bond to her ancestors and her culture, she determines to reinvent the Women's Country and bring the jin-shei back. But just as her crusade begins, she and her family are caught up in the storm of history: the whirlwind of the Golden Rising - a people's revolution that is fated to destroy much that was once valuable, gracious and beautiful. "The Embers of Heaven" is a magical epic, with delightful characters, an intriguing scenario and a real feeling of place and history. It has a wonderful combination of character, romantic lives, and spiritual quest, set against a credible historical background.

Although the book was an ok read I won't be rushing to buy anymore


Julie said...

Not my kind of thing i dont think LOL

Karan said...

It sounds as if it could give a fascinating insight into the mindset of those eras but I guess it's one of those kinds of books that you either love or hate.