"A stunning gem of a novella that explores the complexity and layers of storytelling and celebrates the wonder of queer love. I could read about Chih recording tales forever."—Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR
The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.
Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and The Singing Hills Cycle in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, a mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
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Vo follows The Empress of Salt and Fortune with another dazzling, standalone novella featuring Cleric Chih as they explore the northern region of Anh. A quick trip to a local way station is derailed by a trio of tigers who corner Chih and their guide, Si-yu, in a barn. When the tigers, who speak with human voices, learn that Chih is an accomplished story archivist, they demand to hear the human version of a legend shared among their kind before eating the travelers. At their request, Chih tells the story of Scholar Dieu, a woman dedicated to her studies, who comes upon the tiger Ho Thi Thao. Though the tigers frequently interrupt Chih to counter the human narrative with their own version of events, it is clear Dieu and Ho Thi Thao are intricately linked in both human and tiger history. Vo elegantly threads the legend through the frame story, and Chih's personal history is equally, if not more, fascinating than the legend of Ho Thi Thao. Readers who missed Vo's debut will have no trouble following the second leg of Chih's travels, and those returning will be pleased to sink into another lush, sophisticated story of queer love and survival. \n