In this soaring epic, Daniel Fox weaves the ancient myths and legends of feudal China into a fantasy world of brutal war and brittle passion, immortal gods and mystical creatures.
With the long-chained dragon now free and the rebels’ invasion smashed by her exultant fury, the balance of power has changed. Young emperor Chien Hua is no longer struggling for survival; now he is ambitious to strike back. As treacherous General Ping Wen whispers in the emperor’s ear, not even Chien Hua’s beloved concubine or his most trusted bodyguard can reason with him. Worse, prolonged exposure to magical jade is changing him radically: His increasingly godlike powers are making him dangerously rash.
But with the dragon patrolling the skies above and the strait beneath, the emperor’s forces have no hope of launching a counterattack—until a goddess moves to interfere. Yet neither the clash of armies nor the opposing wills of goddess and dragon can decide ultimate victory or defeat. The fate of the war lies in the blood-deep bonds between the dragon and the boy Han, her jailer and her liberator—and in the prices both will pay for their freedom.
Building on the brilliantly subtle groundwork laid in 2009 s Dragon in Chains, Fox s Chinese fantasy series continues as the now-unchained dragon threatens human civilization. Han, the one-time apprentice scribe who freed the dragon, is still tied to her mind. The young emperor, in exile on the island of Taishu, finds the beast is both protector and jailer, while general-turned-pirate Li Ton discovers the hard way that he has other, more immediate enemies from his past. When a sea goddess intervenes, she is no friend of the dragon, but she may be even less kind to the people. Readers who enjoyed Fox s delicate descriptions and leisurely prose will be thrilled to find more of the same, along with greater depth of story as the numerous characters are pulled together by schemes and destiny.