This is a novel set in China, a personal account of the turbulent years of Mao's continuous revolution, including the social and political upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. This is a Chinese story which brings to life the suffering, the adventure, the crushing losses, the unvanquished idealism of the otherwise anonymous heroes and heroines of China's post-war period. The novel tells the story of Mo Bing, from her under-cover work in Shanghai as a Communist Party cadre during the Civil War, through her denunciation and fall from grace during the Cultural Revolution to her rehabilitation and retirement in the early 1990s. Significant parts of the story include the experience of Mo Bing's husband as a soldier and prisoner of war during the Korean War. The Cultural Revolution, and the Red Guard movement feature strongly through Mo Bing and her son. Life can never be exactly the same for Mo Bing and millions of her compatriots when Marshal Lin Biao, Mao's 'closest comrade-in-arms' flees after being accused of attempting to assassinate Mao. Shaken by the Cultural Revolution, as were many of her generation, Mo Bing develops as a survivor, her survival based on faith in herself, her undying idealism and her personal integrity. Trevor Hay and Fang Xiangshu continue their collaboration, building onto their earlier introduction of a distinctly Chinese aesthetic style into Australian literature.