In the final years of the 19th century violence and turmoil led to the collapse of China's Qing Dynasty. Valeda Duval, a beautiful and independent French colonialist, and Kyung-su. Lee, a Korean minister stationed in Peking, fall in love after he saves her life during the bloody Boxer Rebellion. Breaking racial and societal taboos on both sides they remain together and have a son. Throughout Asia, European and Japanese imperialism reaches its height. Japan occupies Korea, brutally snuffing out its independence while advancing into Manchuria as its first step in conquering all of China. Minister Lee, suddenly a man without a country, must go into exile. "In the Dragon's Wake" is the story of how he transforms himself from a traditional aristocrat, a Confucian-trained royalist and servant of his king, into a radical leader of the anti-Japanese resistance and secret arms buyer for the liberation movement. All the while Lee raises his mixed-race son to be a patriot and future leader of the resistance. But conflict threatens his family: Valeda doesn't want her son to be a fighter. Around them the dynasty collapses. Sun Yat-sen tries to replace it with a republic, but the northern warlords want a new empire. Anarchy cripples China as the boy grows to manhood in the midst of this chaos and bloodshed. His story is told in book two.