A group of foreigners in the northeastern town of Shishan finds the status quo upset when Helen Frances, a young woman with a middle class upbringing but a fatal flaw, arrives and falls in love with the Hon Henry Manners.
The most astonishing range of characters awaits you in this novel; the wicked brothel-keeper Madam Liu and her sadistic son Ren Ren, the pragmatic, rational missionary Dr Airton, the American zealot Septimus Harding, the equivocal Mandarin. Not to mention the wonderfully complicated anti-hero Henry Manners, the prostitutes Fan Yimei and Shen Ping, the bandit Iron Man Wang, the Mongolian shaman. And the ingenue, Helen Frances herself, whose innocence covers an unorthodox curiosity.
If you like derring-do, murderous characters, interesting sexual practices and intrigue, this is for you . . . indulge in a heady, passionate drama. - Sunday Express
Absolutely wonderful - Penny Vincenzi
Storytelling of the epic kind - this 700 page tale about sinners and lovers in 1900s China will have you gripped - Heat
An epic historical and romantic story as well as an impressive first novel. - Sunday Mirror