Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 15 March 2006. Anchee Min draws a vivid portrait of a flawed yet compelling woman and, through her life, the world of the Chinese court and the sexual and political lives of the royal concubines.
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It is the final days of the Chinese empire. Orchid, a beautiful seventeen-year-old from an aristocratic but impoverished family, is pushed into the malestrom when she finds herself unexpectedly chosen to become a low-ranking concubine of the Emperor.
The world inside the Forbidden City is erotically charged and highly ritualised, but beneath its immaculate face lie whispers of murders and ghosts. The thousands of concubines will go to any lengths to bear the Emperor a son and become his Empress. Determined not to be a victim of the jealousies and foul play, Orchid trains herself in the art of pleasuring a man, bribes her way into the royal bed and seduces the monarch. Little does she know that China will collapse around her, and she will be its last Empress.
'A wild, passionate and fearless writer' —New York Times
‘Strong on both sexual chicanery and violent conspiracy ... Empress Orchid delivers a fictional peek into the intrigues of the Forbidden City and a novel take on the much reviled last empress’ —Guardian
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
|Publication date:||3rd January 2005|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Publishing Plc|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction,|
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. As a child, she became a model member of the Red Guard. At seventeen she was sent to work on a communal farm, from which she was plucked by Madame Mao's associates to become a star of the Chinese propaganda film industry. After the death of Mao in 1976, Anchee Min was disgraced. She left China for the US in 1984; she now lives in California. She is best known for her memoir, Red Azalea.Photograph Â© Lei Q. MinMore About Anchee Min