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The Embers of Heaven by Alma Alexander
  

The Embers of Heaven

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A beautiful and magical tale of one girl's quest to restore the secret language of jin-shei and its customs to Syai four hundred years on from its peak. Amais finds her crusade swept up in a people's revolution which threatens her bid to restore the once powerful sisterhood. Richly layered with a strong sense of place and wonderfully written characters. Perfect if you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha.

If you like Alma Alexander you might also like to read books by Amy Tan, Anchee Min and Joanne Harris.

Synopsis

The Embers of Heaven by Alma Alexander

In The Secrets of Jin-Shei , eight women pledge themselves as sisters in the name of jin-shei, the unbreakable bond, the promise that lasts a lifetime. This sisterhood shapes their lives, their country and their world. The Embers of Heaven begins four hundred years later. In eighteenth-century Syai, and its capital city of Linh-an, things have changed beyond recognition.

On the face of it, women are more equal than they have ever been. But the men run the machines, the factories, and the technology. Women have lost the ability to weave their fates and influence the course of events. The foundation of an empire once rested on jin-shei and its customs. It connected women from every walk of life and formed a bond that empowered every woman who swore the oath. The advancement of printing, the developments of technology and the changes in society seem to have improved the daily lives of the underclass, but women have been stripped of this sacred pact.

Amais is heir to her poet-ancestress's manuscripts and journals. The journals are all in jin-ashu, the women's tongue, taught sketchily to Amais by her mother. Amais has the clear vision of an outsider looking in. Combined with her deep and instinctive bond to her ancestors and her culture, she determines to reinvent the Women's Country and bring the jin-shei back. But just as her crusade begins, she and her family are caught up in the whirlwind of the Golden Rising – a people's revolution that is fated to destroy much that was once valuable, gracious and beautiful.

Reviews

Praise for Alma Alexander and her books:

‘The Secrets of Jin-Shei is a completely original – and a completely magical piece of literature.' Joanne Harris

'It's a beguiling notion, a secret sisterhood with its own language, enhanced by a setting in medieval China, replete with tradition, conflict and drama…the unique structure brings together a rich cast. The complex plot touches on astrology and alchemy, Taoism and concubines, and an attempt to hold power within a society fraught with intrigue…it is extraordinarily accomplished.' Financial Times

'The story is founded on the special friendships that exist among women. The strength of those friendships is the magic that winds through this tale…the device of a written language known only to women is a lovely metaphor…this is a book that will speak to many.' Robin Hobb

About the Author

Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander is the pen name of Alma A. Hromic. She was born in 1963 in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, on the shores of the river Danube. Her father's employment with international aid agencies meant that the family spent twenty years living in various countries in Africa, including Zambia, Swaziland, and South Africa.

Educated in the United Kingdom and South Africa, Hromic graduated from the University of Cape Town with an MSc in Microbiology in 1987. She quickly left the lab in order to write about it instead, and spent several years running a scientific journal for the Allergy Society of South Africa before she moved to New Zealand in 1994. She also worked as a literary critic for several publications in South Africa and England.

The first volume of her fantasy series, Changer of Days, was published in October 2001 by HarperCollins Voyager, and the second volume followed in May 2002. Her novel The Secrets of Jin-shei (as Alma Alexander) was published by HarperCollins in May 2004 in the U.S., and was also published in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany in a total of four languages.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th September 2006

Author

Alma Alexander

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Author's Website

www.almaalexander.com/

Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Paperback (b Format)

Categories

Historical Fiction
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ISBN

9780007204076

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