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Publisher's Summary

On the mountainous border of China and Tibet in 1708, a detective must learn what a killer already knows: that empires rise and fall on the strength of the stories they tell.
Li Du was an imperial librarian. Now he is an exile. Arriving in Dayan, the last Chinese town before the Tibetan border, he is surprised to find it teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. All have come for a spectacle unprecedented in this remote province: an eclipse of the sun commanded by the emperor himself.
When a Jesuit astronomer is found murdered in the home of the local magistrate, blame is hastily placed on Tibetan bandits. But Li Du suspects this was no random killing. Everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can't keep his own story straight.
Beyond the sloping roofs and festival banners, Li Du can see the mountain pass that will take him out of China forever. He must choose whether to leave and embrace his exile or to stay and investigate a murder that the town of Dayan seems all too willing to forget.
©2015 Elsa Hart (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Marcelyn on 09-04-15

Intriguing Mystery, Richly Woven

There is a richness to this story that moves it beyond a typical mystery. The setting is as detailed as a Chinese scroll. The characters' modes of thought are as varied as their backgrounds. Delicious bits of culture and history are revealed in every scene.
Behind the hard-won solution to the primary mystery lies another, more dangerous mystery. The golden, jewel-encrusted clockwork solar system that lies at the heart of the story is an intellectually challenging puzzle as well as a beautiful cultural artifact. If that type of thing intrigues you, so will this book. The performance by David Shih is excellent.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful


By casey on 10-30-16

Terrible narration obscures the story

How could the performance have been better?

The performance is dreadful. Some characters unlistenable.

Any additional comments?

The author is done a terrible injustice with the awful narration.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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