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
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.
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I liked the references to Chinese history and customs. I liked the story involving Judge Dee. I am a big fan of Robert van Gulik books. The narrator was awesome. He had fitting and distinctive voices for each character. I hope the author writes more of these stories.
Say something about yourself!
I did not really know what to expect with this book. However, I always enjoy a good mystery and this did not disappoint. The cast of characters is manageable for the reader/listener to manage, the narration is good (at times a tiny bit tedious) and the final plot twist is a logical conclusion. I look forward to other works by this author.
Absolutely!! Outstanding Story!! Great Narration
Yes! Multi-layered story which is not evident at the beginning. Excellent character development!!
It left me wanting more!! Hopefully this is the first book in a Series.
I rarely write a review, but then I rarely get half way through a book and go back to Audible to see what other books the author has available!! Outstanding "Story",Truely a Yogi Berra type story, I.e. It ain't over till it's over. Great Character Development, Outstanding Narration!!
full of twists, just when I figure one thing out, twist - ah should have known.
a detective story set amid early china and beautifully done. loved the history and descriptive narrative. will be buying the second one!
Fantastic first novel by Elsa Hart, with a wonderful performance by David Shih. Hart's storytelling is captivating. Her way with words brings the splendor, magic, and mystery alive. I highly recommend this audiobook! It was wonderful and I can't wait for the next one!
The mystery is intriguing, but the narrator's style is so subdued as to induce sleep. It's also overwritten. I wonder if they pay these straight to Audible authors by the minute? I'm going to stay away from these in the future.
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