It is the season of war.
As the plum blossom winds herald spring in the Empire of Wa, Initiate Brother Shuyun, spiritual advisor to Lord Shonto, the military governor of the northernmost province of Seh, receives a shocking message from the barbarian lands. The massive army of the Golden Khan is poised at their border. Forced to retreat south, Lord Shonto is caught between the pursuing barbarian hordes and his own hostile emperor’s Imperial Army.
Meanwhile, the beautiful young Lady Nishima again becomes involved in court intrigue as well as in a dangerous romantic liaison.
Even as this trap closes on Shonto and his allies, Brother Shuyun faces a crisis of his own. For in the same scroll that warned of the invasion was a sacred udumbara blossom, a sign his order has awaited for a thousand years, a sign that the Great Teacher has finally been reborn. And now it may fall to one young monk with extraordinary powers to save his empire.
©1992 Sean Russell (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Praise for Sean Russell: “This is perfectly plotted, beautifully written fantasy.” (Publishers Weekly on The One Kingdom)
This book is a nice continuation of the first, and overall, the story that Russell tells is very entertaining. I did feel a little let down in that I kept expecting some huge denouement, and while the story does wrap up nicely, I was expecting the main character to perform some otherwordly feat(s). Russell built him up so much, but maybe that was the point, while everyone around Shuyun expects great things from him, ultimately I feel like he is only looking for enlightenment, which he ultimately finds.
One other thing that I was confused about is the missing scrolls. Maybe I missed it somewhere in the reading, but I don't feel like Russell ever told us where the scrolls went. Did I just miss it? Possibly.
Overall, Alexander's narration was pretty good, although he does have a few voices that just don't work that well (like the one that sounds eerily like Yoda, yikes, it was not good).
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