Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Alma Alexander: The Embers of Heaven

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. Amais is heir to her poet-ancestress's manuscripts and journals in jin-ashu, and Amais has the clear vision of an outsider looking in. 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.

This sequel to "The Secrets of Jin-Shei" was equally evoking and upsetting, and although I again dreamt about Jin-Shei and Jin-Ashu, I did not find it as mysterious as the first book.

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