MYSTERY

Jade Dragon Mountain

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Sept. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781250072320. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466883918. M
COPY ISBN
This riveting story of 18th-century Imperial China marks a promising start for first novelist Hart. Disgraced librarian Li Du lives as a wandering scholar after being exiled for associating with enemies of the emperor. On one of his many travels he passes through the town of Dayan and is required to report to his cousin Tulishen, the local magistrate. His visit coincides with a major festival honoring the emperor and his divine ability to predict eclipses. As Dayan prepares to receive the royal entourage, a visiting Jesuit astronomer is found murdered, and Li Du becomes involved in uncovering the killer. Matters are complicated by a fraught political and cultural environment that makes it difficult to investigate. There are plenty of false clues and gratifying twists before things are wrapped up satisfyingly. Excellent writing and the charming stories of traveling storyteller Hamza further elevate this novel above the typical historical suspense.
VERDICT The mix of history, thriller, and layers of storytelling make for a complex and rewarding novel that deserves a wide readership. A fine debut for an author with more books, one hopes, to come. [See Prepub Alert, 3/23/15.]

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?