The Last Empress
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China’s history marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellion, ultimately ending in the demise of the Ch’ing dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one person, the... show more
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China’s history marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellion, ultimately ending in the demise of the Ch’ing dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one person, the resilient, ever-resourceful Tzu Hsi, Lady Yehonala -- or Empress Orchid, as readers came to know her in Anchee Min’s critically acclaimed novel covering the first part of her life.The Last Empress is the story of Orchid’s dramatic transition from a strong-willed, instinctive young woman to a wise and politically savvy leader who ruled China for more than four decades. Moving from the intimacy of the concubine quarters into the spotlight of the world stage, Orchid must face not only the perilous condition of her empire but also a series of devastating personal losses, as first her son and then her adopted son succumb to early death. Yearning only to step aside, and yet growing constantly into her role, only sheallied with the progressives, but loyal to the conservative Manchu clan of her dynastycan hold the nation’s rival factions together.Anchee Min offers a powerful revisionist portrait based on extensive research of one of the most important figures in Chinese history. Viciously maligned by the western press of the time as the Dragon Lady,” a manipulative, blood-thirsty woman who held onto power at all costs, the woman Min gives us is a compelling, very human leader who assumed power reluctantly, and who sacrificed all she had to protect those she loved and an empire that was doomed to die.
Publish date: March 21st 2007
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages no: 320
Edition language: English
, Historical Fiction
, 19th Century
, Asian Literature
Series: Empress Orchid (#2)
Bullet Review:So bittersweet at the end. The biggest problem with this though was how hurried and rushed it felt in places. When Min was given the time to flesh out a scene and spend time in it, THAT was pure gold.Full Review:Empress Orchid (Empress Dowager Cixi) has lost her beloved husband, the Em...
At times, I found myself getting tried of the book, and then there would be this wonderful passage of sheer poetry.This continues the story of Orchid. At times, it feels like Anchee Min is going down a checklist, but I did like the use of perspective as well as whether or not to trust the voice. I...
This book was a real let down after the first one. It was completely about politics, and whereas the first book was very vibrant and colourful, this was just dull. The amount of names got quite confusing, Min could've done with a list at the beginning or end of the book somewhere, just explaining wh...
Although not as enjoyable as Empress Orchid, it was still an incredible story!
Carries on from Empress Orchid (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/23326978), starting soon after her husband dies, leaving her and the (principal) empress to govern in lieu of her young son.