Green Dragon, White Tiger

Annette Motley, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $19.18 (557p) ISBN 978-0-02-587600-2
Fearful of uttering such treason, a seventh century astrologer predicts that the second daughter of General Wu will one day ascend the Dragon Throne to rule China. Hot-tempered and intelligent, Black Jade's spirit and luminous beauty attract the eye of Shin-Min, the reigning Son of Heaven, and she joins his court as a concubine. At his death, Pheasant, the weak-willed son who succeeds, takes his father's favorite concubine as his own, until her growing influence persuades him to make her empress, despite the objections of many in the court. Ambitious, sensual and on occasion wantonly cruel, Black Jade expertly plays on Pheasant's uncertainty, gathering the reins of government in her own capable hands. His death and the brief, unlucky reigns of four sons are branching paths that lead to a single destiny. A bejeweled struggle for power, this first novel is modeled on the life of the historical Empress Wu. The lively air that energizes the early chapters is gradually lost, but Motley does draw a sumptuous portrait of passion and pomp in an exotic milieu. 40,000 first printing; $40,000 ad/promo. (September 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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