Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Last Empress (Da Chen)

And now for something completely different...

Mentally-disturbed.  Over-sexed.  Selfish and self-loathing.  Meet our hero, Samuel Pickens,son of an up-right and  prosperous turn of the century New England lawyer.  Expected to follow in his father's oppresive and repressed footsteps, he meets the beautiful and fresh young Annabelle after his first tawdry affair with an older woman and his life begins to revolve around her.  Even after her tragic death, her flitting butterfly spirit guides him in his every move, from finishing school, through his first marriage, his parents' deaths and his fateful trip to China, where Annabelle was raised as a Christian missionary.  He becomes the tutor to the effiminate and intelligent puppet Emperor of the Qing dynasty and falls in love with the very young and very jaded Empress Q. Samuel becomes the Emperor's right-hand man to his own detriment, and when he and Empress Q are forced to make a run for their lives, both their fates are sealed and it is just a matter of time before they are discovered. 
The descriptive writing in this book was thorough and poetic, though I felt at times a little convoluted and tedious.    The dialogue is realistic, the characters fully developed.If you enjoy a little Eastern mysticism together with an abundance of individual depravity, this is the book for you.

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