Orchid trains herself in the art of pleasuring a man, bribes her way into the royal bed, and seduces the monarch, drawing the attention of dangerous foes. Little does she know that China will collapse around her, and that she will be its last Empress.
The above taken from http://books.google.com.my/books/about/Empress_Orchid.html?id=TfnKHw-MHZkC&redir_esc=y
This book was beautifully written, with good command of English and detailed expressive skills. Min was able to bring to life Orchid's journey and rise from poverty to concubine to empress with smooth transition. I was transported back to the era, re-imagining the life then with great anticipation. It was kinda hard for me to grasp that Tzu Shi was in fact a good empress but her image was tarnished by corrupted officials. Luckily it's fiction but in a way it did rang true since she did her best for her son's future. A really good read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Can't wait to read The Last Empress, book 2 of Orchid which is more of her downfall.
Author: Anchee Min