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Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan's She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.
To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything.
“I refuse to be nothing...."
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness....
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother's abandoned greatness.
A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books
"Parker-Chan unrolls the painted scroll of her epic tale with the control of a master storyteller, revealing a dazzling new world of fate, war, love and betrayal. Fantasy will never be the same." (Zen Cho, award-winning author of The True Queen)
"Zhu is a hero unlike any other - her propulsive desire to survive at any cost powers a glorious novel that encompasses grand betrayal, love, loss and triumph. Parker-Chan's tender characterisation, assured pacing and dry wit make this an unforgettable debut." (A. K. Larkwood, author of The Unspoken Name)
"An exhilarating rise to power that takes you from palace to village to battlefield, in a world that is stunningly alive. Parker-Chan’s exquisitely wrought prose brings light and nuance to the novel’s immense themes of gender, power and fate. An instant classic." (C. S. Pacat)