Book 1 in The Imperial China TrilogyNew York Times Bestseller: This epic novel of the conquest of the Ming dynasty “does for 17th-century China what James Clavell’s Shogun did for 16th-century Japan” (The Christian Science Monitor).
Francis Arrowsmith is a man without a country, a soldier-of-fortune in search of a war. An English orphan raised in France by exiled Jesuits, he hopes to make a quick pile out of his rare skills in building and operating artillery. Little does he know that when he joins a Portuguese expedition to aid the decadent and corrupt Ming dynasty in its fight against the Manchu invaders, he is embarking on a journey that will merge his destiny with the fate of China itself.
From the opulent courts of the emperors to bloody battlefields, author Robert Elegant employs his deep knowledge and love of China to create a richly detailed world of dangers and delights, where the quest for power and pleasure drives men and women to extremes of both loyalty and betrayal.
Manchu is the compellingly vivid story of an empire in its last agonies and the people caught up in its fateful drama by the Edgar Award–winning author of Mandarin and Dynasty.
- Pub Date
- Open Road Integrated Media
“It is as if all the Chinese screens, paintings on glass, and scrolls of yore have come to life, eclipsing by far the tiny human characters who stir around them.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A decorative, picaresque adventure . . . Elegant gives slow, loving care to handsomely lacquered rituals and inscrutable dialogues.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the author
Robert Elegant was born in New York City in 1928. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania at eighteen and, after voluntary US Army service, studied Japanese and advanced Chinese at Yale and Columbia. In 1951, while he was at Columbia, his first book, China’s Red Masters, was published to wide acclaim. He arrived in Asia as a Pulitzer traveling fellow and became one of the youngest American reporters covering the Korean War, scooping the world in 1953 with his exclusive report that an armistice had been agreed upon.
Elegant’s subsequent career included stints as Asia bureau chief for Newsweek and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Both Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger consulted him personally before Nixon made the decision to go to Beijing and reopen relations with China. He has published seventeen books of both fiction and nonfiction, most centered on China. A recipient of several major press awards, his books have been widely translated and many have become bestsellers; he also won an Edgar Award for a political thriller set in Vietnam. Elegant lives with his wife, Rosemary; shih-tzu dogs; and cats in Umbria, Italy, where he is working on more books; writers, he says, never retire.