Perfectly melds history with the mystery genre for a lush look at China on the cusp of change.... one of the year’s most engrossing debuts.
Associated Press

Jade Dragon Mountain

six days until the eclipse...

It is the dawn of the eighteenth century. On the mountainous border of China and Tibet, a detective must learn what a killer already knows: that empires rise and fall on the strength of the stories they tell. 

Li Du was an imperial librarian. Now he is an exile. Arriving at a remote border town, he is surprised to find it teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. All have come for a spectacle unprecedented in this remote province: an eclipse of the sun commanded by the Emperor himself.

When a Jesuit astronomer is found murdered in the home of the local magistrate, blame is hastily placed on Tibetan bandits. But Li Du suspects this was no random killing. Everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can’t keep his own story straight.

Beyond the sloping roofs and festival banners, Li Du can see the mountain pass that will take him out of China forever. He must choose whether to leave, and embrace his exile, or to stay, and investigate a murder that the town seems all too willing to forget.