The Year of the Metal Rat has brought with it greed and self-preservation. The Everlasting Empire is dying, eaten up from within, and young upstarts like Britain and Russia are circling like carrion-birds, for crows of every nation are equally black. The Righteous Harmonious Fists, a peasant sect, attack all foreign devils. In the capital, the ancient heart of the Empire, the Europeans are besieged by the Dragon Empress’s army and the blood of a thousand Chinese Christian converts runs in the gutters.
When there is War in Heaven, there is War in the Land. A dagger can be concealed in a smile and this House of Paradox smiles often. Its servant here dances with deadly shadows and wakes the ancient spirits. Their anger makes the sky weep blood and we shall all pay dearly for her trespass.
I can recognize good writing when I read it, and Warring States does an excellent job of drawing China at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as moving both of its main characters through their paces as they get closer to the secret of the casket and its connection with their history and future.
The Ratings Guide
Warring States is so filled with intricacies and twists that when you actually get hold of what’s going on you barely notice that Mags has not only led you up the garden path, but through the house, down to the quarry and into a baffling world where even paradox isn’t something to rely on.