From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel in which a convoy of student refugees travel across China, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan
“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are . . .”
China, 1937. When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of students, faculty and staff must walk 1,000 miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the refugees who are at risk; Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure: a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.
The students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends creates unexpected bonds. Lian becomes friends and forms a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is arrested and another one is murdered, Lian realizes she must escape before a family secret puts her in danger too. Accompanied by Shao and his enigmatic maidservant, Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai in the hopes of reuniting with her mother.
During the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. This revelation comes with profound consequences, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits who embark on an exodus of their own, one that will change the country’s fate forever.
“Beautifully told . . . fascinating . . . a great choice for a book club.”
“Dragon Springs Road is simply one of the best novels I have read in a long time. With her lyrical, heartfelt portrait of a vanished world, and her creation of a heroine whose struggles and victories tore at my heart, Janie Chang has created an enchanting and unforgettable book. I recommend it unreservedly.”
“Filled with enchantment and intrigue, this novel shines brightly with lyrical prose.”
“A remarkable read, brimming with magic and the grit of realism. . . . Chang asserts herself as an exciting, relatable voice in Canadian fiction, a voice that requires us to re-examine our relationships to place, identity, and ancestry. . . . A story for our times.”
“Compelling and utterly original. Janie Chang’s riveting debut gives us so much: a complex heroine, a window into the vanished world of pre-Communist China, a fascinating plot and language that sings. An intoxicating story of family, ambition and the risks we take for love.”
“Chang unfurls this intriguing story—set against the chaotic backdrop of China in the early twentieth century-with precision. Rich with detail and a fascinating interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms, Chang’s second novel explores whether it is possible to overcome your past.”
“A tour de force. Evocative of Lisa See at her best, Three Souls vividly conjures life in pre-Mao China, and runs the emotional gamut from playful to haunting. This original story and its sympathetic heroine will stay with you long after the final pages.”
Praise for Three Souls:
“Janie Chang has a keen eye for detail and infuses them throughout this magical story, with its masterfully rendered setting of the early Chinese republic, characters who bring to life the constrictions of those girls, and a mystical benevolent spirit. The result is enchanting.”
“A triumph. There is so much magic here, such generous imagining. The prose sings while the story is told in surging crescendo that makes us race to know what happens.”
“Lyrical and magical . . . Chang’s lovingly crafted novel will resonate with readers long after the story is done.”
“Enthralling. . . . It’s both a pleasure and an education to read this sensitive, intelligent novel.”
Praise for Dragon Springs Road