A historical fiction book by best-selling memoirist and novelist Anchee Min - Read by Pik-Sen Lim.
Published by BBC Audiobooks on 06.03.2006
Duration: 5 hours
Contains 4 CDs
Slavery, social-climbing, and seduction are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing the historical novel Empress Orchid.
Anchee Min's latest offering has been selected as one of only ten Richard & Judy Book Club titles for 2006, and will be released as an audiobook on the 06.03.2006. The book will also be featured on the Richard & Judy show on 15.03.2006.
The story follows a young woman named Orchid in the Ching, or last, dynasty of China. To rescue her family from a life of poverty, Orchid competes to be one of the Emperor's wives, only to end up as a low-ranking concubine.
However, once in the thralls of The Forbidden City, Orchid manages to bribe and up-talk her way right into the bed of the Emperor - eventually winning a spot as one of his wives.
Despite her newfound success, Orchid must soon learn to thwart enemies, cope with lavish amounts of national attention, and survive the fall of aristocratic China as its last Empress.
Following in the same vein as other acclaimed novels including Memoirs of a Geisha and Wild Swans, Anchee Min uses extensive research on the historical topics she writes about, but also supplements her work with her own experience as a child growing up during Communist China's Cultural Revolution.
Min has said that her books attempt to re-record histories that have been falsely written, and Empress Orchid is no exception, as it is based on a woman with a similar story to Orchid's, named Yehonala.
About the author:
Anchee Min was born and raised in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her childhood, like many Chinese youth, was marked by a devotion to Chairman Mao, communism, and the Red Guard.
A talent scout for a propaganda movie made by Madame Mao handpicked Min, but after Chairman Mao's death and his wife's execution, Min fled to the USA.
Although she spoke no English upon her arrival in America, Min taught herself within a few months, and has since published a memoir entitled Red Azalea and a number of historical novels including the best-selling Becoming Madame Mao.